Looks like the UAE isn't the only region where Na Maloom Afraad 2 has ruffled feathers.
The Punjab Film Censor Board has issued a notification that calls for the suspension of NMA2's screening in Punjab, citing "persistent complaints from different quarters" as its rationale for the move. The censor board has not elaborated on the exact parts of the film that were the cause of complaint.
The comedy film, starring Javed Sheikh, Fahad Mustafa and Mohsin Abbas Haider in key roles, revolves around the misadventures of the above trio as they embark on a get-rich-quick scheme in Cape Town... involving an Arab sheikh and his gold toilet.
"This is a really strange move by the Punjab Censor Board. We had already received clearance by the censor board and the film released in September with no issues," Nabeel Qureshi, director of the film, told Images. "Were they just not watching the film at that time?"
"To clear a film for screening and then ban it a month later sets a really bad precedent. It's just ridiculous," Qureshi said.
"Only 2-3 films get made in Pakistan every year that actually benefit the film industry. If you start banning those films where will that leave us?" the director added. "The censor board doesn't seem to have any issue with Indian films, which is even more strange to me."
"Also, the censor board issued the notification on a weekend so I couldn't even go to court to challenge [the ban] immediately," Qureshi said, adding he will take the matter to court, nonetheless.
The film was barred from screening in the UAE due to alleged misrepresentation of Arabs, but producer Fizza Ali Meerza has maintained that the ban "will not affect [their] ways of saying things".
In an earlier interview with Images, she said, "[In NMA2], we took a dig at the audacious sheikhs of the world who are frivolous spenders, who don’t give a da*n about the problems of the common man. We believe in commenting on social issues in our films, such was the character of the Sheikh."
Will the ban in Punjab change the NMA filmmakers' thinking? We hope not!