Mutual fund total return

The NAV of the mutual funds takes into account the expense ratios, cash and the total underlying securities. So, calculating the return just based on the change in NAV can be misleading. For example a steep increase in fund inflows due to popularity of the fund (like what happened in 2017-18) madness can cause the NAV to increase. So, how does one go about gauging the real returns from a fund ?
Please correct me if I said something wrong. @siva @Bhuvan

For the NAV to go up, the prices of the underlying securities have to increase. Flows affect the size of the fund, not the NAV. Your return is basically the price at which you bought the fund and the current price, it’s as simple as that. If you are interested here’s how the NAV of a fund is calculated:

To know more about measuring your returns, check this post: