As someone who is an avid consumer of digital content, I was intrigued when I heard about Teeli’s upcoming webseries Summer Love on the radio during the drive home from work. But it wasn’t until three weeks later that I actually watched it. And as a mildy opinionated person who also dabbles in written and visual content, I thought I’d share my views on the webseries.
With every content platform in Pakistan wanting to take a deep dive into the web series domain, I wasn’t surprised to learn that the mega-production studio Teeli, which is a Dawn Media Group company, had released Summer Love. With Teeli’s following skyrocketing over a short period of time, and a hefty portoflio of branded collaborations, it was only time before Teeli delved into the web-series domain.
Summer Love, which is sponsored by Cornetto, is directed by Mohammad Murtaza Alizai and written by Basit Naqvi. Murtaza Alizai was also the director behind Teeli’s Gheebat Conference, Izzat ka Janaza, Flight of Takalluf and the associate director behind Millennial Rishta Aunties. Basit Naqvi has also worked with Teeli on multiple projects as a writer including New Traffic Rules In Pakistan, Valentines Day Rap Battle and Buhapay Wali Jawani.
The name of the series, Summer Love gives away most of the storyline. And while the plot of the series is quite cliche and predictable, its still refreshing to watch a series with characters that the Pakistani urban youth can actually relate to. Another breath of fresh air was the acting, which was on spot but not over-done, which is a common problem with most Pakistani sitcoms. Another plus was the fact that the charachters were played by actors who seem to be age appropriate. Thats an odd thing to consider a plus point but when the same actor can play a grandfather in one series and a school student in another in Pakistani sitcoms, it becomes a point worth noticing.
Hadi bin Arshad, a relatively new face, plays the creative yet distracted Sami. The actor is also an aspiring entrepreneur and cofounder of Social Junction, a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Agency & Media house. The female lead, the professional and empathetic Nida is portrayed by Vardah Aziz. Vardah is an actress, model and the current brand ambassador of Pond’s Pakistan.
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Off the bat, Summer Love immediately reminded me of series by the Indian production house Filtercopy with its youth centric theme. But there are more than a few differences between the two, the look and feel of Summer Love is very minimalistic as compared to series that Filtercopy usually does. And as usual Teeli’s sets are on point with their attention to detail. But unfortunately, in Summer Love, that’s what they ended up looking like, very well crafted sets. Despite being esthetically pleasing, I wasn’t able to connect to the charachters’ surroundings, and at times I felt as though the actors couldn’t either.
While I could’t connect with Nida and Sami’s surroundings, the dialogues carried the story, made it more relatable and enjoyable watch.
Other than feeling that connectivity, what I missed was the satirical take on social norms that Teeli has become so well known for. While this series is another genre altogether, I was hoping for it to be a bit more than a sweet story of young love in summer.
I also felt that the characters lack complexity, millennials are not simple beings, and in Summer Love the main leads come off as too clean and unblemished to accurately represent the Pakistani youth. However, keep in mind that we are only into the third episode of the series as of yet, so there might be much more that the characters have to offer.
Summer Love’s bite sized episodes are lighthearted, have an effortless vibe and I can’t deny that I’m just a little bit curious about how the story will end. I’m also expecting a lot in terms of how the female lead’s story will unfold as Teeli’s usual content has always empowered the female narrative.
Moreover, it’s important to watch the series to learn how the content realm of Pakistan is changing, the time of overly dramatic sitcoms with misogynistic undertones is soon coming to an end. And it will effectively be replaced by digital content made by production houses like Teeli and others.
About the author:
Samah Akhtar is a dentist on hiatus who is mildly opinionated, intolerant to gluten and BS. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and @samah_akhtar.