Welcome To Karachi Hindi Movie Review

Feature Film | UA | Comedy
Welcome 2 Karachi is a slightly better effort than director Ashish R. Mohan's previous film, the stain on humanity that was Khiladi 786, but that isn't saying much. The film neither entertains nor does it inform, and it leaves you asking: what the fafda, man.
May 29, 2015 By Piyush Chopra

Two dim-witted, fun loving guys take their yatch out into the water to party. Unfortunate circumstances (and unfavorable weather Gods) cause their boat to capsize and they wake up in Karachi, Pakistan, where they are suspected terrorists in the eyes of Pakistani Intelligence and perfect means of bombing India in the eyes of religious fanatic Jihadis.

In the hands of a capable team of writers and a quirky director, this formula could've turned into a delicious, biting and relevant political satire that's laugh-out-loud entertaining at the same time. In the hands of director Ashish R. Mohan, however, the satire is nowhere to seen. At least effective and affecting satire. Instead, you get a painfully stretched, horribly repetitive and only fitfully (very fitfully) funny adventure comedy that has no idea where its mind is. Or its heart.

To be fair, Welcome 2 Karachi couldn't have been an easy film to make. Its hard to be funny about something as sensitive as terrorism and Indo-Pak relations when you're constantly worrying about stepping on some very sore toes. As people repeatedly point out in the film, "udhar bhi kaminey hain aur idhar bhi."

Sadly, that isn't even the problem with the film. In fact, W2K is pretty blunt in drawing comparisons between India and its neighbor country, and takes on terrorism pretty much head-on. Where the film falters is in its lack of imagination. It's unable to decide what to do with its protagonists once they've landed up in Karachi and landed themselves in a bucket-load of trouble.

Tere Bin Laden, the 2010 Ali Zafar-starrer, seems to be the obvious inspiration for W2K in taking on the Taliban and poking fun at America's obsession with waging wars. But unlike W2K, TBL knew exactly what to do with its whacky concept, even though its task was immeasurably tougher. It knew what its message was, what its endgame was, and what its emotional and comedic high points were (apart from being at a distinct advantage of having a charming cast).

W2K, on the other hand, is too obsessed with its own cleverness, salivating at the thought of the "crazy fun" it could have with its core concept. As a result, it stumbles right out of the gate, with an item number and tacky special effects to make matters worse. Its protagonists then move from one indistinguishable terrorist camp to another, before returning to the previous one, and it resolves each of the incidents with unconvincing, sloppy, poorly-written humor that would bug the hell out of anyone with a working brain.

You can't really expect to be entertained by a film where its 2 leads, waiting to pick up their passports that would take them home safely, can't keep their mouths shut long enough and start screaming obscenities at the highlights of an old India v Pakistan cricket match.

Despite lack of a plot (written most prominently by actor Vrajesh Hirjee), songs worth listening to (multiple composers) and any sort of grace in its capturing of arid desert lands (cinematography by Mark Nutkins), the film continues to meander along for a sizable 132 minutes (terrible editing by Steven H. Bernard) before happening upon a climax, in which director Ashish R. Mohan suddenly decides to redeem his characters with an emotional plot about actual terrorism that was probably mashed together at the time of shooting it, and our heroes jump in to (sort of) save the day.

What doesn't help its cause is the lackluster performances. Arshad Warsi continues his string of terrible exhibitions of comedy (barring Jolly LLB), playing a one-note character with one-note effort. Jacky Bhagnani doesn't do much either, although he's good enough for a laugh every hour or so. Lauren Gottlieb appears as a Pakistani Intelligence Agent, which is probably the film's funniest jokes. The remaining terrorist-type characters were too identical to each other for me to be able to discern who played who.

Welcome 2 Karachi might be a slightly better effort than director Ashish R. Mohan's previous attempt at filmmaking, the stain on humanity that was Khiladi 786, but that isn't saying much. Couple of funny jokes maketh not a successful comedy, and clueless jabs on terrorism maketh not a relevant political satire. The film neither entertains nor does it inform. The only thing that it leaves you with is a lyric from one of its songs that you keep asking yourself on a loop: what the fafda, man.

Piyush Chopra