What gravitates audiences towards Pakistani dramas? What are those quintessential tales and stories that make global audiences fall in love with our tv shows? Ek Jhooti Love Story answers that question a million times in 18 episodes. Starring Bilal Abbas, Madiha Imam, Hina Khawaja Bayat and Mariam Saleem along with others, this web series is directed by Mehreen Jabbar and written by Umera Ahmed.
The show is set in lower-middle-class urban Karachi where a young woman named Salma (Madiha Imam) dreams of an ‘ideal’ along with her three older unmarried sisters Shabana (Kiran Haq) and Shazia (Mariam Saleem). In the same neighbourhood, dreaming about a fairy tale love story of his own is Sohail (Bilal Abbas Khan) who is running a ‘computer’ shop. He’s the sole breadwinner of his family; a happy-go-lucky sister (played by Srha Asghar) and. His cheerful mum (Hina Khawaja Bayat).
What follows in the next eighteen episodes is the heartwarming tale that explores human and social hypocrisies woven beautifully in a relatable, honest tale. Filled with authentic and entertaining dialogue and a well-chosen cast, Ek Jhoothi Love Story is something you will love to binge-watch if you’re a romantic at heart. If you’re the kinda person who longs to find romance in real life and is tired of trying to find the Disney version of it in real life (because let’s face it, that doesn’t exist), this is the show for you. Sohail and Salma’s story is as real, as fragile yet as believable as it can get. The subplots enhance the main storyline and drive in the point without being too preachy (it does deliver some needless lectures at various points but I’m willing to ignore those) and continue being charming throughout the eighteen episodes.
Salma and Sohail begin chatting with each other as fake ids on Facebook. They both look up to the upper-class life that is well beyond their reach. Salma’s acquaintance Natalia and Sohail’s friend Nofil are both what Salma and Sohail aspire to be. However, fate takes an interesting turn and both protagonists begin to learn about themselves and about love itself in the course of the story.
One of the most important aspects of the story is the message that it aims to deliver – it does in the most humanistic way. Whether it’s Shazia’s sweet relationship with Tameezuddin (played by the excellent and most talented Fawad Khan, from Churails) or Sohail’s mother’s endearing rants and speeches about life, love and all things beyond, Ek Jhoothi Love Story is delightful and fluffy, even if it is set in the throes of debt, bad infrastructure and the wide chasm of have and have nots in the teeming metropolis of Karachi.
The show enhances all the celebrated aspects of the Pakistani drama industry: on-point performances, excellent dialogue and a cutting analysis into the human psyche. Bilal Abbas Khan brings a lot of genuine lovability to Sohail with his boyish charm and his irrepressible good-guy vibe. Madiha Imam’s soft and gentle take on Salma’s character makes you want to root for her, even when she’s being completely irrational. Beo Rana Zafar and Mohammad Ahmed, the famed duo from Cake, add to the love and laughter in the series. Mariam Saleem Nawaz, Kiran Haq, Srha Asghar and Hina Khawaja Bayat don’t miss a beat and thankfully have enough material to work with; instead of being subplots, their stories have meaning, worth and messages worth loving and appreciating. Furqan Qureshi and Fawad Khan are definitely actors to watch out for as well.
Umera Ahmed’s work has progressed into so much more than what it began with. It also shows that when the canvas changes, she has different strokes she works with. In television dramas, there is a lot of emphasis on weeping heroines – but thanks to OTT where audiences need much more than miserable protagonists, Umera’s dialogues provide hilarity, compassion and authenticity in all the various flavours that the characters are written.
Ek Jhoothi Love Story is a web series you should watch to restore your faith in humanity. It will make your heart feel fuzzy and mushy at the end of it. It wouldn’t be a mistake to call it the official foray into the Nora Ephron brand of comedy (the last episode was particularly very You’ve Got Mail’s climax) from Pakistan. And if Umera Ahmed’s got more stories like that coming my way, I’m getting my box of ice cream ready for more!