A CRASH COURSE ON LIFE
Crash Course, an educational drama web series directed by Vijay Maurya is a treat shedding light on competitive education turning into a business market. The series authentically presents how education can be destroyed when there is a clash of egos and rivalry brewing instead of healthy competition between institutions and their owners. Alongside addressing tropes such as book smart, book dumb, gotta pass the class, go-getter, institution forced us together, etc. it also addresses vital themes like adulthood, discovering friendships, romance, breakups, loss of innocence, and peer pressure. The series is irresistible if you want to know how education is turned into a business and is not the way to go about it.
The owners and their inordinate ambitions
Ratanraj Jindal (acted by Annu Kapoor) is invested in fulfilling his dream of making Kota Nagar into RJ Nagar alongside affirming that his grandfather and father has a dream and they managed to work hard and achieve it. He considers that his dream is much bigger than his forefather’s. On the other hand, is the ‘Father of Education in Kota – Arvind Batra (acted by Siddarth Kak)’ who is simply sincere and passionate about teaching students and giving them the success they truly aim at. But his son Shashank (acted by Bhanu Uday) considers himself the marketing strategist and deviates from his father’s vision of training students to excellence. Shashank is worried and desperate like Ratanraj to produce toppers at the cost of creating unhealthy competition and also compromising health by distributing pills actually meant for the children diagnosed with ADHD as confirmed by Dr. Swapnil Rajendra Tak. They are certainly in it to prove themselves better than the other rather than pure love for education. Shashank goes to the extent of even killing his brother Mayank Batra (acted by Chirag Vohra) who due to his lascivious life and substance abuse wasn’t helping Shashank but rather becoming a burden. Shashank could have helped his brother but failed to do so as he just focused on the competition he was having with Jindal.
Passionate teaching versus motivated and lured by money
Professors like Ashutosh Kumar (acted by Pranay Pachauri) aka AK inspire me to teach creatively and utilize out-of-the-box methods. Ashutosh loves teaching and the students from the Batra institute want to learn from him. But unlike Ashutosh, some teachers are bought and sold by the owners at their will. They are ready to switch institutions when promised prominent posts. They are ready to give up an institute they served for long. Some of them even are ready to give their time to students who offer them a great deal. Dheeraj Khandelwal, for instance, after noticing a threat to his position as the Dean of Mathematics plans to gather proof against Jindal but when RJ offers him a position as Dean of the Faculty he willingly destroys the evidence he has collected. He gains a post he might have dreamt of for a long but loses respect and honour from his love interest Vidya Nair (acted by Vasuki S Punj).
RJ and Shashank are responsible for creating such dubious professors. Their ambition clouds their reasoning and therefore they devise strategies that hardly help students gain confidence but rather create a hierarchical divide. This in turn pushes the professor or the trainers to be lax when it comes to students belonging to a lower section. Or rather to field a ‘I don’t care’ attitude towards the students who need more help.
Vulnerable and Easily Manipulative Students
As much as this series is about the rivalries between the stalwarts in the education industry, it is about the students whose lives are being turned topsy turvy. This is the age where they experiment with relationships and friendships. And interestingly handle peer pressure. Crash Course delves deeper into the intricacies of a relationship and also very effectively handles the movement from teenager to adulthood. It manages to mirror the frivolous teenage connections and the interplay that happens quite noticeably leading to the loss of innocence and experiencing uncalled pain and anxiety at an early age.
Although I was flummoxed for certain reasons about particular definitions of friendship Crash Course and its varied explication of friendship gave me new hope. For instance, the friendship between Shanaya Qazi (acted by Riddhi Kumar) and Nikki Kapoor (acted by Anvesha Vij) lasts longer and for good reasons benefits both. Shanaya is thankful to Nikki for being a lovely friend as she stayed with her through her thick and thin. That dialogue between them is the one that stuck with me. Then there is Vidhi Gupta (acted by Anushka Kaushik) and Tejal Patel (acted by Hetal Gada) aka TP who though split towards the end but enjoy a friendship that helps them console each other in their low times.
Then we have the four who trade a different trajectory but hand in hand with one another. When one is picked on the other feels and stands up for the other. Whether it is Anil Baid (acted by Mohit Solanki), Sathya Srinivasan (acted by Hridhu Haroon), Rakesh Gulia (acted by Aryan Singh), and Aviral Bharti (acted by Bhavesh Balchandani), they supplement each other equally well. It was enlivening to see their stories unfold. Each of them through experience matures to be different. Though vulnerable and easily manipulative the crash course at RJ and Batra institutes gives them a crash course about life. As much as competition is a must in life to see ourselves scaling higher and higher it is also highly vital to remain rooted in the positive and authentic convictions that make us do certain things in a certain manner.
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