Creating a film centered around poop takes a certain volume of bravado. For, if things don’t go as planned on the screen, the film critic can take a dump all over it.
This is not to suggest that Na Maloom Afraad2 is not a sh**fest. But I mean this in the most positive way possible.
Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza, the franchise’s director and producer respectively, and writers as well, take experimentation to a new level with NMA2. It’s a comedy film that has potty jokes, along with the occasional F-word and the chay word.
But the ‘vulgar’ bits are censored out – and beeped, not silenced, so that pretty much everyone knows what the characters are saying, which one would think defeats the whole purpose of censorship.
And just like the filmmakers don’t go the extra mile with the cuss words – to dodge the censor board more than anything – they don’t quite go the distance with potty jokes either.
I mean if you’re going to nosedive into poop, you might as well explore the most disgustingly hilarious bits. Because the audience that truly appreciates potty comedy will be with them for every flush.
Talking off from where NMA1 ended, Moon (Mohsin Abbas Haider) invites the now married Farhan (Fahad Mustafa) and Naina (Urwa Hocane) along with Shakeel Bhai (Javed Shaikh) to South Africa for his wedding with Parri (Hania Amir). Farhan and Shakeel Bhai’s achaar empire has crashed and they are ‘no longer rich’.
They are joined in Cape Town by Sheikh Sultan al-Baklawa (Nayyar Ejaz) and his zillion dollar commode, which also is stuffed with diamonds. It is this commode that is truly lead actor in the movie, with diamonds providing the supporting role.
The pot and the diamonds are wanted by pretty much everyone in South Africa. The favourites to get the commode though, as per the South African police, are Iqbal Thackeray – two criminals from Karachi and Mumbai respectively occupying either name.
What you’ll get is an unparalleled visual experience, which is especially rare for a movie that is billed as a comedy
This five-way tussle between Iqbal Thackeray, al-Baklawa, South African police, the leading male trio – who accidentally get a hold of the pot – and Parri – whose wedding dress switches places with the commode – for the ‘second most valuable thing ever stolen’ is the structure on which the story, and its chain of comic events, is based.
The writing fluctuates between sharp and corny, sometimes overlapping with one another, but there is never a dull moment in this fast-paced flush-a-minute ride!
It is less intelligent and more slapstick than NMA1, but its best bits are dominated by swearing, politically incorrect jibes and yes, potty-fest, on which most of the humour is based.
So if any of these is a turn off for you, don’t waste your Rs. 250-500.
For everyone else, if you still haven’t seen it in the two weeks since its release, I’d suggest you do so this weekend.
What you’ll get is an unparalleled visual experience, which is especially rare for a movie that is billed as a comedy. This is visible in the striking cinematography, boosted by the South African locations, and the gun sequences in the film.
What you’ll also get is commanding acting performances, especially from the leading trio, but also from the women who despite their limited roles manage to leave their mark and prove their ability. Marina Khan, however, has been criminally underused and the script doesn’t get anything out of an actor of such high stature.
Another let down is the music in the movie, which can come back to bite you in the backside if you’re making a commercial movie.
What could also be a turnoff for the finicky and those with grammar OCD are the typos in the subtitles and translations. From a translation to Allah take God* care of yourself, to mistyping an English sentence ‘I’m also starting’ as ‘I’m so sorry’, the mistakes keep cropping up.
However, what on earth would anyone be doing reading the subtitles of an Urdu movie anyway? Look away now.
What the film also doesn’t clarify is why al-Baklawa’s Arabic dialogues are translated into English by an interpreter, when he is seen speaking English in other scenes.
If you really want to be a pain, you could say that the climax sequence was too long – for that you’d need to have the superpower of dividing the film into superfluous categories such as start, middle, end. Even the folks at Shabistan Cinema, Lahore decided to take the interval a good few minutes after the film declared the interval on their behalf.
That’s just how NMA2 is. All filmmaking formalities are put aside – except by the DOP and the editor who do a thoroughly crisp job – leaving the audience a unique comic experience for Pakistani cinema.
Na Maloom Afraad has truly established itself as a franchise with part 2, and is carving out a loyal fan base as well. Expect the makers to plumb NMA3 out of the toilet pipeline soon.