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~