Dobara Phir Se (Review): A refreshing love story breaking the stereotypes

Movie Name: Dobara Phir Se

Release Date: Nov 25, 2016

Director: Mehreen Jabbar

Review by: Zeeshan Mahmood

Mehreen Jabbar returns to the cinema after taking the sabbatical of eight years with romantic drama ‘Dobara Phir Se’ and shows why her long-awaited comeback was worth the wait.

The prolific director, who has done tremendous work on TV all these years, co-laid the foundation of new-age cinema with ‘Ramchand Pakistani’ at the time when the revival of cinema still seemed a far-fetched idea. While the nascent wave of new-age cinema took half of another decade to create the ripple effect, Jabbar waited for three more years to return to the silver screen with a film expected from the director of Doraha, Daam and Vasal.

At the time when many of the ill-conceived projects are hitting the cinemas, Mehreen Jabbar’s comeback is timely and need of the time as she brings her experience of TV, which is one among the best, to the big screen and also lends the refreshing and different perspective to the industry dominated by the male filmmakers.

‘Dobara Phir Se’ is a love story, or more aptly a boy-meets-girl flick, but quintessentially it is much more than that. It has set the bar much higher for making refined films in Pakistan, while not taking the audience’s common sense or intelligence for granted and putting equal amount of effort in every department of the film from writing to casting, direction and editing. It is not only technically one of the soundest films but in terms of the art of storytelling and breaking stereotypes it aces many of the recent releases.

A film is as good on celluloid as it’s on paper

Writing a well structured script is the first step towards making a good film. A film which does not look good on paper can never be transformed into something spectacular or memorable on the celluloid. Mehreen Jabbar kept her tradition of bringing well-written stories to life alive in ‘Dobara Phir Se’. The script of the film, written by Bilal Sami, is not an extraordinary one but it is well-written and meticulously developed.

The film’s story revolves around Zainab (Hareem Farooq), mother of a 6 year old boy, who is facing multi-faceted challenges in life after divorcing her husband Asim (Shaz Khan). She finds herself at the crossroads of choosing between her happiness and what is right for her family when she felt herself falling for Hammad (Adeel Hussain), a friend she made at a party on the home of their mutual friends Samar (Sanam Saeed) and Vasay (Ali Kazmi) and from there they kept on entangling themselves in a complicated relationship.

The magic of the film is in its trick of telling this fairly predictable story subtly and unconventionally and keeping the small amount of speculation towards the end. The film keeps an amazing pace in the first half but the second half gets slower and less eventful and leads to the climax which could have been better or bigger, thus leaving us with the feeling of ‘something is missing’ when the film ends.

We see characters not just actors on the screen

We have seen Hareem, Adeel, Tooba, Sanam, Ali, and Shaz – six people sharing the screen in the film – before, but we met with Zainab, Hammad, Natasha, Samar, Vasay and Asim – six friends whose lives and fates are interconnected – in ‘Dobara Phir Se’. These characters make the skeleton of the story and impart soul to the film. It is, again thanks to the well-written script, a rare phenomenon in our films when we get to see well-developed and perceptible characters and just not moving, talking and dancing performers on the screen.

‘Dobara Phir Se’ is also a bouquet full of good and memorable performances given by every actor fitting his or her character like a glove. Hareem Farooq, as the leading lady of the film, has done a tremendous job. She gives the strongest performance in the film and steals the show. Sanam Saaed, as quirky Samar, brings all the fun to the film. Her every scene is fun-filled and her on-screen chemistry with Ali Kazmi is amazing. Adeel Hussain stayed true to his roots and performed very well. All the other actors including Shaz Khan, Tooba Siddiqui and Atiqa Odho had good appearance in the film and they helped in propelling the story smoothly.

A much-needed break from the stereotypes

‘Dobara Phir Se’ introduces us with Zainab who defies the stereotypical view of being a divorced woman. There is no connotation attached to it, as divorce does not hinder her to start a new life and fall in love again. She does not resort to sobbing and sabotaging her life after the divorce but works on rebuilding it and achieving her goals, never getting distracted from her responsibilities as a mother.

Natasha (Tooba Siddiqui) despite knowing that she was ditched by Hammad for another woman decides to give him and life another chance and does not feel insecure of the other woman when she returns to their lives. She is not an over-possessive and sentimental vamp but a forgiving and focused woman.

We are not accustomed of watching such emotionally stable and sensible characters, and may find it difficult to relate with them, but that’s an achievement of the film as it gives us relief from the stereotypical and cliched characters and enlightens us with the subversive view of love and relationships.

A satisfying cinematic experience

Direction, cinematography, editing and everything else built on the foundation of a good script keeps on making the film better and better. The direction by Mehreen Jabbar is flawless. The cinematography is exquisite. Every scene is beautifully shot. The editing is simply perfect. The music of the film is good. The soundtrack is intense and engrossing.

In short, the film gives a satisfying cinematic experience too.

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dobara-phir-se-review'Dobara Phir Se' is generally a boy-meets-girl flick but quintessentially it is much more than that. The film is not only technically sound but in terms of the art of storytelling and breaking stereotypes it aces many of the recent releases. The film is not everyone's cup of tea and lacks massive appeal but it provides a much-needed relief from the cliched storytelling.


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