Coke Kahani – Episode 1 Review

Khuda jab deta hai cchappar phaar kar deta hai…

I don’t think I ever fully appreciated either the wisdom or the very dry humor underscoring this age old saying, till I started getting inundated with promos upon promos of upcoming serials. I am at a loss to understand why is it either feast or famine with our TV channels – why not pace out the serials? Coming out of a very dry period, we are now being bombarded (ok not a very pc analogy, but it works here, so chalta hai) with so many good serials that as a viewer I’m totally lost – sab writers mere pasandeeda hain, kis ka drama aaj dekhoon aur kis ka kal pe choroon? MJ fave hain to Haissam bhi acche hain, aur Marina tau ji apni Pink Panther hain, ab kidhar jaooon?  Kya dekhon aur kya na dekhon aur sab se bari baat, yeh sab dramay kab dekhoon?? 

While I wait for someone to help resolve this existential dilemma, let me move on for now and share with you my take on this lovely new short and sweet sitcom (?) that I watched today.

Boasting a huge ensemble cast, Coke Kahani, co-written by Mohammad Ahmed Sahab and Yasir Rana, directed by Mehreen Jabbar, and produced by Adeel Farhan, premiered simultaneously on three channels, HUM, PTV and Urdu 1, today. Apart from the fact that Coke Kahani marked the return of one of my all-time favorite joris, Mohammed Ahmed and MJ, the reason I sat down to watch this one was that unlike all the 10,000 serials out there, this one had slickly produced promos that showed a “normal” happy family – people actually smiling! Such a departure from what is the norm these days: frowning/scowling/glowering/crying women front, right and center of all publicity shots – ugh!! So yeah, something as basic as happy faces compelled me to watch this one.

Not quite sure how to describe it, the closest genre I can think of is a sitcom, I thoroughly enjoyed this opening installment. I was particularly glad that despite this being a branded project, we were not hammered on the head with the Coke piyo aur mazey se jiyo type slogans. What sets this show apart is that it ushers in a brand new look on our TV screens. The editing is very slickly done and the theme music is appropriately upbeat, giving it a fresh, youthful appeal.

Faisal Rehman plays the central character of Mir Asfand Jahangir. The story revolves around Asfand’s problems with his estranged wife Maya, Sonia Rehman, his troubled relationship with his daughter Zoya, an aptly cast Syra Yousuf, and the financial difficulties he’s facing in running his restaurant Alfonso. Though only a 20 minute episode, so much happened, and happened so well, that by the end we not only knew quite a bit about Mr. Asfand, his personal and professional affairs, but also got intimate glimpses into the lives of other peripheral characters as well.

It is great to have Yasir Hussain aka Shahrukh from Dareecha back again. Also good to see Maheen Rizvi again, I hope she has a more substantial role here than she had in her last two serials Bilqees Kaur and Zard Mausam. Shamim Hilali is so very classy and its great to see her in a character that goes so well with her persona. Mohammed Ahmed, just watching him fiddle with his toupée was hilarious – anticipating more fun moments here.  I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction between the father and son – so polite but oh so bitingly sarcastic – loved it!

Short, sweet and pacy, Coke Kahani has MJ’s stamp all over it. Loved all the street scenes, the hustle and bustle of daily life, reminded me so much of her earlier work. What a pleasure to see her back again telling stories in her signature style. Mohammad Ahmed and Yasir Rana’s writing is crisp and to the point. Here too, like in the Tanhaiyan sequel, we see beautiful usage of the Urdu language and classy, clean, family-friendly humor. Another person who should be acknowledged is the DOP, Farhan Alam. Just loved his camera work here. He deserves a pat on the back not just for his technical skills, but also for risking his life weaving in and out between all those smoke belching buses and cars. Superbly done!

Overall, I loved the opening episode. For those who’ve not seen it yet, I would definitely recommend you give it at least one serious dekho. Watch it, I think you wont be disappointed!

Written by SZ~

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25 replies

  1. Wow, yaar, you’ve been busy these two days but thanks for the treats :)
    I saw this today and loved the opening scene, brilliantly done. Will definitely see this sitcom coz of all the reasons you’ve mentioned above and because it has the name ‘coke’ attached to it – my household’s (guiltily) fav drink :) No one can have Pepsi at our place.
    Waise I like the name coke studio, coke kahani but I can’t stomach Olper’s Tanhaiyaan… I mean, to me, that just sounds plain wrong! I hope they don’t make a habit of this.

    • @Afia: Bas yaar, to many dramas and many good ones at that, ke agar tareef na karo to thiik baat nahin lagti! We’ve been pushing for change in our dramas for so long, and now that there are different dramas out there, if one doesn’t appreciate and highlight the efforts then it seems that we shouldn’t have complained in the first place!
      Agree on the weird brand name associations – but from what I am hearing this is the trend of the future and its here to stay – so might as well get used to it :/
      LOL! At the Coke Kahani going on at your own ghar!
      Do come back and share your thoughts once you’ve watched the episode – would love to know what you thought!

  2. Im really impressed by how you have described the sitcom. I agree with how this sitcom did and will put a smile on everyones face every sat evening. We as a nation really need that. And a huge thumbs on your review of the show.

    • Sophia: Thanks! Yes, indeed this is a much needed change from the usual fare. Glad you enjoyed the review – looking forward to hearing more from you as we continue onwards with Coke Kahani : )

  3. 0h Sz can understand your problem well about what to watch and what not? Seriously too many good dramas airing these days. I also plan to follow many but hardly manage to watch a few even from those i was eagerly waiting for :D

    Would watch this one soon IA as this is a MJ project and you said it has her signature style that was missing in her last 2 projects :p

  4. Seriously, another good drama???? Why do you write these awesome reviews, so then we HAVE to go check it out… Yoy are so right, where is the time though?..ugh still haven’t finished tanhaiyan coz the website was stinking and wouldn’t finish the last part. Bari apa is not even on the weekend viewing list yet, even though I love it and am dying to see Anc which will be pushed back to god knows when. Are you going to be reviewing this and TNS regularly??

    • @SK: hahaha – loving your daant – sorry!! But this one was really good – a review compelling drama – kya karoon?? ;) I’d like to do this one regularly – its very different and sweet and only 20 mins! Do check it out!
      Tanhaiyan, I love as well, will have to find a way to alternate which one goes first on Sat. Haven’t even watched Tanhaiyan as yet this week! Like you still haven’t gotten around to ANC, BA is also pending… and ofcourse ZGH on Fris… God help us all!!! Thank God we have the rest of the week to recoup!

  5. Oh well since you have given this a lovely review i guess i will check it out soon as i have really come to rely on your choices since you made me watch BK from you compelling reviews,on a side note Tanhiyan was simply awesome tonight i really loved it and since we have Qabacha back now life is so fun!!

    • Thanks for trusting my opinion – ab dekh kar batana if you agreed or not :)
      Yes, Tanhaiyan is pending IA will watch n review it as well :) No spoilers plz!!

  6. Being a huge fan of MJ, i was eagerly waiting for this serial to start. For starters, its a MJ serial, written by one of the best writers, great cast and best of all a very catchy name, Coke Kahani!! too bad i like Pepsi! :P but khair still loving the name!

    Watched the first episode and totally loved it! I guess i will be following this one as well. Short, quick and right to the point!.

    I am not actually following many serials religiously these days as there are too many to keep up with except Shehrezaat which ended, so its either a hit or miss , kabhi koi ep dekh li aur kabhi koi. Most of the stories dont move forward as fast anyway but this was a great start and I am really looking forward to watching the upcoming episodes!

    Thanks MJ for another great watch!

  7. like Ash had to watch this one because of MJ :-) And boy absolutely loved it! Plus it was short, well edited, and to the point and of course well acted.

    I don’t know WHY all these serials have been put on Saturdays?? Arrey bhai baqi 6 days kya load shedding zayda hoti hai?

  8. @ hoorean …just a question…which were those last two projects of MJ tht dnt hve her signature style ??? ….m just askin…coz i like MJ’s plays n due to tym shortage..i hve missed a lot of recent onez…was thinkin of watching them bt if there r ny which were nt tht gr8…do tell me…it ll save some tym :)

  9. LOVEDDDDDDDDDDD it :D
    and yes i want to thank the DOP too.. i loved the lighting, the placement of angles and introducing zara haat kay- cinematographic techniques that are so lacking in our dramas and you are right just a 20 second glimpse of hustle bustle, the traveling, it humanizes the drama so much more :)

    • yep! the cinematography was awesome! love the detail to the little things. Karachi ki busy roads, the traffic, the crowd and the lighting was all so perfect. I felt like i was watching an american sitcom dubbed in urdu. It was hilarious how he stole that woman’s chappal and then later tossed it across the road.

      • Sir you’ll have to tell us how you managed that opening shot in Ep. 1 where you are cutting in and out of all the traffic! All I thought after watching that scene was I hope nobody got hurt!

        • Well, it wasn’t easy, the opening scene was filmed and rehearsed many times, finally after 20 takes we got it right, there were so many things we had to deal with. if am not mistaken it took us almost 2 hours to shoot that famous opening scene… if you wanna watch behind the scene of that opening shot please visit Coke Kahani’s official fb page and trust me nobody got hurt :)

          • thank you for replying!! It definitely looked like a lot of hard work went into filming that opening scene! I’ll check out the CK official page and dig through to find the content. :)
            Maybe one of these days we can get you and Shehzad Kashmiri on a show where you can talk about all the awesome work you two have done from Dastaan to CK.

      • @Farhan Alam: Hi! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment – much appreciated!
        As you can see we’re all fans and absolutely loving your work here! Please do keep visiting; We’d love it if you could perhaps share some of the behind the scenes stuff that came up while you were shooting, particularly the fabulous street scenes! Looking forward to hearing more from you :)

  10. So you made me go watch it earlier than I was planning, but it was short so I forgive you:p It was definitely different, nothing like I’ve seen in dramas before, MJ has given us something unique for sure! The filming style was cool, felt like we were in the drama with the characters. Like that its promoting family values, but is on the light side with drama and lots of humorous touches. Looking forward to the next epi, oh and I love syra so that’s a bonus too!

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