Udit Arora, Anvesha Vij, Anushka Kaushik, Bhanu Uday, Hetal Gada, Hridhu Haroon, Annu Kapoor, Pranay Pachauri
What’s The Story
The series tells the story of eight students who have arrived for studies at Kota’s two biggest, rival coaching institutes – the Ratanraj Jindal and Arvind Batra-led centres. These are the owners of the top institutes hell-bent on finishing the other to gain complete control of the education business in Kota. Their no-holds-barred rivalry is akin to a chess game. The pawns in this game, are the students and the teachers. Their student life is full of fun and camaraderie in the beginning but slowly the pressures and the competition intensifies. As the two drastically different worlds of the students and the coaching institute owners collide, there is pandemonium. The stakes are raised, motives clash and lives are put at risk.
Annu Kapoor And Anushka Kaushik Steal The Show
It’s a shame that we don’t get to see a lot of Annu Kapoor onscreen. Whenever he comes onscreen, he is nothing short of fire. The way he has grasped the character of Ratanraj Jindal, he has managed to bring to the forefront a conniving, manipulative and shrewd businessman who cares nothing else apart from getting his ambitions fulfilled by hook or by crook. Not a single shot through the show where you would see and actually feel that it’s Annu Kapoor, as you would through and through believe that it’s the character Jindal.
Another stand-out performer among the young students is Anushka Kaushik. The girl has the right balance of bubbliness and poker-face acting. In one shot she would be all fun and frolic and in the very next instant, she very nonchalantly turns that depressed angst into an inner rage and expresses that in a way that leaves you shocked. It’s her happy-go-lucky character that never lets you suspect what she can do, and her true potential comes out only in the climax. A bright young girl who has a long way to go.
Almost everyone in the rest of the cast has done decently well, even though their screentime may have been less. They have all managed to work well towards the goal of taking forward the story.
The plot needs to be applauded. The makers have managed to tell a story that is not just relatable but even based on true incidents. The problem with today’s education system is something that we all have faced, and it’s just growing bigger day by day. The makers have managed to show the evils of such a pressure-cooker type education system where everyone is trying to win a rat race.
Nagaraj Rathinam’s cinematography is not too fancy, but he has shot one scene of a student falling off the roof to utter brilliance. The way the scene is shot and how the entire thing has been showcased on screen is the pure brilliance of Rathinam. He managed to describe such a gruesome incident without showing it even once.
10 Episodes Are Too Long
Vijay Maurya’s direction is directionless. The flow of the story keeps changing with every episode. In one instance you’re feeling like ok, the show is about the fight between the two educational institutions, and the very next you’re feeling that oh, the show is about the rampant abortions in such educational-institution-driven cities, and then in the very next, you’re made to feel whether or not the show is about student suicides. Maurya has tried to show a lot of different issues and that creates confusion and makes the already-brilliant plot go missing somewhere. Maurya should have picked up just one topic – the fight between the two coaching institutes. He should have stuck to that narrative itself throughout and this would have been a masterpiece.
The thing that hurts the show the most is its length. It’s 10 episodes with timing of around 40 minutes each. It was bound to get slouchy in the middle. Editor Chandrashekhar Prajapati is to be blamed here. Should have managed to cut out the unimportant parts and made it a lot crisper, and should have tried to wrap up the show in 8-episodes, which is a usual web series length. Maurya too shouldn’t have let the episodes drag so much.
Manish Hariprasad and Raina Roy’s writing is another soft spot in the web series. The writing drags on and on. It’s understood that it’s student life and a lot keeps happening in a student’s life, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you end up showing almost everything. To add to that you’ve chosen to not show one or two students but almost 10 students’ daily happenings. So, naturally, there are episodes where a certain character is not shown or spoken of even once. The same gets repeated for a different character in the next episode. If you don’t show a character for almost an entire episode, that gets the audience dissociated with that character.
Also, the very minimal usage of a stalwart actor like Siddharth Kak is something that I didn't expect. He is the guy who changed the face of Indian Television with ‘Surabhi’ for over 10 years, and when he is making a comeback of sorts to the screen, he is doled out as a very minuscule character. Not done!
'Crash Course’ is a hard-hitting and realistic view of today's education system. Its heart is in the right place, however, it’s the sloppy writing that kills the fun. To add to that the length of the series just makes it too slow to keep track of its entirety. There is a lot happening, and by the time you reach the climax, you’re just wanting the show to get over. It’s really a squandered opportunity of a show which had the potential to leave an impact on the education system of India and the mindsets of Indian parents like ‘3 Idiots’ once did. At best, ‘Crash Course’ is an Average Watch. I am going with 2.5 stars – that too just for Annu Kapoor and Anushka Kaushik’s brilliant performances.