A story like “Dobara” comes around rarely, one that shows how individuality is curbed by society’s expectations of a woman. Starring Hadiqa Kiani as Mehru, “Dobara” follows her life after her husband Hidayat’s (Nauman Ejaz) death. Robbed of her childhood through an early marriage, Mehru is now learning how to live on her own terms after Hidayat’s death. But will societal norms and restrictions allow her to spread her wings and fly or will she be forced to remain a caged bird as she has always been? Likewise, Mahir, played by Bilal Abbas Khan, has been cast out like a reject after the divorce of his parents, never truly belonging anywhere. An outsider in his own life, Mahir has struggled to find his place in society. Will his newfound friendship with Mehru lead him there? Written by Sarwat Nazir and directed by Danish Nawaz, “Dobara” attempts to highlight the complexities of societal bounds and the way in which they curb individual growth.
Episode 5 shows the aftermath of Mahir’s broken relationship, not only with Narmeen (Zoya Nasir), but also with his own parents. His mother (Angeline Malik) refusing to speak to him again, his father (Shabbir Jan) remains the helpless man he has always been, rejecting Mahir due to fear of his wife. Mahir is stuck in no man’s land and accurately describes it to Mehru – despite having two mothers and two fathers, he can’t claim to have even one home. Mehru is sympathetic and it’s from this moment that we realize the strength of the bond Mehru and Mahir have. They may be perfect strangers to one another, but they have formed a confidant in one another, a safe space to confide things they can’t tell anyone else. Mehru not only helps Mahir, but tells him to reach out to him whenever necessary. Of course, we realize Mahir will ultimately ask Mehru for a job, but the only thing we can hope is that Mahir remains as genuine as we want him to be and does not go on to see Mehru as a golden ticket to success. The last thing Mehru needs is to be used by yet another greedy individual in her life. Despite her heavy relationship with Hidayat and his oppressive way of expressing love, he did keep her protected from the world. With everything Mehru is experiencing with her sister-in-law and Affan’s to-be in-laws, the last thing she needs is a leeching husband. It would be wonderful to see Mehru and Mahir’s relationship bloom into one of genuine trust and respect – and later even love?
As always, this is a Hadiqa Kiani and Bilal Abbas Khan show and it’s these two actors who hold it up and carry it from start to finish in each episode. As an audience, we genuinely care about them and want their relationship to succeed, both finding happiness in each other due to their brilliant performances. Of course, the obstacles are building with Mehru’s sister-in-law already tainting the friendship with her judgmental view. Furthermore, Ramiz (Nabeel Zuberi), despite being Mehru’s trusted family member of choice as her son in law, has also begun to question his place in Mehru’s business along with her intentions after seeing her with Mahir. Will Ramiz be yet another backstabber in Mehru’s life, looking to restrict her actions, or will he be the supporter we want him to be? Honestly, it’s Ramiz and Minal (Maheen Siddiqui) who could be the support system Mehru needs – but will they be? That is the question.