Something Haute Rating: 2.5 of out 5 stars
Last night Parchi premiered in Karachi as the first Pakistani film of 2018, thus carrying a huge responsibility on its shoulders.
Directed by Azfar Jafri, the film’s meandering twists and tales revolve around the lives of Bash (Ali Rehman Khan), his brother Bilal (Usman Mukhtar) and their two sidekicks/friends, Saqlain (Ahmed Ali Akbar) and Bholu (Shafqat Khan). Together, they are four losers struggling to keep up with life, trying to make some quick bucks to save themselves from goons in a crime-infested city.
Their lives go from bad to worse until Eman (Hareem Farooq) – a Robin Hood type gangster – vows to rescue them from the throngs of the underworld don, Zodiac (Shafqat Cheema), and the story suspends into a rollercoaster ride from there onwards. As simple and interesting as it sounds, Parchi starts off being a commentary on the idea of extortion and living under constant fear. However, very soon it nosedives into pure chaos.
Parchi suffers from a serious case of excess-itis. Every scene in the film, somehow, turns into a pathway to yet another plot-twist, making it so disproportionate that the story is difficult to understand. If that wasn’t enough, the comedic antics too, are a sensory overload. Understandably, the film needed such moments – and they do make the filmgoer laugh plenty – but, it’s a bit too much on the extra side. It’s almost like every actor in the film wants to have their two seconds of comedic fame in the limelight. If that wasn’t enough, the fact that they added a love angle to the film is beyond our comprehension as well. It was unnecessary.
However, even the convoluted plot plus comedy overload isn’t Parchi’s main problem – it’s the direction. Much like Janaan, Azfar Jafri’s heavy-handed approach to filmmaking drags the pace of the story. The dream-team (as they call it) of Imran Raza Kazmi, Hareem Farooq and Azfar Jafri has by now, given us two blunders and should really rethink their stance. Whatever they’re doing is not working.
But all is not amiss.
Parchi is better than the previous few releases Pakistani cinema has seen. The film looks and feels like a proper cinematic experience and the keen eye on colours, production techniques and design cannot be faulted at all.
Similarly, a majority of the cast is stellar. Hareem as a gangster with a heart of gold – albeit excessive once again in her demeanour and look – is brilliant on the silver screen. She has a star quality which makes her a delight to watch. Usman Mukhtar fits the role of a bichara perfectly. His acting skills are time and again tested in the film, and unlike Ali Rehman Khan, Usman doesn’t look like a caricature of several Bollywood heroes and villains. Faiza Saleem – as the hilarious Sumaira Khanjarwali, and Faizan Sheikh as Hareem’s sidekick called Biscuit leave a memorable mark with their acting prowess.
If the film has one thing going for it, it’s the acting.
Truth be told, if only Parchi wasn’t focusing on glamourizing each and every aspect of the film, and had not added one million twists and unnecessary comedy into the narrative, it could have been one blockbuster to watch out for. Sadly its shortcomings let it down.
Verdict: Watch the film at least once for its comedic moments and perhaps, the dose of laughter may make you forget everything else!