“Dobara” has been winning over viewers with a progressive storyline focusing on a romance between an older woman and a younger man. Starring Hadiqa Kiani and Bilal Abbas Khan in lead roles, the story has been written by Sarwat Nazir and directed by Danish Nawaz. The supporting cast includes talented names like Sakina Samo, Javed Sheikh, Usama Khan, Minal Siddiqui and Nabeel Zuberi. Episode 14 takes off as Mahir and Mehru’s marriage is announced to the family.
If one stops to analyze logically, despite being a Mahir and Mehru fan and rooting for them, Mehru’s actions highlight one major thing – her immaturity. Mehru has never had to make decisions for herself. As a child, her decisions were made by her father. When she got married at the tender age of 16 and moved into Hidayatullah’s home, he took over that “job” of making all decisions for her in a controlling way. Mehru has never been able to make decisions for herself and this is made clear in the way she has handled her marriage to Mahir. While Affan has been a complete brat, not only opposing Mahir, but also Ibtisam as a potential partner for his mother, Minal (Maheen Siddiqui) has been her greatest supporter. From allowing her mother to live freely, laugh and behave however she wanted to her choice of dress to her desire to get remarried, Minal has supported her mother every single step of the way, even arguing with her husband and brother on her behalf. This is why the moment when Mehru and Mahir walk into the house, it’s Minal’s reaction that’s the most impactful. Sure, Phupo (Sakina Samo) and Zamin’s (Nabeel Zuberi) reactions are extreme, but Minal is experiencing total betrayal. This is a young woman who has always trusted her mother blindly and cannot believe Mehru took such a big step without even speaking to her first. And again, while we may be Mahir and Mehru supporters, one cannot argue that Minal has ever reason to feel this way. While Mehru absolutely has every right to marry who she wants, what was her rush? What was her reason for jumping into a marriage without even discussing it with any of her family members – and specifically discussing the man she wished to marry?
While Ibtisam (Javed Sheikh) has been an absolute gem of a character and we genuinely hope he continues to remain on screen throughout the show, Ibtisam did what was best for him. He isn’t Mehru’s father and as a potential partner, he made the correct decision to pay attention and recognize Mehru’s interest in someone else. His actions are right for him, but when Mehru and Mahir walk into the house, Ibtisam can only defend them so much. At a point, he tells Mehru that she made this decision, now she will have to face the anger from others – and he is right. Again, it’s Mehru’s immaturity that is evident in how she chose to move forward.
Still, it’s wonderful to see how Mahir is supporting Mehru every step of the way. He understands what a difficult position she is now in because of this marriage, not only with her children, but also society. We cannot help admire how intelligently this character has been written as he not only holds Mehru’s hand through it all, but also quips back to Phupo that she shouldn’t have a problem with his and Mehru’s marriage as she didn’t have a problem with her own brother marrying a 16 year old. This moment is applause-worthy – but also draws attention to the great double standard our society has for men and women. An older man can marry a younger woman without batting an eyelash, but an older woman marrying a younger man is cause for scandal….and scandal will arise now that Mehru’s “friend” will spread news of Mehru’s marriage within their social circles.
Hadiqa Kiani is just wonderful as Mehrunissa. This isn’t an easy role to play, as Mehrunissa has many different shades. She’s a strong, confident woman who has seen her share of life and is a mother…and yet, she’s a child inside, never having really been able to make her own decisions despite having a strong will and mind. She is regressing in a way back to her youth, but her actions should be absolutely acceptable, as she isn’t doing anything wrong morally or religiously. It’s hard to balance such a character in a believable way, but Hadiqa is doing it perfectly, which only makes us wonder why she took so long to step into acting with two brilliant performances under her belt. Bilal Abbas Khan is slowly getting his moments to shine. Up until now, his character has had a bit of a backseat, but with Mahir now stepping up to the plate and taking Mehru’s family head-on (and potentially having his own plans and deception up his sleeve), Bilal is winning hearts while playing the supportive, lovable, vulnerable (and slightly wayward) Mahir. Of course, Sakina Samo and Javed Sheikh continue to impress. But this week, Maheen Siddiqui also makes a great impression as Minal finds herself heartbroken at her mother’s dishonesty. There is little to criticize in “Dobara,” it’s such a well-made show. We will have to see how the story plays out from here, but there’s so much more left to explore that future episodes show little need to drag.