“Dobara” is one of those shows that leaves the audience wanting more each week, wishing the episode were a little longer. Starring Hadiqa Kiani, Bilal Abbas Khan, Sakina Samo, Nabeel Zuberi, Usama Khan and others, “Dobara” has been written by Sarwat Nazir and directed by Danish Nawaz. Telling the story of a widow and a neglected young man coming together to find friendship (and maybe more) in one another, “Dobara” has been winning rave reviews from all sides. What “Dobara” highlights this week are the expectations placed on women in Pakistani society. Women are not carefree and independent to make their own life decisions. Now that Mehrunissa (Hadiqa Kiani) is a widow, she feels free from her earlier shackles – but fails to recognize that the owner of those shackles has only been replaced, now by her children, namely her son, Affan (Usama Khan).
In episode 7, Mehru and Mahir (Bilal Abbas Khan) grow closer, their friendship strengthening as Mehru supports Mahir through his grief after Narmeen (Zoya Nasir) gets married. In return, Mahir helps Mehru gain further independence as he teaches her how to drive – though this sequence is a bit silly, as it takes the general person months of practice to learn how to drive and Mehru learns within two hours. Still, it’s great to see how supportive and mutually beneficial this friendship is.
Unfortunately, Mehru and Mahir are confronted by Affan when they arrive home and he verbally assaults Mahir, asking him to get out of Mehru’s life entirely. While Mehru does initially put up a fight, both Mehru and Mahir realize what’s at stake if their friendship continues – Mehru’s relationship with her son – and part ways on a well-wishing note. What’s great to see is that both Mehru and Mahir think so highly of each other and even after this altercation, Mahir peacefully steps away, asking Mehru to continue driving and exercising, maintaining her independence. This friendship is genuine, their relationship easy and their conversation always flowing and supportive. Every individual needs a friendship like this in their life – and neither Mahir nor Mehru have ever had it.
Of course, there are other occurrences in the drama, the first being Mehru’s son-in-law Zameen (Nabeel Zuberi) slowly revealing himself to be another toxic individual in Mehru’s life. Aside from questioning her relationship with Mahir, after gaining full control of the business, he is not only making questionable financial decisions, but is also using Mehru’s name to defend his actions. What is his game plan? Word is also getting to Mahir’s parents. Both Shabbir Jan and Angeline Malik are doing a great job and it’s not illogical from their perspective to worry about their young son spending time with an older woman during his time in need. This could look suspicious to anyone – and it does.
Of course, one cannot discuss “Dobara” without discussing the immensely talented Sakina Samo, who is winning audiences over as “Phupo,” the true thorn in Mehru’s side. Sakina Samo’s expression are hilarious, as are her reactions, and while a lesser actor would leave viewers frustrated with this character, Sakina Samo makes Phupo a joy to watch in her (realistic) villainy.
Hadiqa Kiani and Bilal Abbas Khan are always a joy to watch each week and “Dobara” truly rests on their shoulders. This week, it’s heartbreaking to see Mahir lose yet another relationship that has grown to be important to him. He’s a young man who has grown accustomed to being discarded and in this episode, he not only loses a friend in Mehru, but also a his love in Narmeen. Bilal Abbas Khan is just wonderful – it’s always difficult to praise actors each week when they hit the nail on the head each and every time. Hadiqa Kiani as Mehru is a natural and as the episode draws to a close, Mehru raises a very valid point – once a woman becomes a mother, does she really have control over her own life? While she may no longer be a wife, her status as a mother leaves her little room to live freely, as she has to present herself in a certain way for the futures of her children. It’s the relationship Mehru shares with Minal that truly wins hearts, Minal always thinking about what’s best for her mother as a human being rather than holding old-school thoughts, the sort of thoughts held by Affan. Still, it’s not enough to challenge Affan and Phupo. Will Mehru be forced to sacrifice her happiness once again and make the return to dutiful mother? This is what we will have to see, but “Dobara” continues on its climb upwards with a quality story, strong direction and even better performances.