Ek Jhoothi Love Story ZEE5 Review: Catfish Confusion Causes Unexpected Romance

ZEE5 Global, the largest OTT platform for South Asian content launches the trailer of Zindagi’s next original ‘Ek Jhoothi Love Story’, a light-hearted fun rom-com and a refreshing tale about the complexities of love and life.

Written by Umera Ahmed and directed by Mehreen Jabbar, the series boasts a stellar cast with Bilal Abbas Khan and Madiha Imam in the lead, along with popular artistes like:

Kiran Haq, Hina Bayaat, Mariam Saleem, Beo Raana Zafar, Mohammed Ahmed and Fawad Khan.

Ek Jhoothi Love Story’ is a simple story of Salma (Madiha) and Sohail (Bilal) who just like other characters in the show are on their journey of finding ideal partners.

The series questions stereotypical roles of women in Pakistani society, the pursuit of a utopian life as well as the impact of social media on modern romances.

In fact, it pays attention to the dual personalities adapted by the youth of today – one for social media and the other being their online personas, which becomes a form of escapism.

Interesting how Pakistani cinema and ZEE5’s collaboration Churails was about women fighting above the monotony to get their voices heard and live to their desires.

At the same time, the series also looks at masculinity in an empathetic manner. We are so accustomed to seeing toxic men romanticised by the comedic and Rosey treatment.

Here, the lead character is like an ordinary Prince Charming, which of course, takes the protagonist to realise… A la Surinder Sahni from Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.

Through the guise of a love story, this series also subtly addresses this theme through the sister characters of Shazia, Salma and Shabana, who collectively try to rise above society’s undue pressures of marriage and matchmaking at the expenses of their own dreams.

In many ways, this seems like a story seems like a love letter to Jane Austen’s literature and Hrishikesh Mukherjee style of cinema.

It’s quite interesting that in a technological era, where wedding invitations are distributed via WhatsApp, the orthodox mindset is still prevalent.

The dichotomy of this, in the backdrop of the Pakistani working class, presents a thought-provoking insight into modern-day life.

Going by the fact that the first shot is of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, we immediately get an inkling of what the protagonist’s dreams are.

However, when those dreams are soon by what happens, this is a poignant but stark reality which is still very much current.

Furthermore, the concept of catfishing (an online imposter), is something which is quite rampant nowadays – given the prominence of social media.

Hindi cinema has explored this concept before in films like Mujhse Dosti Karoge as well as people falling in love through exchanges of letters in Sirf Tum.

It seems to be presented as endearing but is of course wrong. But Ek Jhoothi Love Story does not show the dire consequences of cat-fishing, which should’ve as it can be a relatively serious offence.

I guess, the intention of including catfish makes one realise how many alter personas are created to escape one’s mundane reality and to fill excitement in their lives.

This theme also shows the fragility of cyber relationships and how easily one gets attached to unknown people.

At the same time, it also places the importance of acceptance and self-love – looks are secondary.

As for the performances, Bilal and Madiha are delightful together. At times, Madiha’s uncanny resemblance with Pranutan Bahl adds to the innocence and admirability to the character.

During their online communications, their thought-tracks and expressions convey love-struck sentiments.

It’s also lovely to see Beo Raana Zafar and Syed Mohammad Ahmed reunite for this since Cake.

Yet again we get to see a quirky and endearing relationship in which the male counterpart plays the ‘rational’ one, whereas the wife is the stereotypical worrisome mother. Nonetheless, her character Nusrat is hilarious.

The only weak point about the series is the length. 18 episodes for a simple story and concept is way too long and this could’ve easily been a 2-hour film.

Moreover, the narrative story is somewhat predictable and cliched in places, which makes the series a bit too ‘filmy’. 

An alternative ending could’ve enhanced the realism and perhaps offered a fresh conclusion which many other rom-coms have not been able to do.

Whilst Ek Jhoothi Love Story is not a masterpiece nor is it flawless, but it is a heartwarming tale which has an onus on self-love and positively accepting one’s reality.

If you’re exhausted by the gangster flicks and dark shows on the OTT platforms, then this might be a blissful watch for you.

⭐⭐⭐ (3/5 stars)

About Anuj Radia 1022 Articles
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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