Since a young age you are taught never to take half measures. If you swing, swing hard. That’s the best thing about Parchi. The director, Azfar Jafri is aware that the world he is creating does not stand upon intelligible story telling. Hence, he focuses on creating hilarious situations, funny dialogues, highlighting quirks of characters, and delivering on the production quality front. The film isn’t half baked or as they say in urdu “Adha teetar adha batair”. The director is very much aware about what he wants to achieve. Moreover, color grading and production ensure that the audience feels like they are watching a movie. These factors in so many ways, cover ups for the loop holes of Parchi. Let dive into it.
Bash (Ali Rehman Khan), small time ‘ghunda’ and ends up collecting ‘Bhatta’ in the area of Don Zodiac (Shafqat Cheema) and is caught red handed. Bash is asked to pay up 50 lakhs in 4 days or else. Luckless and living with his brother (Usman Mukhtar) and two friends, Saqlain (Ahmed Ali Akbar, who is engaged to Natasha) and Bholay (Shafqat Khan), it becomes a matter of life and death. They set out to get their lives back on track. Along the way they meet Biscuit, the sidekick to Madam Sahab (Hareem Farooq). Madam Sahab is a robin hood styled gangster. So she sets out to assist these boys. This help comes in shape of an idea of tricking the rich mother in law of Saqlain, named Sumera Khanjar (Faiza Saleem) into giving them money. The endeavor fails. So, in desperate attempt they try to break in and take the money. This is where all hell breaks loose.
There are twists & turns, a love story, and many parallel sub plots. Will they get the money? Will they survive? Whose love story is it? Well, no spoiler under my watch, so go to the cinema to find out.
The kind of reputation Karachi has, makes you automatically associate the term ‘Parchi’ with Karachi. Well, the film is not set in Karachi. Its characters have unique names like Zodiac, Biscuit, Future, Pisces etc. which is a distinct effort to start with a blank slate. Its planet "Parchi" where people have odd names, women (ok, just woman) is pretty, has a humanist side to her, and is called sweetness but still commands fear when required. The filmmaker is aware that such questions will be raised. For example, the sidekick biscuit, asks Madam Sahab, not to show her emotional side in public or the fear will melt away. Yet Madam Sahab shows her emotional side, and is impenitent about it. The transition wouldn’t work in the world we live in, but again it’s Planet Parchi. While, Bash has some really good scenes, some not so much. Disconnect between the storyline, kind of shows in his character as well.
As for the supporting cast, Shafqat Cheema as the villain is pretty decent. Faiza Saleem, plays the over the top, horror film loving angry don, and requires complete suspension of disbelief. If you look past the logic of it, she is fun. Ahmed Ali Akbar’s character is ‘phatto’ and manages to induce empathy, while Shafqat Khan, is there to create situations which either lead to humor or he is being the joke by his action. His character may annoy a few, though.
Lastly Usman Mukhtar holds the film together, for me. He remains firmly within the boundaries of his character, delivers his dialogues with earnestness & will have you root for him. Besides, his cinematographer in a couple of scenes, will certainly catch your attention. One would be the ‘Nahe hosakta’ scene which you may have seen in the trailer and a scene where his boss is killed. One perfectly builds up the hype, making audiences think a certain way and then wont-take-this-too-seriously of the film maker comes to fore and the other scene is simply exquisite. Both have Usman Mukhar at the centre of it.
I am sure people will poke holes in Parchi’s storyline. But to enjoy the film you have to look past it. The storyline is jumbled and situation are somehow forced to make the audience laugh. But when the moment comes, the dialogue, the situation in itself, or even pauses have been used effectively. One minute you would sit in disbelief thinking, what is going on and the next minute you’ll be laughing out loud. That’s Parchi in a nut shell, a leave-your-brain-at-home-entertainer.