“Kya tu jaanti hai, mera baap kaun hai?” This loaded statement conveys privilege, bragging about connections, and hints at the possibility of a confrontation. For Sahil, the protagonist of Pop Kaun portrayed by Kunal Kemmu, this statement is an expression of his frustration as he seeks to uncover the identity of his father. The six-episode series on Disney Plus Hotstar follows Sahil’s journey as he discovers that he was adopted. While Pop Kaun may be meant as a comedy series, the underlying tragedy is that the father of Sahil’s beloved (Nupur Sanon) refuses to grant consent for marriage unless he can produce proof of a surname. Quite absurdly modern indeed!
We’ve seen many films over the years that have covered similar themes; from Kabhi Kabhi where Neetu Singh looks for her birth mother, to Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara’s father-son confrontation and the full-length film Dil Aashna Hai with Divya Bharti and Shah Rukh Khan. However, Pop Kaun is different in its approach, using humor to tackle the situation. With actors like Rajpal Yadav, Chunkey Pandey, and the late Satish Kaushik all portraying ‘probable’ fathers, viewers are bound to be left with some big smiles and a few giggles. The show has noble intentions of promoting communal harmony during these polarised times but unfortunately falls short on successful delivery.
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It was never intended, but the current context makes certain sequences particularly distressing. Johnny Lever’s character, who adopted Sahil, is seen having a heart attack: people around him mistake his writhing in anguish as some kind of dance moves and imitate him until he falls to the ground. Then, as Kemmu explodes with anger about his life hardships, a dog suffers a heart attack. This is all especially saddening given that this show is Satish Kaushik’s first posthumous project.
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The show required six episodes and three father figures before Sahil finally unites with the one whom he identifies as his ‘real father’. As is worthy of a show which sets out to spread the philosophy of religious brotherhood, Sahil is brought up in a Hindu family but ends up discovering that his father is from different backgrounds — Muslim, Sikh, and Christian. This also provides ample opportunity for funny skits, punch lines, and old jokes which are already popular on TV as well as social media. So even though it may have felt like watching Instagram reels at times during the first two episodes, what we are witnessing here is an attempt to present an innovative narrative about ‘Hindu Muslim Sikh Isai sab apaas mein bhai bhai’ in a single eye-catching package.
Without giving away any spoilers, the climax of the show is pretty predictable. Most of it isn’t memorable aside from a few moments. However, Kunal Kemmu’s sincere performance is praiseworthy and helps keep you engaged in Sahil’s story. With Johnny Lever and Saurabh Shukla starring alongside senior actors, the casting does justice to the series. Nupur Sanon does her part well in her debut role and had a fun yet challenging experience filming with Satish Kaushik – these scenes are rather adorable. Jamie Lever adds to the humour with her portrayal of Sahil’s infatuated admirer yet we wish she had more to contribute. We suggest watching this show if you are looking to enjoy some light-hearted entertainment but don’t get your hopes up too high.