Review: Welcome 2 Karachi a messy boat wreck of a film
Director: Ashish R Mohan
Cast: Jackky Bhagnani, Arshad Warsi, Lauren Gottlieb, Dalip Tahil, Pawan Malhotra
When a film falls between two stools and goes down in an unseemly heap, its chances of recovery are slim indeed. That is exactly the fate that Welcome 2 Karachi, produced by Vashu Bhagnani and directed by Ashish R Mohan, suffers.
It is neither a passable slapstick comedy about the misadventures of two nitwits nor an acceptably average satire on the state of the world. It is too sloppy to be the former and too puerile to be the latter.
Welcome 2 Karachi is a brainless caper, but thanks to the energetic presence of Arshad Warsi, even its most ludicrous moments do not scrape the bottom of the barrel.
If the film’s overall impact is well below average, it is simply because its central premise is as stupid as the two protagonists that it revolves around.
What does one say of a film that claims to be about Karachi but goes nowhere near the Pakistani port city? It instead opts for locations in the United Kingdom to stand in for Pakistan’s commercial capital.
But that is actually the least of the problems that Welcome 2 Karachi is up against. It is the utterly hare-brained screenplay that is the film’s biggest undoing.
It thinks that the war on terrorism is funny business and, in the bargain, makes a mockery of everything and everybody on both sides of the divide.
It rests primarily on worn-out notions about Pakistan, terrorism and American meddling. In seeing complex geopolitics through the eyes of two men who have no clue what they are up to, it obfuscates matters to a point that is not merely questionable, but completely unpalatable.
Welcome 2 Karachi is about Gujarati boy Kedar Patel (Jackky Bhagnani) and ex-navy man Shammi Thakur (Arshad Warsi) who decide to sail to the US after the former fails to get a visa to the land of the free despite repeated attempts.
Their boat is caught in a storm and they end up in Karachi, where danger lurks at every corner.
The foolhardy adventures of Kedar and Shammi lands them in a series of life-threatening situations, but the two laugh their way through their troubles because they know better.
Across the border, their lack of intelligence is sought to be exploited by Taliban fighters, ISI agents and American spies.
The film piles clichés upon wild clichés as the two men get entangled with the Karachi underworld, with jihadi conspiracies hatched in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Waziristan FATA, and with machinations of Pakistani politicians.
This trite tale of two bumbling Indians who scurry aimlessly to find their way back home falls flat because the gags are anything but funny.
Lead actor Jackky Bhagnani takes an earnest shot at playing a lisping Jamnagar boy, but his performance isn’t consistent enough to be a career-altering star turn. Jackky isn’t as wacky as he thinks he is.
Welcome 2 Karachi is a boat-wreck of a film.