Comedy was on my mind, challenge was to find right script: Pak director Mehreen Jabbar

Justin Rao
·3-min read

Mumbai, Nov 1 (PTI) Pakistani director Mehreen Jabbar says after decades of tackling societal issues through TV dramas like 'Daam' and 'Doraha', she wanted to break free and attempt a long-form comedy with her latest web series 'Ek Jhooti Love Story'.

Starring Bilal Abbas Khan and Madiha Imam, the ZEE5 romantic-comedy is penned by Umera Ahmed, best known for the hit show 'Zindagi Gulzar Hai'.

Jabbar, also known for the 2008 feature 'Ramchand Pakistani', said the fact that neither she had helmed a comedy nor Ahmed had written one previously made it exciting for her to take up the project.

'Comedy was on my mind but the challenge was to find the right script. I had never attempted long form comedy, especially of this kind. I have done a lot of social issues based dramas all my life, so there was this conscious decision to challenge myself,' Jabbar told PTI in an interview from New York.

'I was immediately drawn to the series because of the subject matter and the tone of the writing. The opportunity to direct a social comedy was exciting,' she added.

The show is part of the re-launched Zindagi channel under Zee Entertainment. It is the second Zindagi Original after the acclaimed web series 'Churails', directed by Asim Abbasi.

'Ek Jhooti Love Story' revolves around relationships in the modern world and the clash with the traditions and expectations of parents to find the right match for their children.

The 48-year-old director said it's important for a comedy to have a strong script as 'there's nothing worse than a bad comedy'.

'I felt the script had it all. The challenge was also to find the right cast, who can get the nuances, the beats and not overdo it. It's not a satire or laugh-a-minute comedy.

'It's situational so you have to understand where to give pauses, emphasis certain things. I just got lucky that I assembled a truly good cast.' Jabbar started her career in 1994 with a TV short film, 'Nivala', an adaptation of Urdu writer Ismat Chughtai's short story of the same name.

Over the decades, she made several powerful dramas, including 'Putli Ghar' and 'Rehaai', putting spotlight on the struggles and conflicts of Pakistani women.

Though her latest, 'Ek Jhooti Love Story', is a comedy on its surface, the director said the message is still strong.

'In our parts of the world, feminism has got a bad name, which it should not. Asim Abbasi's 'Churails' did a fantastic job of tackling it head on. 'Ek Jhooti Love Story' does it in its own different way.

'The notion and the pressures of getting married, the kind of people you can marry are subverted on the show. It doesn't lose out on what it wants to say just because it's comedy,' she added.

With the series, Jabbar felt liberated from the pressures of TV ratings but did not let the temptation of catering to a wider audience dictate her storytelling.

'The intent of any filmmaker is to resonate with audience and tell the story as honestly and with integrity as possible. The minute you start thinking you want your project to be tailored in a certain fashion to appeal people, you lose that essence. So there was no pressure or desire to cater to an audience,' she added. PTI JUR RDS SHD SHD