‘Welcome 2 Karachi’, meant to be a remake of Hollywood hit ‘Dumb and Dumber’, is about two bumbling Indians who fetch up in Pakistan, and what happens subsequently. If you are not being too picky — I wasn’t, warned by the presence of Jackky, he who spells it with two Ks, and the ‘2’ instead of the ‘two’ in the title—you can have yourself a bunch of guffaws.
One fine day Shammi (Arshad Warsi) and Kedar (Jackky Bhagnani) get on to a cruise ship. The next thing they know, they are washed up on a beach in Karachi, and find themselves falling in and out of a series of scrapes. This is not the kind of film where logic prevails, so please don’t bother with such pointless queries as ‘but how’? But why? Along come packs of gun-wielding types—colourful locals, mujahideens of all hues, a striking but clueless Pakistani ‘intelligence office’ (Lauren Gottlieb), and sundry others. And our boys are on the run, towards India and freedom.
What’s nice is that the film never pretends to be anything that it isn’t: it’s decidedly low-brow, low-rent, and refuses to take itself seriously. So, of course the action unravels on a very obvious set masquerading as Karachi, which allows for many digs at our neighbour’s expense. But the jokes have a spread, slamming people on our side of the border too. Pot-shots are slung at the Americans, and other trigger-happy nations: even the dreaded Taliban are not spared.
Jackky Bhagnani and Arshad Warsi make a serviceable pair, the former playing a gormless Gujju boy whose ‘kanjoos’ father (Dalip Tahil) would rather let the Pakistanis (or the light-eyed Baloch kidnappers, in this instance) keep his son rather than him (the tight-fisted father) cough up ransom money. Bhagnani misses a few beats but is willingly to be laughed at. That helps. Arashad Warsi looks a little out of it to begin with, and then settles down to being his reliable wry self, picking up the ‘sur’ and buoying his co-star. Always good to see this talented actor get screen-time