Movie Review: Welcome 2 Karachi

May 29, 2015

Actors Arshad Warsi and Jackky Bhagnani in a still from “Welcome to Karachi”

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

For a movie that starts off with a Gujarati party song by nubile foreign extras and has Jackky Bhagnani thrusting his pelvic muscles like there is no tomorrow, “Welcome 2 Karachi” gets progressively better.

Ashish Mohan, who directed “Khiladi 786” in 2012, returns with a film about two dunces who are oblivious to their surroundings most of the time. They stray into Pakistani shores during a freak storm, meet Taliban commanders, blow up terrorist camps by mistake, and are attacked by U.S. drones, when all they want is to go back home.

The situations in the film are unreal, as is some of the acting, especially from Bhagnani, whose nasal Gujarati twang gets unbearable towards the end. But what salvages “Welcome 2 Karachi”, and even lends it some semblance of humour is Arshad Warsi’s brilliant comic timing, which turns juvenile lines like “Taliban ka Khaliban” (when they accidentally blow up a Taliban camp) into something that will make you laugh out loud. It’s funnier in Hindi, but loosely means, “The Taliban of Nothingstan.”

The rest is as hare-brained as Bollywood films can get: American actress Lauren Gottlieb tries to pass off as a Pakistani intelligence officer, bombs are being planted in watermelons, and American tanks and CIA officers trawl all over Pakistan as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

Still, “Welcome 2 Karachi” might have been a slightly better film if the director hadn’t decided to keep adding to the gags, introduce songs that have no place in the narrative, and add a last-minute hijacking for added drama. In short, he should have kept it short, and relied on Warsi’s comic timing to tide the film over.

In the end, you only wish Warsi would get better roles and better films that do justice to his talent, rather than this hackneyed mess of a film.

(Editing by Ankush Arora; Follow Shilpa on Twitter @shilpajay, and Ankush @Ankush_patrakar. This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission)

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