Hum TV has been luring viewers back in with their quality line-up lately. The latest shows to launch are “Dobara” and “Ishq E Laa,” both with exciting casts, a great director-writer combination, promising storylines and big production values. On Wednesday, the first episode of “Dobara” aired, winning praise from drama viewers. Starring Bilal Abbas Khan, Hadiqa Kiani, Javed Sheikh, Nauman Ejaz, Sakina Samo, Usama Khan, Nabeel Zuberi, Zoya Nasir, Sabeena Syed and others, the story has been written by Sarwat Nazir and directed by Danish Nawaz. The subject of an older woman and a younger man in a relationship has been attempted before, but not successfully, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
In episode 1, we are introduced to Mehrunissa (Hadiqa Kiani), a woman who has recently lost her husband, Hidayat (Nauman Ejaz). Mehrunissa is expected to be a picture of dignity, a weeping woman, mourning the death of her husband – instead, she is the subject of gossip for her uncovered head and desire to play with a young child while others are praying. Mehrunissa is seen grieving, but not for the reasons one would expect – rather, she appears to be grieving over the loss of her youth. Mehrunissa was married to Hidayat at a very young age, when she had only just finished her metric exams. The audience sees a flashback wedding scene and this scene gives viewers a window into Mehrunissa and Hidayat’s married life. The two engage in a discussion over Mehrunissa’s desire to be called Mehru, while Hidayat declares that her name is Mehrunissa. It’s a simple discussion, but within this one scene, it’s apparent that Mehrunissa has been controlled for the majority of her life – and now, with Hidayat’s death, she is finally “free.” However, this transition to a free woman will not be easy with an equally controlling sister-in-law, two grown children, a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law to be.
On the other side, we are introduced to Mahir (Bilal Abbas Khan), a young man who would be the very definition of “irresponsible.” The son of divorced parents, Mahir has been neglected throughout his childhood, incurring the harsh words of both his stepfather and stepmother. Despite the affection of his parents, both have been too careless regarding his upbringing, unable to take a stand for him, and so he has essentially raised himself. Despite an education, Mahir does not have a job and routinely steals money from his stepfather’s wallet. He is a character that is initially perceived as a light-hearted, comedic sort of character, but as the episode progresses, it’s clear that Mahir carries a lot of emotional baggage within him.
The first episode is immediately appealing, effortlessly weaving back and forth between Mehru and Mahir’s characters, one older and one younger, but both experiencing their own share of grief in life. Hadiqa Kiani is quickly making a name for herself as an actress and one has to wonder why she took so long to start her acting career, as she’s a natural. Bilal Abbas Khan is always an effective actor and it’s wonderful to see him playing a character like Mahir, one so different from his other roles. There are several brilliantly executed sequences, including the wedding night one between Nauman Ejaz and the actress playing a young Mehru, , the final scene between Hadiqa Kiani and Sakina Samo, the scene between Bilal Abbas Khan and Zoya Nasir at the restaurant, along with the one between Bilal Abbas Khan and his stepmother towards the end. Expectations from “Dobara” are high, but if all the episodes remain at this pace, this is set to be a clear winner.