Disney Plus Hotstar’s new original series ‘Pop Kaun’ centres on a young man Sahil (Kunal Kemmu), who discovers that Brij Kishore (Johnny Lever), the man he thought was his father, isn’t his father after all. The discovery leads to a hitch in his marriage to his love, Pihu (Nupur Sanon), because Pihu’s father KBC (Saurabh Shukla) has a father fixation. And thus begins the hunt for Sahil’s real father.

Pop Kaun is written and directed by Farhad Samji, along with Tasha Bhambhra and Sparsh Khetarpal as co-writers.

The only saving grace of ‘Pop Kaun’ is its exceptional cast and their performances. Kunal Kemmu proves yet again what an underrated actor he is. The man is entirely believable in the role of a son who’s exasperated with the twists and turns in his hunt for his real father. The supremely talented Johnny Lever tries his best to salvage his abominably written part.

The same goes for the rest of the talented bunch, comprising Saurabh Shukla, Rajpal Yadav, Chunky Pandey, Satish Kaushik, Zakir Hussain, Ashwini Kalsekar and Jamie Lever. Each powerhouse performer has got the short shrift with the terribly written characters.

It’s a treat to watch Satish Kaushik on screen; it’s one of his final few screen appearances. Pop Kaun slams home the point that we’ll never get to see him in new roles ever again.

The big letdown in the cast of Pop Kaun is Nupur Sanon. The girl can’t act if her life depended on it. Either she should ditch acting in movies, or she must take up acting classes to develop some acting skills. Director Farhad Samji appears in Pop Kaun as primary antagonist Balwan, and is passable at best.

The jokes in Pop Kaun seem to have been written by a five-year-old. Every joke falls flat, and none elicits even a giggle, let alone hearty, full-bellied laughter. Not to say, they’re also straight from the eighties. Sample this – “bolo pencil, teri shaadi cancel”. Sheesh, it’s a joke kids used to crack back in the eighties. And mind you, this is just one example of the cringe-fest that is Pop Kaun.

The plot too does nothing to elevate the series. It is shoddy and all over the place. The comic sequences reek of artifice and contrivance. Worse, Farhad Samji’s Pop Kaun does everything in its power to reinforce stupid stereotypes, especially Sahil applying kohl in his eyes when he identifies as a Muslim.

The greatest disservice that Pop Kaun does is not to its suffering audiences, but to its excellent cast. The series is nothing if not a colossal and unpardonable waste of talent. The actors sleepwalk through their roles, each surely wondering how things have come to such a pass that they’re compelled to spout such inane lines. Saurabh Shukla is handed the worst of them, by any measure. Also, Tushar Kapoor’s cameo, straight out of his role in Golmaal, is contrived, out of place, and downright cringe-worthy.

Farhad Samji has composed the music and written the lyrics for a couple of songs, both of which are mediocre. The rest of the music is as forgettable as the aforementioned. Sudip Sengupta’s cinematography is average.

watch it for Kunal Kemmu and Satish Kaushik. Periodt.

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