The third installment of Dukh Sukh was titled “15 saal baad”. Dr Salaar (Saleem Sheikh) returns to Pakistan after a span of 15 years in the US. While having lunch at his friend’s home, he is reminded of his past. His friend’s wife wonders why he never got married despite being an eligible bachelor with a successful career. Salaar is reminded of his past back to the time when he was completing his house job. While attending to the paediatric ward, a young woman (Fatima Effendi) rushes him to see a young boy, Moon, who is suffering from a high fever. Being in the profession, Salaar sees patients day in an out and knows that each patient deserves to be treated as a priority. The young woman gets restless and accuses him of being unsympathetic and he explains that she needs to be patient as the medicine will take time to take effect.
Salaar’s friend teases him saying he’s fallen head over heels in love with a married woman and Salaar is upset to think of how cruel her parents may be who pushed her into marrying at a young age. While discharging the young boy, Salaar finds out that the young woman is not the mother but rather Mimi Khala and this brings an instant glimmer of hope.
Mimi aka Mahrukh happens to have developed feelings for Salaar too in the short while that they crossed paths at the hospital. Mahrukh’s sister passed away and her father lives in Saudi. She’s currently living with her brother-in-law Parvez Bhai who travels frequently for work so she looks after the young boy, Moon. Salaar and Mahrukh decide that they want to get married so Salaar tells Mahrukh that he will return home and bring his parents back to seek her hand in marriage. Mahrukh’s father returns temporarily and Parvez suggests that he agrees to marry if Mahrukh to him to ensure that Moon is not neglected. Parvez explains that he will eventually have to marry and who better than Mahrukh to fill the gap of a mother. On hearing this, Mahrukh urges Salaar to hurry back. At Salaar’s home, his parents have gone ahead and fixed his marriage to his sister’s nand without even seeking his consent. Salaar feels trapped and tells Mahrukh that the only way out is for both of them to elope.
Salaar feels helpless as his mother convinces him that he’ll never be able to lead a peaceful life with a woman he eloped with and also create issues for his sister. Salaar decides to leave for the US on the night he’s supposed to meet Mahrukh and stays single out of guilt. When his friend hands him the letter than was given by Mahrukh, Salaar realizes that Mahrukh too, never showed up as she had a conversational with her father who overheard her making plans to elope and he cautions her that she will never have any respect in society if she treads this path and she also feels torn between her love for her nephew Moon who has growing to becomes dependent on her. Mahrukh’s parting letter was one where she explains her situation and further explains to Salaar to live a life and marry a woman of his family’s choosing…
The closing scene shows a man who reflects at the last 15 years of his life living in guilt whereby he could’ve actually lived! I found the narrative quite simple yet interesting. It was a pleasant surprise to see Saleem Sheikh on screen and I can’t recall the last time I saw Fatima Effendi either. The downside has to be the casting choices for the supporting characters. Maybe it’s due to budget constraints, but I find the drama is not casting actors that can act in supporting roles! I’m certain there are some very competent actors who can be selected and this happens to be a huge drawback. The production values are not up to the standards we have become accustomed to so that is definitely an area that should be improved.