Friday, 29 May 2015

Welcome 2 Karachi :: Movie Review

                                       Image result for 3 stars out of 5 
Welcome 2 Karachi helmed by Ashish R Mohan is our desi version of "Dumb & Dumber" which takes you on a no-holds barred different, short & sweet journey with lot of fun quotient in the flick. The movie is a political satire and takes a dig at the prevalent socio-political atmosphere prevalent in Pakistan. Ashish R Mohan whose last directed flick "Khiladi 786" was a commercial potboiler laden with all the typical formulaic elements has attempted something novel this time for which he needs to be applauded. He has crafted a tale of two gauche Indians who land up in Pakistan via Sea route and what happens afterwards in a freakish manner. What works in favor of the movie is that the movie is not pretentious, the overall tone of the movie is middling with the silly antics of the main protagonists and other characters whom they meet during the course of their journey. Though the overall mood of narrative is witty, yet it ably brushes upon several pertinent issues ; General public across both the sides of border are saddened by the division and have affection for people living on other side of the border ( Portrayed brilliantly by Pavan Malhotra through a cameo in the movie), how politicians can stoop to the lowest of levels just to grab a larger chunk of vote bank ( When Arshad & Jackky destroy a Taliban camp with their silly antics, a Pakistani minister forcefully makes the duo to confess that they are Pakistani Intelligence officials who were inducted by his political party to curb terrorism ),  rising above oneself for the sake of humanity ( In the climax, When Arshad & Jackky foil a possible hijack attempt putting their lives in danger whilst they could have safely returned to India). Since the tone of movie is piquant, all these scenes have been captured with a dash of humor without giving them a preachy tone for which due credit must be given to Ashish R Mohan and his team. The movie doesn't spare anyone and takes pot-shots at people on both the sides of the border and doesn't even spare U.S.A. who wants to take credit for destroying a Taliban base camp with drone strike which in actual has been destroyed by the movies' main protagonists and that too by mistake. There are aplenty of gags infused in the screenplay especially during the first half which are fresh, invigorating but the movie nosedives in the second half specifically during the climax. But, overall the movie is a one time watch if you decide to stay silly laying your brain cells to rest whilst watching the movie. Two scenes from the movie ; one where Americans interrogate the lead duo regarding the drone strike on Taliban camp and second where a Minister introduces the duo to the media as Intelligence officials of Pakistan in Parliament have come out as too hilarious.   

STORY & SCREENPLAY  (SPOILERS AHEAD)                                              ::             The writing credits of the movie have been shared by Kushal Ved Bakshi, Vrajesh Hirjee, Danish Hussain along with Ashish.R.Mohan. The highlight of this movie apart from the brilliant performances by its main protagonists is its perceptive writing which leaves no stone unturned to take digs at the current socio-political scenario. On top of it, the script has been laden with boisterously funny dialogues and one-liners.The best part is that the script breezes past without any major breakdowns primarily because it sticks to its chosen line and to top it all, it delivers some quirky detours that are made all the more engaging due to the consistent quality of acting by most of its artistes. The film starts with Mitesh Patel (Dalip Tahil) booking a client's wedding party to be held on his chartered boat. The captain of the boat is Shammi (Arshad Warsi) who is assisted by the son of Mitesh i.e. Kedar Patel (Jackky Bhagnani). Kedar is quite disillusioned as his visa for U.S.A has been rejected multiple times and Shammi promises to take him to U.S.A. by boat. Mitesh orders Shammi & Kedar to take care of the wedding party and leave the shore when the wedding party arrives. As they both are dim-witted, they leave the shore when the wedding party arrives without taking them on-board. A storm engulfs the boat and they both sail to Karachi port in an unconscious state. A bomb blast takes place on the port landing the duo in a local hospital. They both run away from the hospital but not before changing their attire ; Arshad wears a doctor's coat and Jackky wears a sherwani with a bullet hole in it. On the other hand, Pakistani intelligence officials, one of whom is Lauren Gottlieb land up at sea shore where the blast took place and they catch hold of Shammi's purse making them think that he is behind the blast. Now, our dim-witted duo is out on streets of Karachi where Shammi is mistaken to be a doctor and is taken to a house where he delivers a baby taking cue from RajKumar Hirani's 3 idiots i.e. with the help of a vaccum cleaner. As they are hungry, they attempt to steal pizzas from a delivery boy which in fact turns out to be guns hidden in pizza box and this makes them land up at residence of a local don. The don is angry as the delivery of the guns could not be processed, so to make up for his losses he seeks ransom by calling Kedar's father in India. On getting the ransom amount, he arranges for their return to India by arranging their fake passports. But their worst fears are yet to come true, as while sitting at a tea stall Shammi starts cheering for India when Indo-Pak cricket match is being telecast. The crowd runs after them baying for their blood. It is than that they discover the darker side of Pakistan. Afterwards, chance encounter lands them up in the base camp of Taliban who wants to use duo as Jihadis. In an attempt to escape from there, they mistakenly blow up the base camp and co-incidentally at the same time a drone of USA is also hovering around there. What follows is a series of hilarious events where on one  side they are used by a Pakistani Minister by projecting them as Pakistani Heroes as elections are around the corner. And on the other hand U.S. officials abduct them and promise them a safe passage to India if they testify in front of media that it was US. Drone strike that destroyed Taliban camp. Will they remain in Pakistan posing as Intelligence Officials as instructed by the minister, Will they be able to return back to India is what forms the rest of the story.                 

STARCAST                                                                                                ::             A round of applause for Rohan Mapuskar, Naila Mughal ( Casting Directors) for their effective casting of lead as well as ensemble starcast as per their characterizations. Sans any big stars (apart from Arshad Warsi), lesser known actors have ably carried the weight of the movie on their shoulders by giving earnest performances. What i mentioned about Jimmy Sheirgill in my previous review of "Tanu Weds Manu Returns", stands true for Arshad Warsi also ; Arshad is also one of the underrated and underutilized actors of today's times. Arshad is a powerhouse of talent who fits into the shoes of the character that he portrays on screen with remarkable ease. It is difficult to imagine this film without the first-rate pivotal performance by Arshad Warsi. Arshad exhibits many shades of humor, nervousness as well as confidence and frustration immensely well. Arshad lights up the screen by portraying the character of Shammi to the hilt. His camaraderie with Jackky Bhagnani has come out really well in the movie and has to be seen to be believed. Jackky Bhagnani has come a long way since he was launched in movie 'Kal Kissne Dekha' by his father Vasu Bhagnani in 2009. He has evolved as an actor with every subsequent film of his. And in this movie, Jackky Bhagnani has turned out to be the surprise element by imbibing and portraying the finer nuances of a Gujarati in most amusing way. Jackky's comic timing as the silly, innocent guy having no control over his tongue is impeccable. His sincerity & hard work put in towards portraying this role can be gauged from his performance in the movie. Watch out for him in the Karachi hospital scene where he questions the man sitting next to him about the person whose photograph is hung on the wall and than displays his flair of knowing three different languages to him. Dalip Tahil is first rate as the lecherous father of Kedar who being a typical Gujju doesn't even hesitate to negotiate for the ransom amount when his son has been held hostage by a local don in Karachi. Lauren Gottlieb proves that she is not only cut out for dance numbers but can make her presence felt when it comes to acting too. Although she has given a descent performance but she needs to further brush up her acting skills especially when it comes to facial expressions. Other noticeable performances have been delivered by Imran Hasnee and Adnan Shah.   

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                                   ::                 The musical soundtrack of the movie that has been composed by Jeet Ganguly, Rochak Kohli along with Amjad Nadeem comprises of some fast paced numbers that gel well with narrative of the movie. Couple of numbers namely " Lalla Lalla Lori " sung by Vishal Dadlani along with Shivi and " Boat Ma Kukdookoo" sung by Mika in the lead along with Shivi, Deane Sequeira & Rochak Kohli stand out amongst others. The cinematographer of the movie is Mark Nutkins who has astoundingly captured a sense of purity in the frames, luscious with light, undaunted by grain in the dark which is remarkable. The use of colors and lighting be it in frames, background, outdoors or even inside premises is so audacious that it enhances the visual appeal of the movie. A special mention of Narendra Rahurikar ( Production Designer) and Komal Shahani ( Costume Designer ) for their apt contribution in their respective fields. The movie has been edited by Steven H. Bernard who has kept the run-time of the movie to 134 minutes. His editing is crisp & taut and covers up the glitches mainly in the first half but some scenes in the second half hamper the proceedings and needed trimming. As a director, Ashish R Mohan has proved that he knows his craft well enough. He has ably portrayed the tale of two dim-witted persons and their redundant adventures with utmost finesse and in a quirky manner. The best part is that he has not attempted to vary the tone of movie at any stage by making it serious and let the silliness prevail throughout the film. He also deserves a pat on the back for extracting the best out of his cast and crew. With able assistance from his crew, Ashish has been able to recreate Karachi in such efficient manner that it is utmost difficult to differentiate Karachi from the sets that have been created. Ashish R Mohan has proved his versatility as a director by making a movie which is in total contrast to the last movie that he helmed i.e. Khiladi 786.    

CONCLUSION                                                                                               ::       Welcome 2 Karachi is a mindless comic flick that can be watched once for the silly shenanigans enacted exquisitely by its protagonists provided you don't let your logical skills come into play while watching the movie and simply enjoy, going with the flow of the movie. 

ROHIT SHARMA. 
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