Madiha Imam & Bilal Abbas Khan talk ott, online relationship & outdated social norms



Photography: Shahbaz Shazi

With the rise of web series around the world, Pakistan has stepped into the race with ‘Ek Jhooti Love Story’ as the second Pakistani web series after ‘Churails’. The trailer which hints at a ‘catfish’ relationship is so much more than an online relationship, claims the stars of ‘Ek Jhooti Love Story’ in our exclusive interview.

We caught up with the main lead of the web series, Bilal Abbas Khan and Madiha Imam who talked about over-the-top media service, online relationship and an outdated social norm: ‘rishta culture’.

1. Judging by the trailer ‘Ek Jhooti Love Story’ seems like a lighthearted, fun and a family-oriented drama. How is it any different from the TV serials available on local TV?

Madiha: The web series is different because of the subject and how it has been executed. We don’t see such content on TV. It is a very light hearted, simple and a widely relevant story.

Bilal: Pakistani dramas have lately made us cry more and laugh much less. Ek Jhooti Love Story doesn’t have long-winded scenes with morbid scenarios but in fact it is a beautiful story of two young individuals with a few subliminal messages. This series is a social commentary on the prevalent shaadi culture, social media personas, love, and our perception of what we consider an ideal life partner should be like!

2. Do you feel that a digital platform gave you more creative liberty to express the story more openly as compared to TV?

Madiha: Yes, it actually did! The director was allowed total autonomy over the story and how she wanted to tell it, which in turn gave us actors the room to perform in an unconventional and more gratifying way at the same time staying true to the story.

Bilal: From an actors’ point of view I believe the craft remains the same, whether it is TV or a web-series. 

3. The theme of the web series is centered around an ‘online relationship’. To what extent do you feel that the local audience would be able to relate to such a ‘progressive’ topic?

Madiha: It has and will prove to be relatable to people in countless ways. Its not just about an online relationship, it is also about love, family, rishta culture and the pressures one deals with while living in a society like ours.

Bilal: ‘Ek Jhooti Love Story’ addresses and tackles various issues such as marital pressure on women and conventional social norms in a very subtle yet meaningful way. This depiction of virtual romance and high expectations of individuals from their partners-to-be is very relatable. I think people will not just relate to this but they will also question the ‘rishta’ culture and the pressure on women to get married. It is a lot more than just a story about online relationships.

4. How did it feel to be a part of the project which addressed topics like ‘rishta culture’ and pressure on women to marry by a certain age?

Madiha: It felt wonderful and so fulfilling! To be able to tell the non-stereotypical side of that narrative. It is about time we talk about subjects like these and address them in the right manner.

Bilal: These topics are part and parcel of a woman’s life in our society – this lighthearted take on this whole scenario and taking on this role was a fun way to rebel against the particular norm.

5. After the success of ‘Churails’ and ‘Ek Jhooti Love Story’ do you think we’ll be seeing more Pakistani content online?

Madiha: I am certain we will…and I believe it is only going to work in our favour, as an industry, in every possible way.

Bilal: I think Pakistan has so much talent and so many stories to tell, it’s important that we stretch our boundaries now. I can sure hope that we see more of Pakistani content online because it has so much potential.