Na Maaloom Afraad 2; How a film about a gold pot became golden

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Screen-grab from the Na Maloom Afraad 2 trailer

Given Pakistan’s generally conservative outlook, it’s hard to believe an adult comedy with literally potty humour would find acceptance. Yet Na Maaloom Afraad 2 has found it. And not just found it, as I realized sitting in a packed cinema more than 5 weeks after its initial release. It has found it, sat down on it, got comfortable and let a few loose. Pardon the expression but I’m talking about a movie that thrives on potty humour. You knew I was going to make at least one potty joke.

The Joke’s on us

Anyways, Na Maloom Afraad 2 has not only made it past censor boards (though Punjab did try to ban it, for like two seconds) but has made a place in the hearts of Pakistani audiences. There I was, sat in a packed cinema during the intermission wondering how this movie was doing so well, so long after its initial release. I came to conclusion that it must be for one of two reasons. Either, as a nation, we have an extremely depraved sense of humour. Or it is actually a good movie.

Watching the movie all the way through, I believe it’s a bit of both. I’m 100% sure that the two people sitting beside me were wondering what I was on (two hotdogs and a Mountain Dew Slushy in case you were wondering) because I was laughing like a maniac all the way through. Thankfully I wasn’t alone. Admittedly, the rest of the cinema hall was laughing perfectly appropriately. But we were laughing; at potty jokes, porn references and extremely low brow but well timed one liners. There was a particularly funny scene involving diamonds and kidney stones. Let’s just say, I didn’t think kidney stones could make me laugh as much as I did. Something is to be noted though, is that Na Maloom Afraad 2 doesn’t rely on sexual humor as much as Bollywood does.

 

So it’s funny, but what makes it a good film?

Blended seamlessly with the multitude of crap jokes (pun intended), there are several jokes taking aim at different aspects of our society. Whether it was politics, politicians, extortion, terrorism or controversial personalities, the movie takes digs at all of them.

Jokes are however just jokes without a coherent story to keep them afloat. Generally, Pakistani movies tend to play a game of ‘Where’s the Wookiee’ with the concept of cohesion in storytelling, opting to lazily slap together subplots. This film, like its predecessor, is a rare exception. The comedy of errors flows beautifully, coming together in a brilliant climax. While it’s not as apparent in this one as it was in the first movie, the underlying theme is that of the average man desperately trying to improve his circumstances and live out his dreams. This coupled with the jokes both crappy and otherwise (yeah I’m going to keep making this pun every chance I get) provides potent social commentary imbued with sparkling, light-hearted comedy.

That is what I believe has resonated with most people. I walked in expecting a mindless comedy with one too many crap jokes. I walked out thoroughly entertained because I didn’t just get a comedy with one too many crappy jokes. I got a story with progression, social commentary and a few dil pe lagne wali batain. When you’re able to relate to the characters, the effect of their actions multiples and that’s where this film about a gold pot became golden.

 

To Be Continued…?

Note: I have intentionally not discussed certain aspects of the film, such as the acting, editing, music and direction. This is because this article was meant to focus mostly on the plot. That doesn’t mean that the other aspects were in any way lacking. The acting all round was top notch, as was the direction and editing. The music ranged from meh to WTH, the pinnacle of which was the song ‘Hug Le’. ‘How WTH was it?’ you ask. That’s a story for another time.

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