KARACHI : In the process of the slow rebirth of Pakistani cinema, 2014 was a year when the audience and the industry didn’t expect the arrival of new stars that would take the cinemas by storm. Nabeel Qureshi’s Na Maloom Afraad became a sleeper hit and solidified Fahad Mustafa as a film star in his cinematic debut. Three years later and the team is set to follow up on the success with a sequel, Na Maloom Afraad 2.
After last year’s smash hit Actor in Law, Qureshi is once again playing his ace and bringing the familiar characters back on screen. From the trailer, launched on June 21, Na Maloom Afraad 2 is bigger and better than the first. With 80% of the film shot in Cape Town, the caper film revolves around Mohsin Abbas Haider, Javed Sheikh and Mustafa’s characters involved in a heist of a Sultan’s gold toilet.
“The industry has grown in the last three years and we also have experience of making two films now. Now that we have given the audience two hits, people are expecting more from us. Therefore, the sequel has to be bigger than that,” Qureshi told The Express Tribune. “What the entire story revolves around is also quite funny and interesting. It has a bigger budget and has a better quality overall.”
Producer Fizza Ali Meerza revealed they keep trying to bring in better equipment to improve the cinematic experience for the audience as well. “The idea is to make a product which always brings an incremental value for the audience, such as the cast, locations, production value and the technicalities which facilitate that.”
She also praised Mustafa for being a thorough professional. “Managing all that he does at this pace is a lot of work. He’s running a production house, doing his regular TV show, and working in films and yet maintaining a work ethic with every team. It’s just amazing. He’s a brilliant actor, and always does his homework.”
The director talked about how there was no film made about strikes and protests in the city before Na Maloom Afraad and the film medium being more socially aware. Qureshi said he doesn’t consciously try to make socially aware films but it just happens automatically. “Whatever experiences we go through here automatically reflect in our films.”
Concurring with him, Meerza added, “Being Pakistanis, we all have a little heartburn inside. We try to cover it but it continues to burn. Sometimes you say it, talk to yourself and others but to extinguish it, you have to raise awareness. And through films, you have to sugarcoat and wrap your message in an entertaining way because the audience wants to be entertained, not lectured.”
Qureshi, being a huge Quentin Tarantino fan, shared how the Pulp Fiction director has influenced his work too. “He has this bizarre ability to inject humour in very serious situations without compromising the intensity of the scene. And he also uses a lot of pop culture references. I believe I do that as well. You will see a ton of Pakistani pop culture references in our films, including Na Maloom Afraad 2.”
Talking about surprises in NMA 2, the director mentioned veteran TV actor Marina Khan, who will be making her film debut, and a theatre actor from National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa), Nazarul Hasan. He shared Sadaf Kanwal will be featured in a dance number in the film too.
As to why the audience should go to watch NMA 2, Meerza said, “It’s because those who have watched the first part will get value addition, seeing the same actors doing so much more and grow in chemistry. And the ones who haven’t watched Na Maloom Afraad will not feel that they haven’t. Despite its connection to the previous one, NMA 2 acts as a standalone film too.”
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