Walking out of the cinema after watching the premiere of Na Maloom Afraad, I had a feeling of immense pride on how far Pakistani film industry has come from our â€˜gujjarâ€™ and â€˜gandasaâ€™ movies of the 90â€™s! This movie is path-breaking cinema for the Pakistani film industry; it is an intelligently made film which guarantees entertainment to its audience, and which is sure to strike a chord or two with every Pakistani.
Na Maloom Afraad is a Pakistani social comedy, thriller film directed by Nabeel Qureshi and produced by Fizza Ali Meerza. The film stars Pakistani television veterans Javed Sheikh, Fahad Mustafa and Mohsin Abbas Haider in the lead roles. Farhan (Mustafa) a struggling insurance agent who can do no right, Moon (Haider), hails from Punjab, has been waylaid from his dreams of moving to Dubai and is stuck in Karachi, and Shakeel (Shaikh) is a financially constraint, honest man, who is under societal pressure to get his younger sister (Urwa Hocane) married. Dissatisfied with the direction of their lives, the three men make a plan to become rich, but a gangster, Gogi (Salman Shahid), makes things difficult for them. (Let the mayhem commence!)
Entertainment aside, the aspect that made the movie fun were the characters themselves. Na Maloom Afraad has an array of very realistic characters, and the ensemble cast has all shone through in their respective roles. Of course the characters are only as good as the acting, and the casting director should get some serious recognition for this start studded team. Javed Shaikh is a industry veteran, and is a very convincing as a scared, stuttering old man. Though some of Fahad and Mohsin scenes together are sure to remind the audience of Akshay Kumar & Sunil Shetty inHera Pheri, Mohsin Abbas Haider is the surprise package in the film, while Fahad Mustafa not only looks good but delivers a strong performance. And while Salman Shahid is a brilliant actor, his role in this film was too similar to the one he recently played in Dedh Ishqiya. He needs to avoid been type-casted in his future movies.
And I have to mention all three ladies, Urwa Hocane, Kubra Khan and Mehwish Hayat, who also suited their roles and delivered great performances. Mehwish Hayat sizzled on-screen as â€˜Billiâ€™ (watch out of this one guys!).
The real star of the movie, however, is the city of Karachi. Itâ€™s back streets, dark alleys, street food, roaring buses, media, the political madness and the plight of Na Maloom Afraad (unknown troublemakers) who are behind all that goes wrong in the city, are all captured to perfection. From the opening titles to the end credits, Na Maloom Afraaad is all things Karachi â€“ things we love and things we love to hate â€“ but Karachi nonetheless.
The music throughout is catchy, fun and melodious, and has been integrated well into the screenplay. The cinematography, styling and dialogues were all wonderful, and extremely relatable to the Karachi-wallas (but I do have my doubts if people from the rest of Pakistan will â€˜getâ€™ all those jokes!).
The core problem of the film lies in the movieâ€™s editing – it is just too long! The pacing is too slow and takes forever in getting to the core plot. At least a half hour of this movie should have been edited out, which included many scenes from the Naina-Farhan romance angle, Billiâ€™s role (except the item song!) and a few other monotonous and unnecessary scenes.
On the whole, Na Maloom Afraad is an out and out entertainer, which due to the catchy promos, strong word of mouth and excited audiences, all which will surely have the producers laughing all the way to the bank. Just what the Pakistani film industry needs!
Written by: Samra Muslim
Samra is a marketing and communications professional by day and digital diva by night. She tweets as @samramuslim & www.samramuslim.com is her blog.