“Neem” is one of the shows currently on air that has the audience excited. Bringing Mawra Hocane and Ameer Gilani back on screen together, the show also stars audience favorite Arsalan Naseer, along with the talented Syed Jibran, Mazhar Sehbai and Shamil Khan. The story has been written by Kashif Anwar and directed by Shahzad Kashmiri.
In episode 3, Zymal (Mawra Hocane) visits the nearby schools and begins her work to “fix” the local education system. Meanwhile, Ashhad (Ameer Gilani) continues to pursue Zymal, hoping she will someday be his, not realizing she is engaged to Shazil (Arsalan Nasir). This romantic triangle has not come to a head yet, but there is sure to be heartbreak in upcoming episodes, particularly with Karamat’s interest in Zymal as well. Most of episode 3 focuses on Karamat’s intentions. Karamat (Syed Jibran) confronts his father, furious that Baba Jaan is considering giving away his land to the generational inhabitants of the village. While Baba Jaan does his best to explain his reasoning and teach Karamat humility, Karamat is unwilling to listen. Their argument comes to a head and after some thought, Karamat confronts his father again, not with the desire to talk, but with a different agenda – murder. After his father’s death, the entire village is in mourning.
Karamat is representative of an evil in society, an individual who had no desire to work hard and pursue further education to secure his future. And yet, he believes himself superior to others simply because his father owned much of the land in their village, land which he now intends to distribute amongst those who it rightfully belongs to. Karamat is a greedy character, consumed not only by ego, but also the desire to rule – and even force his “subjects” to fight Gladiator-style. Of course, this character only highlights exactly why his father places so much importance on education – to eradicate this sort of mindset.
Last year, Syed Jibran delivered stellar performances in “Aitebaar,” “Pehchaan,” Meray Humnasheen,” “Mohabbat Dagh Ki Soorat” and “Daraar,” forcing the audience to notice the extent of his talent. “Neem” is yet another smart choice in his career, highlighting just how strong of an actor he is. Jibran Syed Jibran is the star of this episode with his excellent performance as Karamat. Karamat is evil, but is overtaken by grief, guilt and shock after coming to terms with his actions – albeit only for a brief time. Consumed with the desire for power, Karamat is shocked to find that his father’s desire to sign over his land has already been put in motion.
Mawra Hocane’s performance as Zymal is natural as she grapples with death and the deeper meaning of it. How did her Baba Jaan pass? Did he suffer? These are questions those left behind are left to struggle with. Ameer Gilani has the sweetest role of the lot, a young man besotted by Zymal who does not think beyond that love. Ameer has only starred in a couple of shows before this, including “Sabaat,” focusing on his education before returning to acting. Returning to the fold with “Neem,” Ashhad is currently still a silent lover dreaming of a future that’s beyond his reach. There’s more to come for this character, but Ameer Gilani does a wonderful job allowing the audience to connect with him.
Unfortunately, as talented as Arsalan Naseer is as a comedian and social media personality, he has not been getting the sort of roles he is deserving of. “Neem” is no less. As of right now, Arsalan has the least impressive roles of the entire cast, though there’s most likely more to come for him as well. Shazil is anxious to marry Zymal sooner than later and it seems his dreams will come true. But will Karamat cause problems for the couple?
“Neem” is a beautiful show so far, not only highlighting human emotion, greed and the desire for power, but also the importance of education, the need for a child to be praised and taught self-confidence and the need for good teachers. There’s a lot to unpack within this storyline and while it’s a slow climb, we’re sure to enjoy this journey.