Cast: Annu Kapoor, Bhanu Uday, Pranay Pachauri, Riddhi Kumar, Anushka Kaushik, Hridhu Haroon, Mohit Solanki, Bhavesh Balchandani, Udit Arora, Bidita Bag, Aryan Singh, Hetal Gada, Anvesha Vij, Siddharth Kak, & ensemble.
Creator: Manish Hariprasad
Director: Vijay Maurya
Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video.
language: Hindi (with subtitles).
Run-time: 10 Episodes Around 45 Minutes Each.
Crash Course Review: What’s It About:
Set in the IIT aspirant factory of India, Kota, Crash Course follows the race between two institutes and the bad politics that takes a toll on the students studying in them. Lives are put at risk to earn money, and education becomes a business for leeches who only know sucking blood.
Crash Course Review: What Works:
The Indian education system is a case study that only gets darker. Kota sits on the top most tier of that case study and what happens in that landscape is nothing less than a haunting nightmare. The last shows to have captured the roboticness of the city and what it does to students were of course TVF’s amazing Kota Factory and the following Aspirants. Enters the arena a new show, Crash Course, but the focus is on the dark side of the game. Comparisons are uncanny, but that does not blur the merit of this new product.
As said, the zone that the new show created by Manish Hariprasad is already explored and marked by TVF, who have given a well-edged tour of this landscape that treats aspiring students as products that can be owned. So there are a lot of Deja Vu factors that Crash Course rides on. There is a trio like 3 Idiots, a professor like Kota Factory, and a system like Aspirants coming together to create one show. The only difference is that the source material isn’t written in a way that dilutes the darkness of it all.
Written by Hariprasad and Raina Roy the show shifts its focus from the students to the mess behind the scene and how they only become the collateral damage of this mad roller coaster of a city. Unlike the above-mentioned 3, this show tries to go deeper into the problems of not being the best. Everyone is pushed to their limits where they are least considering ending their lives. Only ones that have the last drop of hope come back, others end up in the pool of blood, or hanging to the ceiling. Yes, it’s brutal.
The good part is that it manages to go into the lives of its characters deeper than the surface level. It isn’t only the immediate story affecting the show but their past lives as well. Take Satya played by an amazing Hridhu Haroon, he is an embodiment of the cons every parent to a teenage child thinks of. But he is also the scholar of his institute. For him it is his attitude of him that is saving him, because even his language of him is alien to the people around him. His part of the story is the most interesting and moving because he falls in love with a girl with her own set of tragedies.
The dent corruption, greed and the machinery churning out robots create is not just on the academic part of the students, but their personal lives. And the show does capture that well. It has its moments of shock, shatter, brotherhood, sisterhood, and emotions. And they do land pretty well to move you.
Crash Course Review: Star Performance:
Hridhu Haroon is undeniably the star of this show and even when he is in the background he manages to get noticed. The actor definitely knows his part of him and as Riddhi Kumar joins him, they together only elevate the entire plot. The emotional weight is always heavy on their side and they have the potential to bear it all.
Annu Kapoor plays the greedy owner of an institute. He gets to be as bad as possible and he seems to be enjoying that as an actor. While the show does manage to highlight his vulnerable side of him for once, it is never mentioned or used again. The same happens with Bhavesh Balchandani who kind of kick-starts the show but is conveniently forgotten in large chunks.
Udit Arora though is definitely growing as an actor. He gets to be the guy who saved himself from becoming a robot, but he kind of coined his own (bad) way to monetize someone else’s sufferings. There is always a mystery around him and Arora keeps that alive throughout. Excited to see what he chooses next, because it has to be a ride higher from now.
Everyone else including Bidita Bag, Bhanu Uday, Hetal Gada, Mohit Solanki, Anushka Kaushik, Aryan Singh, Pranay Pachauri, and others put their best foot forward and do make the show more interesting.
Crash Course Review: What Doesn’t Work:
It is like the makers had a platter to binge on but they chose to stretch things that didn’t necessarily require the stretching. Udit Arora’s Binny is such a complex character. His past of him is dark and the decisions he made are intense. A deep dive into his story would have only done well for the entire show. Same with Riddhi Kumar’s Shanaya who wants to break free from the oppressed life that she has had. While she gets the most moving transformation, she is kept limited to being the free spirited girl who’s decision goes wrong.
There are also characters that the showrunner didn’t know what to do with. Bidita Bag is a classic example, as she plays a lady who runs a canteen/catering service. She is reduced to bring Binny’s friend with benefit and a half baked drug peddler of sorts. But she never explored enough to know what her significance is to this story. It happens with a complete storyline about two brothers in the opponent institute too. Highly inconsistent and unnecessary.
Crash Course Review: Last Words:
Of course the ghosts of the predecessors haunt this one, but it does have its own charm. Watch it for good acting performances and a worthy music album.
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