As someone who has grown up on romcoms, I’ve often yearned for a story that I can relate to. Hollywood and Bollywood romcoms are dreamy but often unrelatable and something that you cannot envision happening in Pakistan, given the cultural differences. But with Eik Jhoothi Love Story (EJLS), I feel there is finally a romantic, feel-good and quirky show that I can connect with.
Written by Umera Ahmed and directed by Mehreen Jabbar, EJLS tells the story of Salma (Madiha Imam) and Sohail (Bilal Abbas Khan), who live in the same mohalla in Karachi. Salma is the youngest in four siblings with a very overbearing mother Nusrat Jahan (Beo Zafar) who is only in the pursuit of finding behtar say behtar rishtas for her children. In this quest, she has spent years parading her daughters – Shabana (Kiran Haq) and Shazia (Mariam Saleem) – in front of rishta aunties and prospective in-laws but not finding the ‘ideal’ match.
On the other hand, Sohail (Bilal Abbas Khan) is the only son of his parents. His father passed away when he was very young, leaving him with the responsibility of an entire household. Sohail wanted to study further but because of family obligations, he was unable to so now he runs a computer repair shop. His mother (Hina Khawaja Bayat) dotes on him, while he shares a very loving relationship with his younger sister Sobia (Srha Asghar).
To escape their middle-class existence, Salma and Sohail make fake profiles on Facebook. While Salma impersonates her best friend’s cousin Natalia (Kinza Razzak), Sohail makes a profile using his childhood friend Nofil’s (Ahmad Zeb) name. Nofil and Natalia belong to rich, upper-class households and Nofil is settled in America. Salma and Sohail using their fake profile become friends online and begin interacting with each other. Over the course of their messages, they fall in love. However as fate would have it, real-life Natalia and Nofil also get married. Salma and Sohail are heartbroken with this and agree to their parent’s suggestion of getting married to each other. To find out what happens next, you need to watch the series but be prepared to feel a myriad of emotions from fuzziness and warmth to sadness.
Umera has done a phenomenal job with the script and Mehreen brought it to life perfectly. While the series in its essence in a love story, it touches upon many themes, highlighting society’s obsession with finding the ‘ideal’ life partner, who by the way is not someone you connect with, but someone who checks all the right boxes. The series also playfully criticises the different customs we’ve made – like the younger sister cannot marry till the older siblings are married or the brother cannot marry till he has fulfilled his responsibility of marrying his sisters or the simple fact that shaadi is not the end goal. Life is more than that. EJLS is a beautiful reflection of society which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. I have to add here that there were certain angles about online romance which I did find unconvincing but I let it go considering how very binge-able the series is. You end up watching several episodes in one go because the pace is so good. The initial episodes are fairly short between 25 and 35 minutes, while the later ones are slightly longer – but even then you don’t want them to end. They are so gripping. Really hoping that Mehreen and Umera are considering a season two for the series.
Onto the performances – for me the star of the show was Madiha. She was brilliant as the simple Salma, the Choti of the house who everyone treats as a doormat. Her expressions, body language and dialogue delivery were on-point. Bilal, on the other hand, is a seasoned actor and has given a plethora of mind-blowing performances – with EJLS he just proved how versatile he is.
The rest of the cast was also brilliant. Mehreen, while speaking to The Current, had shared that she had hand-picked the cast according to the characters and her choices couldn’t have been more on-point. My favourite character has to be Shazia – Salma’s fiesty and outgoing elder sister. Shazia had some of the best dialogues in the show and Mariam played her to perfection – absolutely loved her performance.
One of the highlights of the show is definitely the OST Meherma. It complements the mood and feel of the show so well and adds to the overall experience. I haven’t come across many Pakistanis shows with such a fitting OST.
The beauty of Eik Jhoothi Love Story lies in its simplicity – from the wardrobe to the sets, everything was so well-suited to the plot and theme of the show.
Apart from being highly-relatable, EJLS is a fun, easy watch and something you can watch with the entire fam. Who knows they might stop pestering you to get married after watching this.
EJLS has 18 episodes and is currently streaming on Zee5.
Watch the video review on the series below: