Web Series: Pop Kaun
Cast: Satish Kaushik, Kunal Kemmu, Nupur Sanon, Saurabh Shukla, Johny Lever, Jamie Lever, Chunky Panday, Rajpal Yadav, Zakir Hussain, Zuber Shaikh, Toshi Sabri, Shaarib Sabri, Tasha Bhambra, Ashwini Kaslekar, Prithvi Zutshi, Manuj Mittra
Director: Farhad Samji
(As a tribute to Satish Kaushik, PeepingMoon.com will not be rating Pop Kaun)
The popular WhatsApp University is home to multiple so-called funny PJs that tend to irritate you to the core due to their silliness. They are unfunny and ridiculously cliché that words don't do justice to them. But when Farhad Samji decides to come up with Pop Kaun, even those WhatsApp jokes begin making sense. Wasting talents like Satish Kaushik, Saurabh Shukla, Johny Lever, Rajpal Yadav, and even Chunky Panday to that extent, the film converted into a series gives a headache instead of laughs.
Pop Kaun, not to be confused with the harmless and innocent popcorn we enjoy while watching a film in theatres, revolves around Sahil (Kunal Kemmu) who belongs to a wealthy father (Johny Lever). He is in love with the daughter of another powerful personality. Pihu (Nupur Sanon) wants to marry Sahil but before that, he has to find out the identity of his real father. No, Johny isn't his biological father.
The series by Farhad Samji stretches itself way beyond its potential just to explore the concept of religious unity. Without saying much, it fails badly. Pop Kaun clearly lacks originality. In the name of comedy, what's sold to the audience is a pile of cringe-worthy dialogues, stinky potty jokes and a narrative that seems to be taken from the 90s. In one of the scenes, Rajpal Yadav, who plays Johny's bodyguard, dips his face into the toilet bowl during a security check. What were Farhad and his writers high on while writing such sequences?
If you feel poor jokes fail to uplift the series then you have to watch the heart attack dance. Yes, a heart attack dance comes in the first episode and the doom is sensed. The actors break into qawwali and a weird dance as the title song plays. Singers Toshi Sabri and Shaarib Sabri play qawwals. In yet another ridiculous scene, Kunal asks the meaning of Mausiqui to his friend who says it could be "mausi ki ladki". The singers then sing, 'Mausi Ki Ladki' to apparently add humour. How can one even laugh at such jokes? When a similar thing was done by Supriya Pathak in the Khichdi franchise, people loved it as its execution and innocence. Here, it is nothing but annoying.
The ray of sunshine in this entire mess is Tusshar Kapoor. You read it right. He doesn't play a new character but brings back Lucky from the Golmaal franchise. The silliness in the scene does provide some laughs and the credit only goes to Tusshar. The star cast tries too hard to impress with dialogues that seem to be written to either rhyme or create a wordplay. Extra emphasis has been given to breaking down the puns and as a result, the flavour gets lost. It is clear that Farhad Samji doesn't trust his audience's sensibilities. The viewer's patience will be constantly tested; of course, this series is almost 3 hours long. Along with this comes the fear of what's in store for the audience as Farhad has quite some films in his kitty, including Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan. We hope there's no humour in it at all.
Kunal Kemmu is an underrated actor but that doesn't mean he ends up doing projects like Pop Kaun. There's no room for him to show subtly and his acting craft. All he is made to do is react loudly, overact and open his eyes wide to express shock. He deserves better. Nupur Sanon looks pretty. Sadly, in her debut web show, she is restricted in terms of performance. Though she is promising, Pop Kaun isn't the right debut for the talented lady.
Pop Kaun is an insult and disgrace to veterans of comedy like Johny Lever, Satish Kaushik, Saurabh Shukla and Rajpal Yadav. They get distasteful characters but staying true to their craft, the actors give in their best to provide some moments of relief. As problematic as the heart attack dance sounds, it is still worth appreciating just for the efforts put in by Johny. Jamie Lever is a phenomenal artiste and the series doesn't honour her craft.
Pop Kaun is Farhad's way to 'con' the genre of comedy. The purpose behind greenlighting this project remains unclear. The only advice to the audience is to skip Pop Kaun and head to theatres to watch some quality content this week.