A boat ride that is supposed to be a pleasure cruise strays into Pakistani waters and after a computer-generated storm, they end up in Karachi and spend the bulk of the movie escaping, in no particular order, hoodlums, Pakistani intelligence officers (including American dancer Lauren Gottlieb trying to pass herself off as a Pakistani), Taliban terrorists and the Central Intelligence Agency.
Do they make it home? You will have to wait for very, very long to find out.
Welcome 2 Karachi has some substance as well as the suggestion of some kind of substance having been imbibed during the writing. Vrajesh Hirjee’s screenplay includes college-level punning, comic-book characters and an anything-goes quality that is necessary for a movie in which a Taliban chief entrusts Shammi and Kedar with the task of bombing India and the dim duo briefly become soldiers with the Pakistani Army (their names are Ittefaq and Watthefaq). Some of the situations are undeniably funny, such as when Shammi forgets that they are disguised as Balochis and cheers the wrong side during an India-Pakistan match (a truly inspired Warsi moment) or when they think they have crossed over into India when they have actually only made it as far as Pakistan’s portion of Punjab.
It’s a Warsi show all the way, with Bhagnani neatly stepping into the role of the low-IQ comic sidekick previously dominated by Tusshar Kapoor. Warsi’s expertly judged comic timing, especially during the cricket match sequence, is just what is needed to navigate the dud bombs that litter the latter half of the movie, especially after our hapless heroes have blown up a Taliban camp in Waziristan, thereby landing on the radar of the CIA.
Writer Hirjee and director Ashish R Mohan could have speeded up things from there on, but instead they cut back to Pakistan and to some of the characters we thought we wouldn’t (and didn’t want to) meet again. There is a clear sense of a welcome being outstayed, and yet another instance of comedy creators having so much fun amongst themselves that they forget that they’re at the movies, rather than a jam session.
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