Huh! One of the best episodes so far, and I would not have expected that! Just the right mood and the right chemistry I guess, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
Intro! Thank goodness, Karan shook it up a little this time. Maybe that’s why this episode felt so good, he wasn’t stuck in a rut and was trying new things. Anyway, the difference this time is that Kat and Varun come out to do the intro together, not Karan, and it is much shorter.
Oh, and their clothes are good too. Katrina is wearing a simple bright yellow dress, she is definitely wearing the dress not the other way around. Varun is wearing black pants and shirt and fancy statement jacket thing. He takes the jacket off later and I think the outfit is better without. Karan’s striped shirt and jacket may not be the best, Varun says he looks like a zebra and he’s not wrong.
Kat starts out saying something serious about acting, Varun cuts her off to say no, this show should be massy, and then does a little Hindi rap that ends with a joke about Karan doing too many things and he should just go home to his kids. It’s not the greatest opening ever, and it’s clearly a little scripted (like, they spent ten minutes coming up with something), but it’s far far better than Karan trying to come up with another 5 minute opening monologue at this point in the season when he has really already said everything he has to say.
And then Karan comes out and everyone moves over to the couch and Karan immediately points out that they are sitting close together, and then starts teasing them about why they aren’t together “together”. Varun mentions that they’ve known each other a long time and are “pretty much the same age”, which is a nice compliment to Kat since she is 5 years older than him. And then Kat and Varun both start remembering that when they first me he had a “hate club” against her.
They just have really nice chemistry through out this whole thing. In the perfect way, Kat is so restrained and Varun is so over the top, but Kat calms him down and Varun peps her up. They aren’t super energetic together, but they are fun and relaxed and it really does feel like we are seeing a different side of them than we usually would. Which is the goal of Koffee, to open up a new side.
Anyway, they tell the story of when they first got to know each other, on the set of Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya, when Varun and Arjun had a little “I hate Katrina” club. And it’s kind of cute when Katrina learns for the first time that it wasn’t misplaced crushes on her that lead to founding the club, but rather jealousy over Salman! Because he used to hang out with them all the time, take them hiking and working out and stuff, but when Katrina was around he didn’t have time for them any more. It’s all very pleasant and gives us a sense of how much the kids like hanging out with Salman, and the kind of “before they were launched” perspective that we get sometimes, of these industry kids back when they were just hanging around sets trying to pick up tips.
But then the really interesting part! Karan is needling around a little about how Kat and Varun are both single and Varun kind of gives a sign that he may not be single, and Karan asks him straight out “can I talk about Natasha?” If you remember, last season Varun shut that DOWN, got very clear and firm right away that Natasha was off limits. But that was last season, now she’s been at public events and we know her name and so on. And so Varun says “yes, you can talk about Natasha”. And Karan asks him “so you are a couple?” Yes. “You will get married?” Yes.
I really respect how Varun has handled this whole thing. He didn’t fake a celebrity relationship, he didn’t lie, he just absolutely did not talk about Natasha or let anyone else talk about her for years and years (in case you came in late, Natasha is his college girlfriend, they have been together since before he was famous), and now that they are moving towards marriage he isn’t going to fake that out either. Yes, they are together and yes he wants to marry her.
Karan then turns the focus on the other relationship on the couch, Kat and Salman. And Kat handles it very well too! She says that maybe she doesn’t need a man. She talks with her friends who all just assume they need a relationship and thinks about whether or not that is something she needs for herself. And then she gives really good reasons that it is healthy for her to be alone right now and maybe for good, when you are in a relationship you judge yourself too much by what they think about you, and you put so much pressure on the other person to make you happy instead of making yourself happy. Good for Kat!!!! And (possibly) bad for Ranbir if he made her feel like he was the only one who could give her value in herself, and make her happy. Or maybe not, maybe she was just in a couple of intense relationships back to back and needed time alone. Either way, this was a very well-worded answer in a way that felt thoughtful but not practiced or fake. Good on you Kat! Oh, and she is so sure of herself, she even stops Karan from calling commercial break so she can finish her thoughts.
In the middle of all this and going around the edges, Varun is jumping around and throwing throw pillows at Karan. It’s not great for Varun or for the audience necessarily, but I think it is really good for Karan. He smiles and laughs a lot more in this episode than in the others, instead of worrying about hosting.
Speaking of which, Karan moves right on to asking about Alia and Kat without an awkward set-up they way he would in the other episodes. And Kat just answers it, no dancing around, smiles calmly and even does a little joke. Karan had mentioned how they were friends and went to the same gym and then asked if it is tough to keep the same equation and Kat’s response is “what, working out at the same gym?” And then she calmly goes right into her response, that she keeps equations separate, Alia was never a close friend, but she enjoys her and still enjoys her. I am sure Karan gave her a heads up about this question, or at the very least she must have guessed it would be a question so she had something semi-prepared, but this doesn’t feel scripted. This feels more like she thought through what she wanted to say and then just said it. And I believe her, mostly. I appreciate that she doesn’t pretend she and Alia are or ever were best friends. And I believe that she is a mature person and isn’t letting Alia dating her ex-boyfriend effect things. It’s what you have to do in this business, suck it up and make your peace with things. Especially if you are a woman, Kat can’t afford some kind of crazy feud like the male stars have.
Varun though has a REALLY interesting response on behalf of Kat, “you come into this world alone, you leave alone, screw everybody else”. Now, that’s interesting! Partly because of the quick way Varun comes to Kat’s side on this. It feels like friendship and gentlemanliness, in an odd combined way. But mostly for how it reveals Varun’s view of his career and life. Don’t put too much weight on relationships or take them too seriously, keep your eyes on your own goal. Varun had a little bit of this straight talk on his last episode, but mostly was playing the game of the goofy charming movie star. In this episode, it leaks out a little more, the serious ambitious smart mature man he hides under all the goof. And maybe this little slip is what leads straight into him revealing even more when he bluntly states that he and Kat aren’t best friends, they are here to promote their movie, that’s it. They are taking over the channel to promote their film. Varun’s not gonna play the fake game any more.
Good timing for Karan to take a break and switch to a new phase of the show. His next gimmick is to pull up a recorded video of Salman giving Varun advice on working with Kat. It’s not the greatest video and not the best gimmick. In other better episodes, the video had revealed actual new interesting information and (more importantly) was well edited and so on to make it amusing to watch. In this one, it’s really just Salman free-associating about working with Kat. It’s interesting to watch if you are fascinated by Kat and want new information about her, and how Salman sees her. But it’s not interesting to watch just on it’s own, really. Anyway, Salman tells Varun not to try to give Kat advice, basically. Reminds him that she has been working a lot longer than him and knows everything about film, just nod and smile when she talks about it. Medicine, don’t even get her started, she is basically a doctor with all the supplements and so on. And with dance, she is a perfectionist, she will just keep rehearsing and perfecting, don’t even try to match her steps. Basically, he says a lot of really nice respectful things, nothing about her being “sweet” or “beautiful” or anything like that, just about her as a super impressive professional. And that is interesting to me, that she has earned that kind of respect from her colleagues. I can believe it, everyone seems to really like to work with her. And what is even more interesting is watching Varun and Kat reacting to Salman, They are both smiling and laughing and so happy. I don’t see anything super charming or funny in what he says, which makes me think that Varun and Kat are just happy watching it because they know Salman so well and like him so much, and that’s kind of sweet.
Karan introduces Varun’s video by saying that he has a very tiny world. Meaning, there weren’t many people Karan could ask about Varun. I am getting such a new view on Varun in this episode! Serious, seriously private, family focused. Anyway, his parents tell semi-cute stories, that he used to suck his thumb and trick girls into doing his homework. Nothing really exciting or fascinating there. I’m more fascinated with the basic idea that only Varun’s parents know him well enough to do these videos.
(Or maybe Salman, but he already did Kat’s video)
Varun’s response to the video is also a little serious and a little mature, says he is always upset when his father says he is proud of him, and when he sees his brother Rohit playing with his daughter, and smiling and happy. Because it makes him remember when Rohit used to play with him like that. I don’t think this episode is a rebranding of Varun exactly, I think it’s more Varun relaxing and revealing more of himself, and picking up a bit of Kat’s maturity just by being around her.
And then Kat’s video, many many female friends, who all seem to be crew members? Not celebrities? Unless I am missing one. That alone tells me a lot about her, she may be private and not that close to a lot of people, but she does have real friends, and she doesn’t pick them for their celebrity status or their power. And what they say about her is also really interesting. Well, some of it. They say she is addicted to pancakes, which I don’t really care about. And that she has a habit of just taking anything she admires from you, which I care about a little but not really. What was super interesting was one person who said when she first met her, she thought she had a really sweet face, and then she got to know her. And another one who mentioned how her face always has the same expression. Karan and Varun tease her about that a little later in the show too, that she is unreadable, and Kat acknowledges that is just her face! Her resting face! It kind of gives me a key, she comes off as so unreadable and aloof in all her photos, but maybe she just looks like that naturally, was just born with that kind of face. And it sounds like it is something she knows about herself and her friends know and tease her about, which explains, just, SO MUCH. Oh, and the other thing that made me go “oh, yeah” was a comment about how back when she first made friends with some of them, she only had 6 plates and could only have 6 people to dinner. I forget how alone Kat is sometimes, she doesn’t have any family in the industry or even in India. She was a model starting out with nothing, only 6 plates, and somehow built this up on her own.
And then right before commercial break (so they could have cut it, but didn’t, and I appreciate that), Varun is really hoping around on the couch and Karan asks what’s wrong and Varun says “I have to pee.” and Karan’s response is “hey, this is a classy show!” to which Varun says “what, classy people don’t pee?” Again, I think this might be the reveal of the real Varun who is coming out as he gets further into his career, and the real Varun is not interested in playing games and pretending.
Which brings us to the game section! Starting with Rapid Fire. And starting with Varun. I think it might be a shorter round than usual? Anyway, it feels shorter. The most interesting answer is his first one, Karan asks if he would switch with Ranveer or Ranbir and Varun says neither and then kind of smiles and hesitates and then points out that they’ve had failures and he hasn’t. And his other answer I remember, Karan asked him whether Ayushmann, Rajkummar, Nawazuddin have the brighter future, and Varun immediately says Rajkummar, he has been his fan since his first movie. Which I believe and I’m glad Varun is willing to take a stand on that instead of playing around and trying to avoid insult.
And then there’s Kat! First question is Love-hate-tolerate about Salman and Alia. So Karan is trying for the scandal. Kat’s answers aren’t scandalous but they are really interesting. What she loves about Salman is his loyalty. Which my goodness she should love him for that! Especially after talking about how relationships make you lose self-respect and put all your happiness on them, to have Salman always firmly in her corner for over a decade personally and professionally, that is the kind of loyalty you could love someone for. Hate, that was interesting, she hates his opinions. I don’t know what those opinions are, and it’s not our place to know, but it gives me a little vision of a couple who knows each other well enough to share opinions on things, not just work stories and whatever. And tolerate, lateness. Well, that one is boring and predictable.
For Alia, she loves that she is such a free spirit. She hates that she doesn’t have to work hard at being good. And she tolerates that she doesn’t have to work hard at working out. Oh man, Kat!!! You are breaking my heart a little bit!!! At least, what I am reading in to this is that self-doubt of seeing a younger woman who seems to be able to do everything you want and have everything you want without effort. A certain kind of person could react with resentment and anger. But Kat, instead, is reacting with sincere admiration and wishing she could be that good, that free, that body-beautiful.
Her other answers are similarly interesting. First Karan gives her a chance of being alone in a room with all her exes or else on a desert island, and she immediately chooses exes (so no hard feelings there). For worst co-star, she picks Aditya Roy Kapoor because he won’t care if she says something. Which makes me like Aditya for being so easy going, and like Kat for caring about not hurting anyone’s feelings. Karan’s asks about the fashion faux-pas she regrets most, and her answer is kind of like her response on the resting face, she knows she is terrible with fashion and just doesn’t even care any more. For who she would ask for advice, it is Aditya Chopra for career advice (no duh, she’s practically the Yash Raj in house heroine), herself for advice on heartbreak (good for you Kat! I am now completely in your corner!), and for gossip, Karan, or…. Everyone laughs at the trail off, including Karan, but doesn’t say who the other person would be. I think probably Kareena? Because it’s come up in other episodes that she is the ultimate industry gossip. Who would she rather be stranded with on a desert island, Anushka or Deepika, Anushka because they are friends. Which I believe, they did just finish filming their second picture together after all. Her easiest co-star, Salman. Huh. I guess it depends on what you look for, he is super unprofessional and late and all that, but based on what he said in his video, it sounds like he also really respects Kat. And the one question she dodged, picking a favorite director between Kabir Khan and Ali Abbas Zafar. Fair enough I guess, Kabir Khan gave her one of her best roles and Ali Abbas Zafar is directing her now.
The most interesting part is actually at the end, Varun is bouncing around again and she really snaps at him “Varun, Don’t stand in front of my camera!” It comes off kind of egotistical, but it’s straight up practical too, I was honestly having a hard time seeing her face because Varun’s arm was blocking the shot a little. Salman was right, she really does get filmmaking.
And then quiz time!!!! Everything is gym based. Huh. Kind of insulting that Kat is really just thought of for her gym routine, but also kind of nice that Karan tailored the quiz for her. It starts with just naming as many things as possible in a period of time, stuff like “work outs you can do in the gym”. And then they have to identify people in headless photos in their gym outfits and Varun gets them all right away and Kat doesn’t. Yep, I can believe that, Varun pays attention and considers people and Kat just keeps her head down and focuses on herself. The final challenge is to guess the weight of things, which they do by lifting. And Kat is scarily exact. Including on the weight of Varun himself. But also modest, when they have to guess each other’s weight, she picks up Varun kind of awkwardly between the legs, because it’s the only way, but clarifies before she does it that she is just going to lift him any old way but she doesn’t want him to do that with her. And then he lifts her in a graceful classy way, so he listened. But a different actress would be making dirty jokes or something about it, not Kat, she’s smiling and happy to play the game, but still aware of her modesty. Oh, and similarly, Varun admits that her weight guess was almost perfect, but she manages to skate through the whole section without admitting her own weight, and Karan doesn’t push it. Boy, Kat really has a modesty about her body! Makes her feel human.
(This is from Dream Team, I forgot that he lifted her in his arms for 6 shows. Plus rehearsals. So they could trust each other with this)
And finally, the phone call challenge returns! Varun gets Rajkummar, which is really interesting! He gave that compliment and now calls him in the phone round. Maybe they are angling to work together? I would watch that, I think Varun and Rajkummar in some comedy film would be great. Or maybe Rajkummar was in his mind because of the earlier answer?
The bigger thing I find interesting is that both Varun and Kat have to struggle a bit to even think of actors to call. Unlike Alia and Dips (setting aside Dips’ “wrong phone” issues), or Ranveer and Akshay, they don’t have a bunch of people on speed dial. Or speed-thought-dial, fellow celebrities aren’t the first people on their minds. Interesting thing, they both go to Sonam Kapoor right away. Don’t know what that connection is, maybe Sonam is just really good at answering her phone. Anyway, they both give her a missed call and she calls Varun back and he tells her to say “Hi Karan it’s me” and she immediately says that she called Kat back first and tries to explain before saying the “Hi Karan”. And then Kat confirms that Sonam did call her back first, she just didn’t see the call. So, boy! Sonam is even-handed and wants to make sure her friends know that she doesn’t play favorites!!! Maybe that’s why they called her? She is just very good at living up to her obligations.
And that’s it! End of episode! Turned out to be maybe my favorite one so far! And now I am a little in love with Katrina. So, job well done Karan! You successfully showed me a new human side and made me like a celebrity more. Oh, and Varun too, this new “screw everybody, I’m marrying my girlfriend” attitude is very attractive.