“Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.” The words of Ingmar Bergman are forever etched in stone for anyone who loves films and realizes the effect it has on one’s soul. Whether it’s a film we love, or love to hate, narratives do not leave our side. One such example whose experience we surely didn’t want to miss out on was the much-anticipated Mehreen Jabbar directorial, Dobara Phir Se, and one can surely thank heavens that we didn’t!
Starring Hareem Farooq, Sanam Saeed, Tooba Siddiqui, Ali Kazmi, and Adeel Hussain in lead roles; the film produced under the ARY Films banner packs a powerful punch in its storytelling, which of course, is Jabbar’s forte. Albeit, the film looks at the lives of the ensemble cast in a diasporic environment in the fast-paced life in New York City, the relevance to a normal Pakistani lifestyle is striking.
Narrating the story of Zainab (Hareem Farooq), a woman going through a troubled marriage with her husband (Shaaz Khan) –while treating his mother (Atiqa Odho) as her own, we find her life meandering through the months where a chance meet-up with Hammad (Adeel Hussain), sets up a story of romance, heartbreak, and tribulations. Their budding infatuation, which to us is introduced via their mutual friends and couple, Samar (Sanam Saeed) and Vasay (Ali Kazmi), the plot is slowly paced through the film, rendering a modest tale into a two-hour long piece of visual magnificence.
Questioning the audience on whether love could be given a second chance, or do relationship work in the 21st century in the way we want them to, Dobara Phir Se works because it doesn’t try hard to sell itself. Staying true to the aesthetic that we have seen Mehreen Jabbar playing with in her previous film and dramas like Ramchand Pakistani, Daam, and Jackson Heights, the film proves that the simplest of stories can create the loudest of noises.
Apart from the visually perfect scenes, soundtracks to kill for, and a feel-good presence in the film, which could make anyone fall in love with The Big Apple, DPS’ portrayal of the failures of the American dream hits the perfect nerve with scenes, which prove that the metropolis is a friend to none, and the means of survival are tough for all instead of a glamorous 'Amreeki’ touch we usually see.
Although the film isn’t without its flaws, such as the in-your-face marketing by Oye Hoye, Mc Donald’s and QMobile (which surely made us, want to go back and learn subtle marketing 101) and a plot that does not tie up some loose ends even till the climax, the overall acting prowess shown by the whole cast in the film was enough to veer us from noticing problems.
In short, at a time when films seem to be mixing myriad plotlines into one narrative to sell to the audience, Dobara Phir Se proves its mettle by just being original in all its ways and catering to the wishes of the public, not the filmmakers.