'Welcome To Karachi': No thanks!

MUMBAI: Jackky Bhagnani is being launched for the fifth time in Welcome To Karachi by his home production, Puja Films, owned by his father, Vashu Bhagnani. There are two reasons why the producer should have been very, very selective about the subject he chose and should have had a better team writing it: the first is that what is at stake here is the career of the family scion, and the other is the investment of personal money. 

Entering Pakistan by mistake is no more a novel or exciting theme even if the guys doing it, Jackky and Arshad Warsi, are certifiable morons in the film. A recent film, Filmistan had the same theme, even the television serial Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah has had a few episodes where the protagonist, Jethalal, ambles into Pakistani territory. And, of course, our fishermen are also accused of straying on that count. So what's new? Also, with such a subject you can only make a comedy and for that you need writers, a species missing in our industry.

The producer holds a fancy for Gujaratis and here again, the lead man, Jackky, is from a Gujarati family, his father being Dalip Tahil. Tahil runs a ferry service in Jamnagar, a port town of Gujarat, and caters to the demand of wedding receptions on his boats. Tahil passes off his son, Jackky and his close pal, Arshad, both duffers, as geniuses who will look after the security of the guests. Arshad is supposed to be an ex-Navy man court-martialled for sinking a submarine. 

Now, there is a booking and Tahil’s instructions to his son are that, as soon as the baraat arrives, you take off. Jackky follows the instructions to the T. He watches as the baraat arrives near the jetty and the boat takes off. But, what do you know? This Jamnagar seems to be somewhere in the US (Jackky’s dream destination) for the boat is full of scantily dressed white women of varied ages and figures; as long as they are white, who cares! The usual dance and daru event follows till a storm strikes. The boat is sinking, half the white girls are conveniently sacrificed to the storm. 

Arshad and Jackky have landed on the coast of Karachi, lying unconscious the way thousands of marooned seafarers have done in as many fairy tales as well as in films. Karachi being a violent and lawless city, soon there is a bomb blast on the beach that they have landed at. A petty thief descends on the victims relieving the dead bodies of their belongings and this duo is not spared either. The wallets and, hence, the identities of both are stolen. 

Jackky and Arshad are now on the ISI’s radar and later handed over to the Taliban where they unwittingly destroy the entire Taliban camp. The CIA wants to hog the credit and on one side, a Pakistani minister wants to do the same by calling the two brave soldiers as his party members while the Indian electronic media catches on to the story identifying them as Indians from Jamnagar. Poor morons know nothing of all that they have done and the stories being built around them. Their only wish is to return to India. You wish too that they return to India and the charade ends. Alas!

Welcome To Karachi is a grossly ill-conceived idea and further done to death in execution. The director had nothing to go on and not realizing that shows his lack of script sense. The film is designed as a comedy and the only funny thing about it is that the film is a joke. Neither there is humour, nor any witty dialogues. Music is functional. Editing is not visible. Production is patchy.

As for performances, it is mainly buffoonery on the parts of both main actors. Arshad, otherwise an accomplished actor, is at sea here. Jackky is not an actor so nothing is expected of him and he delivers nothing; his Kathiawadi Gujarati accent sticks to same tone and decibel all along. The heroine, Lauren Gottlieb, plays more of a cameo than the lead. The rest are incidental. 

Welcome To Karachi is a poor fare on all counts.

Producer: Vashu Bhagnani

Director: Ashish R Mohan

Cast: Arshad Warsi, Jakky Bhagnani

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