If you could spare some of your precious time to get your hands on video films made in Pakistan [mostly they recycle our blockbusters], you would appreciate the fact that some films are actually so bad, they are good. Tacky visual graphics, uninspiring-loud-& downloaded background score, unintentionally achieved comic timings, repeated punches, textbook in (bad) performances and a taut plot that would never give any space to anything logical! Ashish R Mohan’s Indian Dumb & Dumber act WELCOME TO KARACHI falls on that not-so rare category. No wonder, the Pakistan Government has invited its cast & crew to promote their film in Pakistan. It’s a first. And I am not sure how far this generosity will sustain. You laugh ‘with’ most of the comedy flicks; WELCOME TO KARACHI is the one you laugh ‘at’.
Shammi [Arshad Warsi] & Kedar [Jackky Bhagnani] are two crackpots accidently finding themselves on Pakistan side of the globe after storm hits Kedar’s ship. This Pakistan on screen is ready to welcome them with lame ‘Pathan’ jokes, blasts and shootings at every corner joining army shooters from the United States, Israel, Russia, Ukraine, Nepal and where not. In order to save their **ses and return to the homeland, their idiotic efforts land them first in Talibani region and then in detention of US army. In one scene, when showed a picture of the US president in present, Shammi calls him the actor who played Mandela in a Hollywood film [Morgan Freeman in INVICTUS]. The film is their journey back home or probably it never happens [as the climax suggests].
If comparing and counting the number of enjoyable gags, the first half doesn’t do any bad. Jackky in a particular hospital scene and Arshad in almost every frame steals the show. Film gets derailed from the track when shifts its gear from first to second. The uneven, repetitive and ‘turned irritating by now’ screenplay [The credits have an interesting mention of Raj Kundra as one of the contributors in this exact department] starts testing your patience. If there is anything constant in the film is either Arshad’s comic timing which is again too exposed to have any juice left; or Bhagnani’s disinterested acting endeavor with his equally bad Gujarati accent. How can he be so unbothered in his home-production? The film also sees a cameo by the veteran Pawan Malhotra. If you don’t follow his brilliance, I should inform you that he is currently blessing Punjabi cinema in his own way but this kind of wasted appearances do hurt.
Ashish R Mohan’s WELCOME TO KARACHI might have looked hilarious on paper but in translation, it does lose its promise to have an out & out ‘laugh out loud’ experience. No matter how illiterate you are in cinematic technicalities, poorly done visual graphics would undeniably create a put-off situation for you. After all, you have paid to watch cinema and not some low-budget comedy show on TV. Direction goes for a toss especially when all intentions shrink their focuses to only link the gags one has in the name of comedy.
At the end, comedy is said to be the most difficult exercise for an actor. In this film, it is not; at least it doesn’t look like. Sooner or later, you as a viewer also don’t bother much with anything going nuts on screen. Film’s tagline says, “To survive, they must stay foolish”. How true, for the audiences! I wish I could recommend you to watch it on YouTube but no, even YouTube these days has a lot better content in the name of comedy! [1.5/5]