KARACHI : The reason Na Maloom Afraad was a success was because of its novelty. At a time when not many films were being made came Nabeel Qureshi with a product that rang with the citizens’ immediate surroundings and reflected their own lives. Karachi is a mess and we all know it. Na Maloom Afraad made us realise it was a beautiful mess. All that novelty is lost in Na Maloom Afraad 2.
The film revolves around Farhan (Fahad Mustafa) and Shakeel (Javed Shaikh) who visit South Africa to attend their third musketeer Moon’s (Mohsin Abbas Haider) wedding with Pari (Hania Aamir) and there, they find themselves with the stolen golden pot of an Arab Sheikh in South Africa. The chaos that ensues is full of humor, confusion and somewhat cleverly-infused jokes, the kind all Pakistanis would relate with.
Yet, when I watched the trailer, all signs pointed toward the fact that the film would be full of tasteless toilet humour. That was not true. Qureshi’s grip on his craft saves Na Maloom Afraad 2 from being gross and unwatchable, at least for the most part. The golden pot not only serves as the McGuffin for the plot, but a metaphor for the class difference – in a country where the poor struggle to eat, the rich use toilets made of gold.
However, it is only more than an hour into the film that one realises that only toilet jokes cannot carry an entire film. Qureshi balances them out with Pakistani slang and references – from politicians to pop culture to daily happenings. As said many times already, he has a spectacular eye for using day-to-day happenings and pop culture references. That worked in the first Na Maloom and gave the film a few layers for the audience.
In Na Maloom Afraad 2, no matter how funny it is (or not, depending on your taste), that edge is lost. Lavish Cape Town locations and Haider’s fit beach body replace the soul of the film and you’re left with a comedy film that you will probably completely forget by the time Eid holidays are over.
Mind you, it’s not a bad film by any means. Co-writers Fizza Ali Meerza and Qureshi’s command on screenplay and film structure is unparalleled. They have perfected the heist movie formula in Pakistan and nothing can take that away. Except that they are so stuck in that comfort zone, watching Na Maloom Afraad 2, I felt I have seen this film a hundred times already.
In 2017, the formula seems outdated if there isn’t anything out-of-the-ordinary or innovative ideas to support it. It’s almost as if a bigger budget hampered the filmmaker’s creativity. Yet, what works in the film’s favour is catchy music, brilliant art direction and overall production values, decent performances and most of all, its short duration.
Though entertaining, the ‘na maloom afraad’ of Pakistani cinema lose their spark in this sequel.
Verdict: Go watch it for a couple of hours of average, soulless entertainment. Fahad Mustafa will not disappoint. Although, don’t expect it to be a memorable experience.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
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