Films and web series revolving around students’ pressures at school and college are not new. We’ve had some popular presentations such as 3 Idiots, Taare Zameen Par, and even Kota Factory that have set benchmarks for viewers. Presenting yet another story in the same genre is Amazon Prime Video’s Crash Course. Much like Kota Factory, the Vijay Maurya directorial is also set in Kota but the actor-director assures that the new series offers a different perspective of stories there.
For the unversed, the 10-episode series revolves around the lives of students in Kota. Annu Kapoor plays the owner of an educational institute in Rajasthan’s educational hub. The show also stars Riddhi Kumar, Mohit Solanki, Hridhu Haroon, Anushka Kaushik, Bhavesh Balchandani, Aryan Singh, Hetal Gada, and Anvesha Vij, who play the role of IIT aspirants. Meanwhile, Netflix’s Kota Factory also has a similar plotline but with a 16-year-old IIT aspirant in the heart of it.
“Whether it is based in Kota or Pune or any educational hub, the life of students will not change but the stories will be different. There will be common factors everywhere – the college life and pressures are similar, in this case, our story is also based in Kota but we take a different route. We have eight to nine different tracks that connect in the pre-climax and climax thus also paving the paving for a second season,” Maurya told News18 Showsha ahead of the series release.
The creator of Crash Course, Manish Hariprasad added that he would have felt strange had the comparisons between the two shows were not drawn. “Kota Factory is a good show, Arunabh Kumar (producer of Kota Factory) is a good friend and they’ve portrayed Kota in their own ways and we are approaching Kota with a different lens to tell different and numerous stories. If this comparison was not made then I would have felt strange. But I don’t feel that the comparisons will last until the show is released because they are two different stories,” he said.
Hariprasad revealed that the story has sprinkles of his personal experiences of living in a hostel. “The concept of Crash Course comes a little bit from the life I have lived as a hosteller,” he said, before adding, “When I was studying, Kota didn’t exist. But I have known a lot of people who’ve gone there and then I personally visited Kota and stayed there for some time and it seemed like a good place, everything that is a pressure cooker situation gives rise to multiple stories. This is what we’ve tried to capture with Crash Course — stories of friends, friendship, and the business of education.
Given the array of actors in the project, Maurya confessed that there was enough dose of challenge and fun on the sets. “I was working with kids (young adults) so thoda jhelna padta hai (he laughs), they had to be molded, so it was fun as well as challenging,” the filmmaker said, who has previously worked with children much younger than the cast of Crash Course in the film Chillar Party.
The cast was picked out of 100 shortlisted actors. “Mukesh Chhabra did the casting. When he called us, we saw a group of 100 kids. I was really shocked, I asked him, ‘These are the 100 kids, are you going to shortlist from’. He’s said, ‘No no, these are the shortlisted ones.’ It was at that point in time that we realised how challenging the task of casting was. We went through a few rounds of casting,” Hariprasad revealed.
Maurya revealed that there was a 15-day workshop before the cast and crew dived into the making of the show. “We had about 15 days of workshop. On the first two days, I was a little depressed. When I met all of them, I thought to myself how do I mold them (he jokingly said) because Manish gave me something, I added my flavours but the cast looked different. But it all shaped up slowly and I started getting comfortable. Once it all shaped up, it was all fun,” he said.
Crash Course streams on Amazon Prime Video starting this weekend.