It was a period between my 10th Standard to 12th Stardard where I had been enrolled in one of the many coaching classes with one eye on the future. While the classes did help to an extent, I can totally recall the mad rush that I along with several others like me had to undergo. This had reached its pinnacle for me in the 12th standard where I had very little time for anything else. And that is when I did take a call on NOT going to Kota for the IIT preparations and quite honestly it was the best decision of my life then. And that is when the writer in me had a germ of an idea about a story on coaching classes competiting with one another(yes hindsight ofcourse, upto you to believe me or not).
It was recently that I had watched the second season of Kota Factory, a series that I thought had brilliantly captured the plight of the students of Kota. And to put it on record, I am always fascinated by any content on students especially if it is edgy. So when Amazon Prime had announced its own show Crash Course, it took me back to that germ of an idea which I had and I was really curious to watch it. Now that I have finished watching Crash Course on Amazon Prime, here are my two cents on it.
Story & Screenplay
Set in Kota, Crash Course is the story of two rival coaching classes competing for glory(and toppers) with each other. The story is really interesting, relevant and yet another attempt at exposing the education system(which also includes parents) which is honestly flawed and puts a tad too much pressure on its students. The screenplay standing at 10 episodes of almost 40 odd minutes each meant that this show required multiple sittings to get over the line. This itself was a daunting watch and one of the major drawbacks right before the show had even started. However, I was hopeful about the drama given its subject.
The drama is a slow burn and something which requires patience to sit through it. This basically means that the world building does take time and as does the introduction of the protagonists. Although the proceedings did seem organic, some elements in the screenplay were repeated often thus leading to a slight disconnect. I wonder if the use of songs would have been a better option to progress the drama by clubbing all the similar scenes together. Also, this series did face a similar issue to Dr. Arora. The multiple subplots are good but after a point is did become a little difficult in keeping up pace with it(some subplots are just lagging here to an extent), given that I had to take frequent breaks too given the length of the show. So the unintentional break in continuity was a problem too.
But there are many things to like in the screenplay too. Firstly, it does not shy away from exposing the dark side of the education system. This includes money and fame thirsty coaching institutes which would go to any extent in acquiring your children. The drama also dealt with the psyche of the students and that is something I was the most interested in. This is where the series really shines and becomes engrossing. There are multiple facets which are exposed through the course of the series including the use of drugs, student suicides to teenage pregnancies which are fascinating to watch.
The pace of the drama picks up towards the backend of the series where there are subtle but multiple twists and turns leading up to a final act which does tie all the loose ends together. If certain subplots were left out on the table and a few repetitive scenes rushed through the middle, this would have been a really good drama. But having said that, the screenplay has enough meat to keep you invested in many parts and making it consistently watchable.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational but pretty well written. The music is really good here and it blends well with the drama. The BGM keeps you on your toes throughout. The cinematography is pretty good as well. Director Vijay Maurya has done a good job here although his direction is rough around the edges. But he definitely creates many moments which are interesting and fascinating to watch.
The performances are really good here. Manisha Arora as Seema, Arithra Dutta Banik as Sujoy and Devas Dixit as Mahender have their moments to shine. Vasuki as Vidya Nair is first rate. Chirag Vohra as Mayank and Bhavesh Balchandani as Aviral definitely leave a mark. Bidita Bag looks pretty and has a good screen presence. Anvesha Vij as Nikki is pretty good as is Aryan Singh as Rakesh. Hetal Gada as Tejal has quite a layered character and she does a good job with it. Riddhi Kumar as Shanaya is a talented actor and she is brilliant here. I really wish to watch more of her going forward. Gaurav Sharma as Dheeraj is wonderfully restrained. Hridhu Haroon as Sathya is really exceptional and does a fine job here. Mohit Solanki as Anil has again a layered character with a bunch of emotions to portray and the edgyness which he brings to his character is amazing to watch. Bhadu Uday as Shashank is really good and I suspect his character will be a vital cog in season 2. Udit Arora as Binny is quite good too. I was extremely impressed with Anushka Kaushik as Vidhi. I had recently watched her in the series Ghar Waapsi and had absolutely loved her then. In a fresh new role, she is an absolute delight to watch here as well where towards the end you do feel a little sad for her character. Pranay Pachauri as Ashutosh is subtly charming but also has a lot of emotional depth to his character which he pulls off really well. Annu Kapoor as Jindal will make youf blood boil which means the veteran does a tremendous job in pulling off a character which is not at all likable.
Crash Course is a slow burn and requires patience to sit through it. But it does well in portraying an edgy and dark picture of the education system through some gritty writing and good performances. Available on Amazon Prime.