Ek Jhoothi Love Story is the second Pakistani web series to stream on Zee5, an Indian streaming platform, after Churails. With Mehreen Jabbar taking the director’s seat and Umera Ahmed writing the script, the expectations were already high. The duo has made successful Pakistani dramas in the past namely Doraha, Daam, and Malaal. Add to that the stellar ensemble cast, with Bilal Abbas and Madiha Imam playing the central characters of the story, and fans were expecting nothing short of a memorable experience.
The show was made available to stream on the 30th of October and since then, the series has garnered much praise from the viewers. The light-hearted yet realistic manner of storytelling and the script which tackles the relatable issues of the society make Ek Jhoothi Love Story a series that truly represents the strength of Pakistani dramas.
The show is primarily about two individuals living in the same middle-class neighborhood in Karachi: Sohail (Bilal Abbas) and Salma (Madiha Imam). Salma is studying in college while Sohail runs his own computer and electronics repair shop. Both of them are obsessed with finding ideal spouses in their lives. And to some extent, they succeed in finding these ideals. Salma falls in love with a rich, handsome young man named Nofil while Sohail falls in love with a rich and beautiful young woman named Natalia.
Because of the class difference between them, Salma and Sohail think that Nofil and Natalia would never talk to them. Hence, to impress and get closer to their ideal partners, they create fake Facebook accounts. Salma creates a fake account using Natalia’s name and picture, while Sohail creates one using Nofil’s name and picture. Thinking they were talking to the real Nofil and Natalia, Salma and Sohail start chatting with each other. The show then follows what happens when two people build a fantasy world based on fake profiles and how these fantasies end up affecting real life.
The rishta culture
Ek Jhoothi Love Story spends a lot of time showing the ‘rishta’ culture of Pakistani societies. It explores how parents set incredibly high standards for their children when it comes to choosing a spouse. Such was the case with Salma’s household. In pursuit of finding the ideal spouses for her children, Salma’s mother keeps rejecting every proposal in search of a better one. As a result, Salma’s three elder siblings – Salahuddin, Shazia, and Shabana – have crossed their thirties but are unable to find the right spouses in pursuit of finding the ‘perfect’ life partners.
Shazia’s paternal cousin Tanzeel ur Rehman Siddiqui is interested in her but since he runs a fruit shop, she isn’t keen on getting married to him. Salahuddin’s colleague Nausheen is interested in him but since she belongs to an ordinary family, his mother keeps rejecting the proposal. Even Shabana’s fellow lecturer Jahangir wants to send her a proposal but she keeps turning him down due to the nature of his job.
Sohail and Salma also have to compromise on their ideal partners and instead settle when their families fix their marriage to each other. The show explores the idea about how it is human nature to set unattainable expectations from one’s partner in life and how the real success of a relationship comes from the compatibility between two people; not on whether or not they are able to meet all the expectations of an ideal.
Bilal Abbas Khan and Madiha Iman being the leads of the show, handled each scene with extreme finesse. The way they transitioned from hating and then eventually liking each other was covered naturally by the two actors. The family dynamics were very interesting to see and it was made possible thanks to the realistic performances by the ensemble cast.
Beo Raana Zafar, Mohammad Ahmed, Kiran Haq, Mariam Saleem, Furqan Qureshi, Hina Khwaja Bayat, Srha Asghar – Mehreen outdid herself in the casting department. Fawad Khan as the loveable Tanzeel ur Rehman Siddiqui is a great find of the industry. Ahmed Zeb, Kinza Razzaq, Rabya Kulsoom had supporting roles but they made their presence felt. None of the characters feel one dimensional. But then again, with Umera Ahmed responsible for writing the script and the characters, expecting average content would have been a mistake.
Uneven pacing but technically strong
At 18 episodes and the runtime ranging from 33 to 40 minutes per episode, Ek Jhoothi Love Story isn’t long by the standards of the currently airing Pakistani dramas. The scenes are short and to the point. However, it still suffers from uneven pacing. The reason is that the whole obsession with finding the ideal life partner becomes repetitive after some time. The show could have wrapped up the story in 15 episodes, at most.
With that being said, it doesn’t become boring at any point. The cinematography is gorgeous and the camera work is crisp and clear. It is the same Karachi that the audience usually sees in dramas but the crew has presented it in a different light. The production team did a great job of scouting the locations, particularly the homes of the two leads. The OST is lovely and doesn’t feel overplayed.
People who had a problem with Zee5’s last Pakistani offering Churails would find no reason to complain while watching Ek Jhoothi Love Story. It is a light-hearted web series that the whole family can enjoy as it walks the fine line between comedy and drama. The episodes don’t drag with unnecessary scenes and tracks, the characters are all relatable, and there is no forced addition of misery in the narrative. In short, Ek Jhoothi Love Story has all the elements of what makes a quality Pakistani drama.