“Dobara” has been a unique concept from its conception, a story of an older widow falling for a younger man. And while many were apprehensive of whether the topic would be handled with the sensitivity and respect it deserves, audiences have been praising the performances, story and direction up until this point. Starring Hadiqa Kiani, Bilal Abbas Khan, Sakina Samo, Javed Sheikh, Usama Khan, Shabbir Jan, Angeline Malik and others, the story has been written by Sarwat Nazir and directed by Danish Nawaz. Last we saw, Mehru and Mahir had parted ways until Mahir had a car accident, prompting Mehru’s return into his life.
In episode 11, Mahir (Bilal Abbas Khan) has hit an all-time low when, on his birthday, he realizes he is all alone. Without parents to even check in on him, viewers understand the extent of the situation when Mahir’s mother (Angeline Malik) is seen fawning over her (other) son over the phone, worrying about his living conditions – while her first born is in the hospital with no one to care for him. Mahir is a lovable character, but his (emotional) circumstances are starting to push him towards a questionable place – which forces audiences to worry for Mehru and want to protect her from him. In a slightly ridiculous situation that wouldn’t ever happen in real life, a situation written to rub salt on Mahir’s wounds, Narmeen (Zoya Nasir) walks into Mahir’s room with flowers, prompting Mahir to smile with happiness. That is, until he realizes she’s there to visit someone else and only entered his room by accident (see what I mean by ridiculous?). The two begin to bicker with Narmeen putting Mahir in his place, telling him he was the worst choice for her. Again, while this is certainly a silly scene, illogically unrealistic, it does the job to paint an image of just how lonely Mahir is. This is heightened by Bilal Abbas Khan’s performance, which is sincere. As an actor, he projects exactly what Mahir is feeling inside on his face. When Mehru (Hadiqa Kiani) enters the room, Mahir begins to show off, hoping Narmeen realizes there are others who care about him. However, he takes it just a step too far when, finally giving in to his friend’s unpalatable suggestions, he proposes to Mehru. Understandably, Mehru is angry, telling Mahir off for mistaking her friendship and kindness for something more. Mehru is a smart woman and when she accuses him of trying to take advantage of a rich widow, it makes one want to give her a round of applause, particularly because Hadiqa Kiani’s performance here is so convincing.
Enraged, Mehru returns home. It’s coincidentally also Mehru’s birthday and Ibtisam (Javed Sheikh) takes Mehru out for dinner in order to impress her. While Ibtisam is a silly man and he’s clearly not the right match for Mehru, he is a genuinely lovable character. While Phupo (Sakina Samo) is egging him on to propose to Mehru for her own gain, Ibtisam has a conscience and appears to be a very nice person. He respects Mehru and her decisions – even if marrying him isn’t one of them. Javed Sheikh is one of our finest actors and he proves it here as well in this role. It will be wonderful to see Ibtisam supporting Mehru in future episodes as she grapples with her future life decisions.
It’s always difficult to pin-point who is the star performer in each episode of “Dobara.’ Whether it’s Bilal Abbas Khan as Mahir, who is sensitive, broken and craving for attention or Hadiqa Kiani as the sweet, kind and intelligent Mehru who simply wants to make her own decisions, everyone is giving their best. Sakina Samo makes the audience laugh as the manipulative Phupo, while Javed Sheikh is humorous and lovable as Ibtisam. The show has now reached a point where it could go in a different direction entirely from where it has been at this point – but we can hope not. It’s absolutely understandable why Mahir would now want to “target” Mehru for his personal gain, but considering the beautiful relationship Mehru and Mahir have had up until now, it will be really tragic to see this happen. Can Mehru and Mahir maintain their friendship? Will Mahir end up taking advantage of Mehru or will they potentially enter a marriage of mutual convenience?