“Neeli Zinda Hai” is a real quality show on television right now, set apart by its horror theme. While the show is still in its initial stages, the first five episodes have avoided an abundance of jump scares and have focused, rather, on building the ambiance and backstory. Starring Mohib Mirza, Sonia Mishal, Urwa Hocane, Mohammad Ahmed, Kinza Malik and others, “Neeli Zinda Hai” manages to get under the skin of the viewer, slowly increasing the fear factor in each episode.
This episode isn’t particularly eventful in terms of the plot being pushed forward – however, a few things of consequence do happen. First and foremost, Fahim (Mohammad Ahmed) uncovers what Bano (Kinza Malik) is up to. Aman (Mohib Mirza) calls Fahim and kindly inquires as to whether there’s a financial situation at home as 50,000 rs are missing from the account in which he’s saving money for his sister, Aaliya’s wedding. It’s honestly great to see a smart, intelligent character like Fahim, a man who not only knows his wife, but also understands how far she’s capable of going. Often, we see ditzy, unassuming men when their wives are raging lunatics – and let’s be real, you can’t live with an individual your entire life and not know their horrible habits. Fahim not only questions Bano about her behavior and realizes she’s used the money, but also follows her and pinpoints exact what she’s up to. He doesn’t hesitate to approach Sumbal (Sonia Mishal) and give her a heads up, telling her to be alert as her mother-in-law is trying to break her home with black magic.
Aman continues to be a good, caring husband, but as the supernatural noise becomes increasingly visible to Sumbal, Aman begins to question her mental state. Neeli (Urwa Hocane) is no longer discreetly loitering around the premises. Rather, she is making her presence felt not only by Minaal, but also does her best to terrify Sumbal at every turn and even makes her presence known to Nageena (Jinaan Hussain). What’s interesting here is that Nageena is revealed to be quite the troublemaker herself. She’s willing to do what it takes to “trap” Neeli and that includes throwing Sumbal under the bus. Her discussion with Aman is actually vindictive, painting Sumbal out to be mentally unstable, saying she’s hearing voices in her head – all which may be true, but as far as we know, Nageena isn’t aware of it. Aman is troubled by Sumbal’s mental state and does his best to care for her – but for how long, especially considering Bano’s target for the “taveez” appears to be Aman.
What’s interesting is that Neeli’s “purpose” isn’t clear. She isn’t a protective angel and she isn’t beneath using force, violence and striking fear in those around her. Dilawar states that Neeli is responsible for his crippled state, further cementing that thought that Neeli is a violent entity. But what is her backstory? We know that Neeli is protective of Minaal and cares for her. But when Neeli is around, Minaal also seems to stop caring for her own mother. This is odd for a child who has had only her mother to rely on for the six years of her life.
One thing that has to be said is that Urwa Hocane’s portrayal of Neeli is incredible considering there isn’t any makeup involved and the team has kept her look fairly natural (barring the use of contacts). Neeli’s smile is sinister enough to strike fear in the viewer, her stoic expressions seemingly normal yet terrifying. This is a difficult role to play without overdoing it and Urwa is really doing a great job. Overall, now with Sumbal’s mental state unraveling and her angry side coming out (propelled by Neeli?), Neeli is gaining power and isn’t shy about showing herself. In the next episode, we can see that Neeli will reveal herself to Nageena. Aman will also fall prey to his mother’s manipulations as she puts something in his tea. Will Bano be responsible for Aman’s changed attitude towards Sumbal? One thing is for sure – between Bano and Neeli, Sumbal has one intense fight for her marriage ahead of her.