In episodes 10 and 11, we see Sumbal (Sonia Mishal) losing her grip in front of Aman (Mohib Mirza) as Neeli (Urwa Hocane) plays games with her, appearing and disappearing at will, scaring her, but remaining invisible to Aman. Neeli’s tricks have begun to hit their target, this being Neeli’s plan all along as she wants Minaal all to herself – turning the husband and wife against each other so Minaal is left helpless and at her “mercy” for her to step in and take over. Her scenes with Nagina (Jinaan Hussain) are chilling as Nagina loses consciousness and finds herself on a bed, discovered by Dilawar. The two immediately take Sumbal into their confidence and tell her they are there to help her. But what is Dilawar’s true identity? Does he have a hand in what happened to Neeli? Is he the true enemy? We also see Sumbal and her mother-in-law (Kinza Malik) face off in an interesting way, Sumbal making it clear that she is aware of the black magic. One has to pause and wonder if this is, in fact, Sumbal or is this Neeli speaking?
The situation from Aman’s point of view is understandable and it’s understandable as to why he’s growing increasingly frustrated with Sumbal. Aman has been trying to keep his family and his wife happy, essentially an ideal husband. He has been trying to ensure Sumbal is of good mental health post the death of their child. He bought her a house, but she remains sad. Sumbal won’t visit his mother (because she is aware of the black magic), but she won’t tell him why, making him think Sumbal is being unreasonable. He is exhausted with Sumbal talking about ghosts in the house, but refusing to see a psychiatrist. He arrives home, stressed about his finances and being threatened by land mobs, only to find Sumbal telling him the house had caught on fire while he was gone. And finally, he finds Minal missing with Sumbal unaware of where she has disappeared to, finding her sleeping with the maid. While one may look at Aman on the outside and say “Oh he’s not being a good husband,” it’s very easy to understand this character when taking all of this into account. His wife, from his perspective, is a danger not only to his child, but also to herself.
It’s Mohib Mirza’s performance that stands out this week as he witnesses his wife’s “unraveling.” Urwa Hocane, Sonia Mishal and Jinaan Hussain are also doing a great job. Ultimately, while “Neeli Zinda Hai” is still moving at a decent pace and things actually are happening in the episodes, the story surrounding Neeli needs to come to light soon in order for the story to maintain interest. At this point, the story focuses more on saas-bahu fights and black magic (things we’ve already seen before) more than the actual “ghost story,” which is Neeli herself. What does Neeli want? Yes, we know she wants Minaal, but why? How did a young innocent girl turn into such a devilish ghost? We need some backstory at this point and need to learn more about the brief glimpse we were given previously with the two men in her life.