Kota Factory director Raghav Subbu says it was “intimidating” to take on the second season of the web series after its first chapter received a favourable response from the audience.
The show offers an insight into the life of students in Rajasthan’s Kota, a major coaching hub of the country for competitive examination preparations, and was a surprise hit when it debuted on YouTube in 2019.
It is now set to return with its second season, which will premiere on Netflix on Friday.
“Going by season one”s response, it was intimidating to jump into season two because you automatically feel the need to not ape or mimic what worked in season one. As a director, I was looking to see that this show progresses organically into what it was supposed to be and not what it should be,” Subbu told PTI in a Zoom interview.
The director said he had absolute clarity about one thing — that he can never fully meet the expectations of the audience.
“I believe that expectation is the biggest killer and you can never meet it. I”ll keep trying for the rest of my life but I can never say that I have my finger on this craft. And I think the day you say that I know everything is the day you die,” he added.
The second season of Kota Factory will see Vaibhav (Mayur More), a young student on his journey to Maheshwari – one of the leading training institutes, and how he tries to balance his friendships, his relationship with his mentor Jeetu Bhaiya (Jitendra Kumar) and the looming pressure of getting into an IIT.
The show’s aim is to show “beauty in the ordinary”, he said.
“Things that people liked about Kota Factory season one was not just the fact that it’s somebody going to a city and just giving an exam, wanting to go make it to the IIT. There were so many things that we highlighted with the show, like the theme of loneliness.”
Subbu said life in the town of Kota is slow, which is also the reason why Kota Factory has a slow pace of storytelling.
“The show is slow because life in Kota is slower than in other urban cities. So it”s a slow town. Kids study there all the time and it”s just about ambition. We are trying to bring that soul into the show.”
Asked about the black-and-white setting of the show, Subbu said people generally have this notion that a monochrome background means the work of art is either a period drama or has darker elements in it.
But he has tried to present something entirely different and unique with “Kota Factory”, he promised.
“The point of art is to question things. I wanted to do a spin on something that is so set in stone. (The general idea is) it”s either like a Sin City, which has a very graphic novel kind of feel or a period piece like The Artist.
“We have these associations that we have in our head when it comes to everything. As a director and as a creator, I want to challenge those things.”
Besides his desire to do something new, Subbu said there are several other more important and organic reasons for the show to be in black and white.
And he wants the audience to figure out those reasons.
“I think the moment I say that this is the specific reason, it loses its charm and its meaning. I want people to intrinsically reflect and discuss. If people do that, then I have won as a director,” Subbu said.
Produced by The Viral Fever (TVF), Kota Factory also stars Ranjan Raj, Alam Khan, Ahsaas Channa, Revathi Pillai and Urvi Singh.