“Neeli Zinda Hai” took off with much promise, the only horror genre Pakistani drama on air at present telling an interesting story. Starring Mohib Mirza, Sonia Mishal, Urwa Hocane, Mohammad Ahmed, Kinza Malik and others, the story has been written by Adeel Razaq and directed by Qasim Ali Mureed. While many episodes of “Neeli Zinda Hai” beginning to drag with saas-bahu wars taking over the scene and a devious Neeli, our residential ghost, causing mischief to make Sumbal seem crazy repeatedly, recent episodes have begun to move the story along. With Daniyal’s entry, a man assumed to be Neeli’s husband or attacker, the story took on new life. Now with Neeli completely shape-shifting and taking on different forms, she has been creating havoc of late.
In episode 27, Aman (Mohib Mirza) has finally seen Neeli (Urwa Hocane) with his own eyes, realizing the turmoil and torture Sumbal (Sonia Mishal) had been experiencing in their home all along. Supported by Fahim (Mohammad Ahmed), his father, Aman sets out to apologize to Sumbal and bring her back home. However, this is where the entire family lacks in logic. Neeli has become a shape-shifter, a spirit who takes on the form of whoever she so chooses and they themselves have seen her as Nagina and then, later, Aaliyah. So when Mohib arrives at the hospital to pick up Sumbal, why doesn’t he go inside and check her out? Since when do patients simply walk out the front door of the hospital and sit directly in the car without signing any release papers – especially those who are being treated at a mental health facility? This is a loophole and one that’s frustrating, because Aman does not, even once, pick up on how, to put it simply, weird Sumbal is behaving, constantly asking to go back to “her home.” Why wouldn’t Aman sense something is amiss at this point, especially with “Sumbal’s” fixation on her daughter “belonging” to her?
The highlight of the episode is the character of the Aalim. Unlike most dramas where a Pier Sahab is seen chanting mantras and such, in this drama viewers are introduced to a religious man who believes in jinns and explains their existence in relation to the Quran and Islam. He also begins his quest to free the family of their troubles by offering namaaz in the home. These are small things that lift the credibility of a show. In a show where a mother-in-law visits a thieving “holy man, it’s wonderful to see the balance in a character like this Aalim. Now let’s hope Neeli doesn’t finish him off like she does with anyone else who interferes in her plans.
While “Neeli Zinda Hai” has lost pace in past episodes, the last few weeks have seen great improvement and this week has really elevated the quality of the show. With the entire family now aware of Neeli’s presence in the house, the storyline has taken an interesting turn. Neeli isn’t a “victim” sort of a spirit. She has been wronged and her actions may be due to a desire for vengeance, but Neeli is a “bad cookie” – and that’s what makes her interesting. Viewers continue to wait for the reveal on Neeli’s backstory and for Osama Tahir’s character to make his reappearance.