That’s the one word that kept popping up in my mind while I was watching the second episode of Coke Kahani. Waisey if you prefer, you are more than welcome to use brash, fresh, energetic, daring to be different, other adjectives that are all equally apt as one tries to capture the essence of this funky little sitcom.
Story wise, ostensibly there’s not much to talk about. Asfand owns a restaurant that is about to go belly up. His daughter Zoya and the rest of his restaurant staff concoct a plan designed to rescue this sinking ship. His estranged wife Maya lives in Florida. Meanwhile Asfand’s sister Nusrat and her husband Mutma’in are proud parents of a son, Rehan, who’s a take-it-easy-just-chillax kind of guy. So yea, basically a straightforward narrative here. No need to wrack your brains trying to figure out the saas‘ manipulations or the chalak bahu’s nefarious schemes, or the interfering nand’s kartoot – nope, none of that here. Just sit back and let your mind go with the flow… Don’t over think it, kyonke sochne ki zaroorat hi nahin. Coke Kahani is pure entertainment – loving it!
Alongside the uncomplicated narrative what makes Coke Kahani a delightful watch is the crispness of the dialogues and the seemingly effortless humor. Be it Mutma’in Uncle calling his son salmahu, or Nusrat and Mutma’in arguing about their kirayadar, or Jugnoo imagining himself as a naanbai, or Bedil daydreaming about becoming a Chingchi driver and threatening to write Halalala – Tera Munh Kala on the back of his new vehicle. Excellent writing by the two writers – Mohammed Ahmed and Yasir Rana; I am thoroughly enjoying this combo of youth and experience.
The freshness of the cast is a huge plus point here. I love that we are being introduced to a new lot of talented actors. We might not see them on TV 24/7, but nonetheless they are very good and display none of the awkwardness commonly associated with new faces. I am thoroughly enjoying watching Yasir Hussain, Adnan Jaffar, Almas Fidai, and Ahmed Zaib. Syra Yousuf is fun to watch. Her hairstyle gives her a completely different look from Serena’s in Tanhaiyan, so I don’t mind watching her twice in one day. Faisal Rehman is fabulous as usual, and I must say its great to see him in a more age appropriate role. After watching Hina Bayat play a very hip mom in Shehr-e Zaat, its great to see Faisal play a hot dad. Maya’d better come back soon – otherwise she might just find herself out of the family picture permanently! Shamim Hilali and Ahmed Sahab are such a cute couple and such fun parents -I am thoroughly enjoying their tehzeebyafta nok-jhok, both with each other and with their son. Behroze Sabzwari was fabulously cool as the hey-dude bhai loag.
Above and beyond all Coke Kahani belongs to MJ and her DOP Farhan Alam. The direction, camera work, lighting, slick editing, and oh yes the background music – all superb stuff!
Before I sign off, I must applaud the exquisite little vignette with the Parsi couple. Watching Mr, and Mrs Nusserwanjee brought back so many memories of the cosmopolitan Karachi I grew up in. Asfand’s conversations, first with the hey-dude bhai loag and later with the Parsi couple added in a whole other subtext to the so far deceptively simple story. Seems like Alfonso is not just a restaurant, it is perhaps a metaphor for the city of Karachi, or indeed for Pakistan itself. Hmmm…. perhaps everything is not as it seems, and the story is not as seedhi as it appears … thora ghaur karna parega … Excellent storytelling guys!
Written by SZ~