Cultures can be better understood by a close-up look at their courting rituals. Through the eyes of a Western woman, who wed a Pakistani and has lived in the Punjab for decades, we gain extraordinary access to the private lives and thoughts of her young chef Nawaz and her maid, Mehnaz. The love affairs of the young men and women of Jaranwala – a village just a few hours out of Lahore – keep entire families entertained with gossip and sexual intrigue.
In what we think of as a conservative society, the young cast of characters could be from a Western romantic sitcom. Mehnaz’ boy friend has broken her heart and married the bride his parents chose for him. Nawaz, married to his childhood sweetheart, comforts her with chappattis and free advice. Soon she has eyes for a new young man from a lower caste. Her family throws her out of their home in disapproval. And so the plot thickens.
PUNJABI LOVE STORY – a superb observational documentary, is set against the current political unrest in Pakistan. It gives us a rare glimpse into the workings of another society, while reminding us that whatever our differences, in affairs of the heart we all speak the same language.