“Neem” has only one episode left (episode 23), a fact which is leaving many viewers reeling with surprise at how the story has played out. While Syed Jibran has done an excellent job as Karamat, it’s unbelievable to see a villainous character receive more attention and character building than the show’s own lead characters – particularly when the show has been advertised on the pretext of being a love story while our lead characters only had their first conversation last week. While the episodes have been picking up greatly post Ashhad’s return with some solid writing and strong sequences, is it too late for “Neem,” as an overall show, to be praised? Starring Mawra Hocane, Ameer Gilani, Syed Jibran, Arsalan Naseer, Maryam Nafees, Rana Majid Khan, Manzhar Sehbai and others in prominent roles, “Neem” has been written by Kashif Anwar and directed by Shahzad Kashmiri.
In episode 22, Ashhad (Ameer Gilani) is perplexed over the thought of who could be an enemy of their family. How could Asad (Shamy! Khan) and Amjad be locked up on false charges? Asad, on his end, is heartbroken over not having been able to protect his younger brothers. Shamyl Khan is an excellen actor and these scenes come with a sense of forboding – but for Asad or Amjad? Zymal (Mawra Hocane) has returned to her work with a renewed rigor now that she is no longer worried about her marriage or Shazil’s (Arsalan Naseer) behavior. At the same time, the village folk have begun to buy into Karamat’s false image of reforming. He’s even making promises of giving the village folk their land back. Zymal does not believe in his change and, in her doubt, finds an unlikely companion in Ashhad, the two confiding in one another.
Ashhad has found a distraction from the predicament with his brothers by helping around the camp and making himself useful for those in need. He’s working for the greater good of his people and this is what puts him on equal footing with Zymal. Up until now, we’ve wondered what Ashhad could do or how he would be able to attract Zymal’s attention – but it’s his inherent kindness which ultimately catches Zymal’s attention. The two now share a dedication to the betterment of the residents of Kashmir, particularly those suffering under Karamat Khan.
Mawra Hocane and Ameer Gilani’s chemistry is incredibly sweet and we’ve been waiting for these Ashhad and Zymal scenes since the beginning. This duo is so very different from one another, but with the change of time, their goals now appear to align. The problem now is that, despite episode 22 being a great episode for Ashhad and Zymal fans, with great progress taking place in their storyline…there’s only one episode left. How can the story successfully wrap up in one episode? How can Karamat be caught, Zymal and Ashhad unite, Ashhad’s brothers be released and much more take place all in a 36 minute episode? The likelihood of a satisfactory finale is slim – which is a shame, because “Neem” has been such a promising storyline with excellent actors.