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~