A story about self-discovery, ambition and struggle, “Neem” is the journey of two individuals and how their paths will ultimately reconnect. While currently in an emotion-heavy, “slow” phase, “Neem” is a winner with its strong performances and gripping storyline. Starring Mawra Hocane, Ameer Gilani, Syed Jibran, Arsalan Naseer, Manzar Sehbai, Rana Majid Khan and others in prominent roles, the story has been written by Kashif Anwar and directed by Shahzad Kashmiri.
Unfortunately, Ashhad’s (Ameer Gilani) story remains stagnant. He has been trapped in the court case with Camilla for over 3 episodes now with Faisal (Rana Majid Khan) and Zahid Bhai encouraging him to simply pay up. While Ashhad’s stance is understandable, what has he achieved in the US to warrant going back – that too, in a way that involves running away to avoid paying Camilla? Still, that appears to be where the story is headed. Fortunately, this is also where Zymal (Mawra Hocane) is headed – back to Kashmir for two months. This is great news for fans who have been waiting for Zymal and Ashhad scenes!
The circumstances of Zymal’s trip are grim. On the encouragement of her professor (Manzar Sehbai), Zymal is returning to Kashmir to rediscover herself. While Shazil (Arsalan Naseer) and Maryam (Maryam Nafees) are not intentionally hurting Zymal, she now feels removed from her home environment. She feels like an outcast and this is affecting her mental health and sanity. While we do not have any ill will towards Maryam, who honestly only married Shazil on Zymal’s encouragement, it’s time for Zymal to kick the selfish, self-absorbed, unempathetic Shazil to the curb. The moment when Zymal vocalizes her mourning and how she experienced loss as well, not just Shazil, shows exactly how selfish Shazil has been. Zymal has been carrying her own emotional burden when she’s the one who deserved support. Hopefully Zymal’s return to Kashmir will give her the clarity to halt her dead-end marriage – and ultimately find a better option in Ashhad? Mawra Hocane’s performance is excellent this week as Zymal fights with herself internally. Her scenes with the little boy are also incredibly sweet as he supports her through her worst moments. Zymal has found herself up against a wall, but we’re rooting for her to become her inspirational self once again – something which Shazil has stamped out of her at present.
Coming to a more light-hearted scene, the moments with Shazil’s Bhabi and brother are hilarious, particularly when they’re recording their drama review show. Building a social media presence isn’t easy, but watching this duo move towards their aspirations – which aren’t exactly grounded – makes for a humorous watch. These moments of humor are necessary in a show like “Neem,” which is mostly heavy.
Back in Kashmir, Karamat (Syed Jibran) continues to plan and plot against Amjad. However, Jameel (Hassan Shah) has a plan of his own to use Amjad against Karamat. Jameel is an interesting character, one who is technically negative, but is also working against Karamat, ready to fight against a bully. Unfortunately, he is utilizing dubious techniques to get what he wants, riling up Amjad against Karamat in the hopes of Amjad finishing him off for them. Hassan Shah is an excellent actor who has us completely invested in Jameel and his vendetta against his so-called master.
Overall, “Neem” continues to draw in audiences with its multi-character storyline. At present, “Neem” is at the cusp of change with the plot finally set to move in a different direction. With Zymal’s return to Kashmir and Ashhad’s potential escape back home where he will find his family in tatters, what will be the circumstances that bring the two together? This is what we’re looking forward to!