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Ek Jhoothi Love Story - Pakistani director Mehreen Jabbar: Why sacrifice art due to political turmoil?


After Asim Abassi's much loved show Churails, Zindagi channel is set to follow it up with another Pakistani original, a rom-com titled Ek Jhoothi Love Story. Through its leads, played by Bilal Abbas Khan and Madiha Imam, the October 30 offering shines a spotlight on South Asia's favourite subject—weddings.

Mehreen Jabbar, who has taken the directorial reins, says she was itching to make a social comedy set against the landscape of arranged marriages. "This show is a commentary on the prevalent culture of finding 'rishtas' and the relevance of arranged marriages in times of social media. It tries to tackle the unrealistic expectations of a partner—some want the guy/girl to be a green card holder, others want a doctor or an engineer. Even young people start pandering to their ideas of Prince Charming, becoming people they are not," begins the director over a phone call from New York.

The Zee5 show comes close on the heels of Indian Matchmaking, which also focused on arranged marriages and received flak for glorifying regressive cultural practices. Having watched the Netflix series, Jabbar asserts, "Our idea was to explore the stereotypes perpetuated by rishta aunties, even our own parents. By the end of the show, I hope people walk away understanding the progressive stand we've taken. We have consciously decided not to fall into the trap of strengthening archaic ideologies."

A still from the film

The celebrated director is no stranger to Indian cinema, having collaborated with several Indian artistes, including Nandita Das in Ramchand Pakistani (2008). Despite the strained equation between India and Pakistan, Jabbar believes cultural exchange between the two countries must not be discouraged. "There is so much shared history between us, right from language and songs to beyond. Cultural exchange across borders should not be interrupted because cultural ambassadors are the most important means to forge peace and friendship. Music, art and cinema should not be subject to politics. The US and Iranian governments hate each other, but they watch each other's films. When trade and travel can go on between the countries, why should art be sacrificed due to political turmoil?"

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