In the Game of Thrones you either win or you die. This face off may not be half as dramatic but Punjab Nahi Jaungi (PNJ) and Na Maloom Afraad 2 (NMA2) go head to head in cinemas this Eid and the battle will be fierce.
This Eid ul Azha we have two big banner films going up and competition aside, it goes without saying that Pakistani cinemagoers are in for a treat. Things were just as competitive last year as Eid ul Azha saw the release of three Pakistani movies: Actor In Law, Janaa, and Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai. While that was said to be the craziest competition since the revival of Pakistani cinema, this year the excitement and anticipation is on a whole new level, with Humayun Saeed and Fahad Mustafa up against each other.
Here’s how the two compare…
PNJ is a romance and NMA2 is a comedy. While the similarity lies in both films having three characters in the spotlight, they’re very different when you compare. One is a love triangle while the other revolves around three men and the chaos that follows. Both genres work well with the masses, so it’s safe to say that cinemas will be packed.
That said, Na Maloom Afraad 2 – like the original – tends to be Karachi centric, even if it has been shot majorly in Cape Town. The jokes, the dialogues and the characters are typical Karachiites. Punjab Nahin Jaungi attempts to be a little more universally appealing. The story does swing between Punjab and Karachi and may appeal to a wider audience.
PNJ features Humayun Saeed, Mehwish Hayat and Urwa Hocane in lead roles with Ahmed Ali Butt in a much loved comic supporting role. NMA2 sees the trio of Fahad Mustafa, Jawed Sheikh and Mohsin Abbas Haider return and the two ladies – Urwa Hocane and Hania Amir – appear to have no more than an objectified role.
From the looks of the teasers, trailers and songs released so far, PNJ seems to give almost equal screen space to its female actors and gets our vote for cast. Will NMA2 offer Urwa Hocane and Hania Aamir more solid characters or will they just be used as props? These questions will only be answered once the movie releases but NMA2 does appear to be a male-dominated adventure.
Both the movies have released their music albums, and it looks like PNJ is in the lead. ‘Tere Naal’ and ‘Ae Dil’ from PNJ are classic romantic ballads while ‘24/7’ as a dance number does entertain. NMA2’s soundtrack is comparatively forgettable; you may not forget Sadaf Kanwal’s moves in the item number but the song itself is not memorable at all. ‘Chal Hug Ley’ is definitely catchier but then there’s the innuendo that’s a bit of a turn off.
Punjab Nahin Jaungi is focused on Karachi and the gorgeousness of Punjab whereas Na Maloom Afraad 2 has been shot in Karachi and Cape Town.
So, both films have a strong director each. We have Nadeem Beyg behind Punjab Nahin Jaungi and we haven’t forgotten that Nadeem Beyg gave us the mega hit Jawani Phir Nahin Aani, after which he cast Humayun Saeed and Mehwish Hayat in drama serial Dillagi; he returns with his hit formulas. Nabeel Qureshi has directed Na Maloom Afraad, Actor in Law – both mega hits – and so feels confident about the third film being just as lucky.
The ultimate tug of war
While both teams are supporting each other on surface level, we know that there is a quiet tug of war under way. Which movie will get more screens initially depends on which one holds more power and control. And looking at the current situation, it looks like all the leading multiplexes have given their biggest screens to NMA2. In fact, three of the biggest cinema chains in Pakistan are behind Excellency Films that has co-produced Na Maloon Afraad 2, and that is probably one of the reasons why the trailer runs almost twice during the screening of all local and foreign films.
Will PNJ be able to compete? Well, why not? If the content creates a demand, then cinemas will have to cater. And considering Humayun and Mehwish’s star power, demand is meant to be. The trailer broke all records on YouTube, and that we’re guessing speaks for itself. We predict that both films will do well, running neck and neck. Who does better, only time will tell because the public is as unpredictable as the Karachi weather.