“Dobara” has been a fan favorite since the start of its run, a complicated love story between a widow and a emotionally injured young man, two individuals who found a “home” in each other against all odds. Starring Bilal Abbas Khan and Hadiqa Kiani in lead roles, the story has been written by Sarwat Nazir and directed by Danish Nawaz. With the story winding up, we’ve seen Mahir and Mehru’s marriage tested in recent weeks in ways that haven’t necessarily been enjoyable.
In the finale, we see Mahir (Bilal Abbas Khan) continue to deceive Mehru (Hadiqa Kiani), planning to marry Narmeen (Zoya Nasir). Meanwhile, Mehru willingly allows Mahir to continue on this path, believing this is what will bring him happiness. Ultimately, Mahir does realize that Narmeen is only after him for his money and makes the right decision to build a happy home with Mehru.
In theory, one can see the thought processes going through these characters heads and what this story should have been like on paper. Mahir married Mehru for money while also being kind and loyal in his friendship for her – but he never really “loved” her. It was important for Narmeen to be dangled in front of him, suddenly available once again, testing his loyalty to his wife and ensuring that when/if Mahir decided to be with Mehru, it would be a well thought-out decision that would be permanent and unfloundering. Meanwhile, Mehru always felt unloved in her marriage, married off to an older man who wanted her to live life the way he wanted her to, but always reserving his love for his first wife. Mehru recognized that she, ultimately, was doing the same thing to Mahir and did not want Mahir, as a young man, to sacrifice his life for her the way she sacrificed her life for Hiddayat. She did not want another marriage where she felt unloved and unwanted – and so, out of the goodness of her heart, allowed Mahir to make his own decisions and leave her for his “true love,” if that was what he truly wanted.
What happened is exactly what should have happened. We can understand what the show set out to do – however, the execution is where the show faltered. In the last three episodes, “Dobara” did a great job of undoing all the “good” we’ve seen in Mahir by having him making catty remarks about Mehru to Narmeen behind her back (commenting on her wrinkles and flawed skin). While he was having an affair with Narmeen, his sudden disregard for Mehru’s feelings, his allowing hurtful words about Mehru to be spoken at his sister’s dholki, ignoring the fact that all the riches he had that attracted Narmeen were his due to his marriage with Mehru…..these things made Mahir suddenly unpalatable. These were small moments that could have been written differently, allowing Mahir’s defense of Mehru to show his kindness, which would have made Mahir and Mehru’s reunion all the more special. Likewise, while Mehru did confide in Nayara about her feelings, she didn’t entirely vocalize her rationale between her sacrificial nature. Love not being in her “kismet” did not really paint the entire picture.
Ultimately, the final scenes between Mehru and Mahir were wonderful. Their reunion in the park felt special, as it was their initial meeting spot and took viewers back to their original connection. And, of course, the final scene was incredibly sweet, showing Mahir and Mehru’s happy married life even as they grew older. Bilal Abbas Khan and Hadiqa Kiani have been the heart and soul of this show, infusing life into their characters and really making the audience root for them and their happiness (together). Bilal Abbas Khan has always been a fabulous actor, one of the best of the current crop of actors, and he has done a fabulous job as Mahir, allowing the audience to connect to his complex character and root for him, despite all his flaws. Likewise, Hadiqa Kiani has been such a revelation in both “Dobara” and “Raqeeb Se.” She has demonstrated that she has what it takes to be a lead actress and give younger actresses heavy competition in terms of commanding screen space.
Overall, “Dobara” has been a stellar ride throughout its episodic journey. Has it been perfect? Not exactly, specifically due to the two episodes preceding the finale and the execution of the final three episodes, which did not allow for the amount of sympathy towards Mahir that we would have wanted to feel. Mahir needed a redemption arc, which would have been more palatable had his actions been written a bit differently. Still, “Dobara” did manage to impart a great message, one that showed that a woman can find love again later in life and unusual couples can find happiness despite society’s expectations. Sarwat Nazir’s writing, though faulty in small sections, has been engrossing and Danish Nawaz has proved himself to be a strong director once again. “Dobara” is certainly one of the best dramas this year. This show will be missed!