Coke Kahani ~ Episode 3 Review

We are so careful with the little things we deem as precious to us. Not only do we take care of them ourselves, but ask others around to handle them delicately as well – just like Maya asking her servant to not use the good teapot for everyday use. Conversely, while fretting about minutiae, there are so many bigger issues – family, relationships, obligations, time – that we deal with so carelessly. We let go of so much so easily, letting it slip through our fingers like sand. Asfand and his strained relationship with Zoya, Maya and her rocky marriage, Rayan and his half-hearted job search, Bedil wasting his time on shairi, are all prime examples of priorities gone seriously awry. If only we could get our priorities straight, so many wrongs could be righted; not just in our personal lives, but also in the broader context of whats happening in the once upon a time land of the pure. High time we stopped behaving like the chess playing nawabs of Awadh in Munshi Premchand’s classic short story, Shatranj ke Khiladi.

Though Coke Kahani is imbued with layers of meanings and has broader implications, what makes this one refreshing is that it does not hit on you the head with its take on social issues. There is plenty of laughter here: Bedil and his atrocious shairi, Mutma’in and Rayan at the breakfast table, and Nusrat and her botox moment, all applause worthy scenes. Underlying the humor is a pithy commentary on the hypocrisy rampant in our society. While Seema criticizes Maria for lying to the family about her job, she forgets that it is she who feels the need to cover her face and it is she who is dating a guy on the sly. Why does Maria feel the need to lie about her job? Why does Seema hide her face as she walks out of the cafe? Who is the bigger culprit here – Maria or Seema? On deeper reflection, aren’t we all equally implicated in creating and perpetuating these double standards?

Though we did not see much of a movement in terms of the narrative, we did see more fleshing out of Zoya’s plan to save the restaurant. It is great to see that its not just the problems being highlighted here, rather we see innovative solutions being offered as well – apni madad aap, being the operative phrase here. The baton has been passed, from the older to the younger generation, Asfand is looking to Zoya and her crazy team to find a way to save Alfonso, and it is up to these youngsters to fumble and find their way forward.

There is so much packed into a 16 minute episode, that I really think other producers, directors and writers need to take heed of the narrative technique here. So much happens and happens so well that it seems like nothing happened. It is only when I start writing that I realize the number of issues addressed. Kudos to the CK team for their story telling skills. The cast continues to impress. Nobody gets more than a minute or so on screen, but all leave their mark. The editors and the technical team deserve a huge round of applause for giving Coke Kahani its signature glossy and slick look. 

A special shout out for Farhan Alam’s camera work, it adds so much visual interest to the story unfolding on screen. I am by no means a techie, but I do appreciate the experimentation with lighting and different ways the scenes are filmed. I loved the play of shadow and light in the scene where Ruqaiya scolds Rayan for going to a pharmaceutical company to sponsor an eatery.

The slice of life scenes are a hallmark of Mehreen’s serials and Coke Kahani is no exception. The man buying fruit from a street vendor, the boy going under the guard rails, the bustle of busy roads, the shots of heritage buildings, the panoramic views of an ever changing Karachi skyline, all add so much texture to the story. Yes, this story is equally applicable anywhere in the world, but the stunning visuals, with Quaid-Azam’s mausoleum at the center of it all, make it a uniquely Karachi story.

Overall, though this was more of a bridge episode, I enjoyed it. I wonder if this was a lead up to Coke playing a more significant role. Will Rayan convince the (Coke?) executive to pay heed to his sales pitch? Is Coke literally going to sponsor this Kahani?

Kudos to Team Ck for a job well done. Looking forward to more next week!

Written by SZ~

35 replies

  1. It is a treat to read your review! every time ! In fact i look forward to reading your review more than the episode itself haha …good job! question: how many times do you watch the episode before writing the review?..i am asking because there is not a thing that you miss out on in the review ! 😀


    • Thank you! High praise indeed – much appreciated! LOL! I generally watch episodes once, and go back for names or if I’m looking for dialogues to quote, etc. But since CK is so jam packed and so much happens, I watch it twice, and the rest comes together when I write – which as you fully well know is the hardest part!! 😉


    • Have just read that you are a co-writer of CK? I just had to congratulate you on this brilliantly written serial. In less then 20 minutes, the way you both have packed comedy, characterization, important issues etc is just amazing. I was wondering is ‘Alfonso’ symbolic? Is it our country which needs to be saved by our young generation? And does Maya depict the class of people who have decided to leave Pakistan and find a new life away from Home?
      You both have done an brilliant job. Congratualtions to the whole team!!!


  2. I woke up in the morning and i was like ZGH nahi to kiya howa, coke Kahani to hai! Just like a cotton candy, its light and fluffy, you consume it without thinking twice about it and yet it manages to last on your taste buds for a long long time. Never thought a little comedy show could manage to topple all the big boys airing on TV and succeed in providing quality entertainment in well under 20 minutes. Thank god it aired today 🙂
    SZ how do you write such eloquently put reviews. you pretty much summed everything up beautifully. thankyou for always inspiring all of us to write better 🙂


    • Maria, thanks! What a lovely intro this was to your equally interesting review – I thoroughly enjoyed reading your take. I loved that we both watched it and enjoyed it, but chose to highlight different things. Such an apt analogy you make with candy floss – so true! 🙂
      And yes, glad it aired. As for ZGH – I’m done thinking/talking about it till the day the first episode airs, until then I will spend my time thinking about ways to eliminate poverty and feed the hungry…


      • sitaroon say agay jahan aur bhi hain, abhi coke kahani ki episodes aur bhi hain 🙂
        meanwhile i am loving coke kahani, believe me i can relate to it 100% and the father son conversations, give me belly ache from laughing…i feel like i am sitting with my own brothers and dad while they get lectured 🙂

        SZ i have a surprise for you, tonight 🙂


  3. Thank God it aired was my first thought ! CK walon ka shukria coz none of the others were ready to take on the cable issues/muharram etc. As usual, you’ve summed up everything beautifully and Maria has as well. Saw the ep in a little ‘afra tafri’ (this weekend’s been crazy) but I liked the references to the problems in Pak and how we ‘love’ putting it down. Kudos to the people who still try to make better of a bad situation.


  4. Agreed with Maria, so what if its not ZGH, life is still beautiful with CK and TNS 🙂

    SZ, Your reviews are always very thought provoking, that indeed after dramas I specially wait for those!

    Starting scene was such a pleasant one, father-daughter talking in Faarsi with comfort and twinkled eyes.. I simply love Mohammad Ahmed’s dialogues specially if the man deliver himself.. too good 😀 Mutma’in and Rayyan together are hilarious.. Finally ‘ property on sale’ is taken off, and i took sigh of relief.. 😀 Saad and Rayyan conversation at cinema was highlight of episode, simple yet make you think. great writing!

    Hoping to see Maya coming next week..


    • Thanks for drawing attention to the last scene! Isnt it amazing how there is so much here to discuss and think about – loving it!
      Yes, the farsi bits were very cute and I love the chenistry between Syra and Faisal – very sweet 🙂


  5. Thank God Coke kahani aired this weekend 😀 Or we would have experienced some withdrawal symptoms for not getting a review dose from you, SZ 😛
    This ‘Kahani’ is my favourite these days. it has every ingredient, very carefully added. Nothing seems out of place. For me, the lighting and the shots (that you mentioned above) make it stand out amongst all others. Loving Mutmain Uncle….his selection of perfect Urdu phrases and mahawras,is beyond brilliant.


    • Heela: yes the perfect recipe for making a hit serial – I hope other producers/channel headsd are listening to hamarey dil ki awaaz! 🙂
      What about TNS? I loved Qabacha this week! CK+TNS=perfect Saturday 🙂


  6. So true – again agree with the ladies above. Thank goodness for Coke Kahani (and TNS) – thank you for not bowing down to some weird unknown pressure to get more money from advertisers and not airing the shows due to whatever reasons.

    Wherever they shot the first scene in the episode was a beautiful place. It cannot be Faisal’s backyard lol! I really really liked the fact that the dude going around asking for money did not have any luck at all today. If it was a usual comedy, he would have gotten a sponsor right away. I liked the realistic approach here to the situation. And it also highlights the economic situation in Pakistan. Well Done Mohd. Ahmed sahab and Yasir Rana!
    Loved reading your analysis SZ! It give us sooo much to think about even though it is only 16 minutes long but the editing is just FABULOUS!! I think we’ll run out of superlatives by the time this series ends 🙂
    My only gripe is showing the bloopers at the end of each episode – not sure how I feel about seeing those right after watching the episode. Maybe the bloopers can be shown a week later so the maaza of the episode remains in tact.

    I guess no reviews next week because no new episodes due to Muharram. So you have a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend (mine is going to be super busy!) and we’ll check you in 2 Saturdays unless you plan on doing another “not review” of Ashk lol


  7. I love your opening paragraph, love how you even highlight the deeper meanings of CK, you are just too good! Thouroughly enjoyed this episode too, so many funny moments like the botox part, but it wasn’t just funny to be silly, its actually higlighting the rampant problem, that’s what I’m loving about this serial! A business going bankrupt, job searching, marital problems are all important issues people face , and I’m so glad they have been addressed. The way its being narrated is fab, and all the actors are doing a fine job!


    • Agree with 100% – its not comedy for the sake of comedy… there’s actually a reason behind this… I like the writers are respectful of their viewers’ intelligence and give us intelligent humor to appreciate – loving this !
      And thank you for enjoying the review – muchas gracias!! 🙂


  8. SZ firstly you tell me how on earth in sixteen minutes(yes that is it’s exact running time sixteen minutes some seconds) you find so much material to write.Hats off girl. Well i have to say again who ever is behind the camera work and lightning management of this play have done wonders.I have never seen a more impeccable job done in a play.The camera angles are brilliant lightning effects on the faces especially in the indoors are are so apt.Amazing work. It is so much fun to watch this play i don’t know why but it reminds me of all the theater plays in our college and university where we had to work extensively on angles and lights.I am simply loving Faisal in the serial and all the young crew though i still can’t identify them with real names but i am really trying to find who is who in Coke Kahani.


    • Javeria: Farhan Alam is the DOP for CK and its his brilliance that we’re all appreciating here. You must’ve seen his work earlier in Dastaan as well – he’s been kind enough to drop in and comment here, and if he’s reading this, perhaps he can tell you the names of the people who helped with lighting etc .. 🙂
      Thanks for enjoying the review – Its such an intelligent script, and the writers have done such a fab job of packing in so much here, that it would be almost unfair to not comment extensively on their very sharply written screenplay – hence the long review :/ Btw, Yasir Rana, who commented above, is a co-writer, along with Ahmed Sahab… so a pat on the back for him 🙂


  9. I have to echo all the comments on this review and the episodes, be it the story (the very well written dialogues), the acting or the amazing camera work that captures every little detail with such ease!

    How you write so eloquently and in so much depth [MA], nazar na lage! Thank you for giving us so much to think about honestly, so many hidden shades in each scene that only you can pick up. These reviews never disappoint.

    16 minute episode and woh bhi sirf 13 episodes, this is a serious tease I must say. Kuch ziyada hi refreshing drama hai yeh. Just as i got comfortable and am enjoying the play, hain yeh kya precaps??!

    There is so much going on in just one episode, ke its hard to keep up at times. Love how they show the struggling younger generation, who have to go through hell and back to make it somewhere in life in most cases, and well in others one just gets lucky! Bechara Rehan ko itne dakhe kanay parte hain and is sarcastic dad makes it a lil harder on him. Great chemistry between Rehan and mister Mut’main saab.

    I am hoping that next episode thak Alfonso saab ka kuch ban jaye. and they are able to fix the place up. Those are going to be some exciting episodes to watch, so really looking forward to those!
    an exciting drama to look forward to indeed!


  10. Loved CK!! you all were right! It is just amazing. After a long time of endless Rona dhona, sisters at loggerheads, Saas and bechari bahu- or vice versa, wadera and majboor raya…it is nice to smile without feeling guilty. The burden of living in Karachi is already too much. The heavy going dramas can get a bit too much. Please TV Channels!!!A small dose should suffice! Anyway… the comedy is great.( not the slapstick style we have been watching till recently) The dialogues between Mohammad Ahmed and Shamim Hilali are just fantastic. Great work MJ and great review SZ. The way you picked up that ‘ Rozana ki kettle’ and how we value material objects and trash important relationships and have written about it shows your stature as a Reviewer. Fantastic!


    • @ms: Thanks!! I’m so with you on enjoying the comedy.. I tell you I just hadn’t realized how much of a drag our tv had become till I started watching ck and tns .. hadn’t expected to like either of them, but it was love at first sight for both of them – glad you’re enjoying them as well 🙂
      Oh yes and Mohd Ahmed Sb and Shamim Hilali have to bethe cutest couple of the year — Ashar and Khirad have some serious competition there!!!
      And as for your queston abt Alfonso being a metaphor, I think so .mentioned it in my second review.. and carried it through in my third one .. i think it stands for the Karachi/Pk and all things going wrong and how its up to the younger generation to fix the mess …


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