Full of crunch
Afdlin Shauki returns to form with Papadom2, a sequel that’s even better than the original.
IT’S hard being a fan of Afdlin Shauki (in his film director capacity) in the last few years. Afdlin, the comedian and actor, is still at the top of his game but after a series of creatively disappointing films like Misteri Jalan Lama, Berani Punya Budak and Pontianak vs Orang Minyak, even a diehard fan like yours truly has started to get a bit jaded whenever a new Afdlin film rolls into town.
Not being that huge a fan of his hit film Papadom in 2009 – which not only scored RM3.4mil at the local box-office but also won big at the 22nd Festival Filem Malaysia – I didn’t have high hopes at all when news trickled in that a sequel was coming.
I’m glad I’ve been proven wrong.
In Papadam 2, the Afdlin Shauki that we all fell in love with, especially with his early efforts like Buli and Baik Punya Cilok, has more or less returned.
That unique (and fluid) combination of absurdist comedy and warmth, which made those films special is undoubtedly back this time around.
To anyone not familiar with the world of the Papadom films, they tell the story of single dad Saadom (Afdlin), who blames himself for the death of his wife Munirah (Noorkhiriah) and raises his daughter Mia Sara (Liyana Jasmay) with so much love that it borders on obsession.
Papadom saw Mia moving from Penang to Kuala Lumpur to attend college, which resulted in chronic separation issues for Saadom.
Papadom 2 sees Saadom dealing with things much better, with the able support of his close friend and business partner Alan (Pete Teo, ramping up the comedy with his priceless facial expressions).
But those chronic separation issues return with a vengeance when Saadom accidentally finds out that Mia is getting married to her mystery boyfriend.
Director Afdlin cleverly conceals the identity of this boyfriend, even going so far as to hilariously put a chipmunk voice effect whenever Mia has a phone conversation with him.
More comic turns abound when Saadom decides to make a surprise visit to Kuala Lumpur to find out who the mystery boyfriend is – under the pretense of surprising Mia for her birthday.
Mia, who was a mass communications student in Papadom, is now a first assistant director on a film set.
The film mines even more comic gold in the form of artsy fartsy film director Jay Rahman, played with enviable comic aplomb by Khir Rahman.
Elsewhere, walking peacock/ leading character Fazz Fiuriuz (geddit?) - played by Riezman Khuzaimi – is a blast to watch.
On screen, Riezman is in his element. He is visibly enjoying playing the role of a selfabsorbed film star.
Adding to the trio of possible candidates for that mystery boyfriend is cameraman Qib, also very ably played by Hans Isaac.
The ping-pong effect of mysterious boyfriends running about – with their slapstick antics and spot-on punchlines – gives this film that added bite.
Such delicious comic riches are also wonderfully balanced by the lovely and touching subplot involving Saadom’s feelings for Professor Balqis (Vanidah Imran), who used to teach Mia in university.
Adding a bit of melodrama to this subplot is the fact that Saadom seems to be suffering from a terminal illness.
The poignancy that comes from whether he’ll get to see Mia married and whether he’ll ever be brave enough to open his heart to Professor Balqis will leave many in the cinema with a lump in their throat. Unlike the first film, Papadom 2 manages the balance between absurd hilarity and gooey sentimentality and this is what makes this film such a delight. One particularly huge difference is the ease in which viewers will accept the “ghost” of Saadom’s dead wife Munirah, which “appears” in his imagination whenever he needs a talking to or simply can’t seem to see what the right choice is.
It’s the kind of surreal device that just felt too jarring in the first film, but somehow it works here because the right kind of tone is struck.
And, unlike the aforementioned Afdlin misfires which also tried to shoot for the same kind of effect, this one just plain works.
Welcome back, Afdlin!
Hungry for laughs: Afdlin Shauki (Saadom), Adham Malekh (Ali) and Pete Teo (Alan) in a scene from Papadom 2.