“Neeli Zinda Hai” is a show that started off with much promise and intrigue. Starring Urwa Hocane, Mohib Mirza, Sonia Mishal, Kinza Malik, Mohammad Ahmed, Osama Tahir and others, the story has been written by Adeel Razzaq and directed by Qasim Ali Mureed. A show that revolved around a ghost and her attack on an innocent family managed to pull in Pakistani drama audiences who have been starved for different storylines. However, over time, this drama has managed to go down the stereotypical path – an oppressive, antagonistic mother-in-law who performs black magic on her daughter-in-law, a submissive, abused daughter-in-law and a once-kind husband now refusing to believe his wife over his mother and mistreating her in the process. Sound familiar? That’s because this is the turn the story has taken of late, retaining the “horror” element, but focusing more on the cliched aspects of the story.
In episode 17, we see that Aman (Mohib Mirza) has grown tired of Sumbal’s (Sonia Mishal) behavior, particularly because she (possessed by Neeli) has begun verbally abusing his mother. The fight between the two is a growing theme throughout the episode, but we are given relief in the form of Aaliyah’s love life. The most exciting part of this stagnant, repetitive episode happens at the very end – and forces the viewer to sit up and take notice, reviving lost appeal. After Aaliyah talks to the family about a boy she likes, his family is invited over so the families can meet and bond. However, as soon as the boy pulls up with his family, the audience is more than aware that trouble is about to ensue – as we recognize the potential groom’s father as the abusive face from Neeli’s (Urwa Hocane) past! This man refuses to enter the house, sending his wife and son in alone; however, Neeli has already caught on to his presence and begins her attack in the car itself.
The episode ends on a strong note, leaving the audience wanting to know more. The most interesting aspect of “Neeli Zinda Hai” has always been Neeli herself and despite the family drama, many viewers have held on in hopes that Neeli’s backstory will be revealed soon. With Neeli’s “villain” now in the picture and Osama Tahir’s character out there, the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place soon enough. Urwa Hocane’s performance continues to be great (and sinister). Honestly, the entire cast does a great job, particularly Mohib Mirza and Sonia Mishal – but watching the abuse on Aman’s end and the chaotic way in which Sumbal manages her life is not particularly enjoyable. One hopes that now with Neeli’s story on track, the pace will pick up.