Parchi (Review): Disastrous writing brings down the entire film

Movie Name: Parchi

Release Date: January 5, 2018

Director: Azfar Jafri

Review by: Momin Ali Munshi

2018 has begun on a rather depressing note as Parchi is the first release of the year and quite honestly it is a major disappointment. You may say that I am being a bit extreme with my opinion and given this constant competition among Pakistani reviewers as to who can come up with the most vicious title and who can better rip the film to shreds, I would say that your concern is not totally unwarranted. But believe you me, this film has to be amongst the worst written films to have come out of Pakistani Cinema. The story is illogical and has no punch, dialogues anything but funny and characterization powerless. So what was exactly is the film all about?

Parchi is the story of Bash (Ali Rehman Khan) his brother Bilal (Usman Mukhtar) and their friends Saqlain (Ahmed Ali Akbar) and Bhola (Shafqat Khan) who all live together in an apartment. Bash receives a parchi from local mafia Zodiac (Shafqat Cheema) and has to pay an amount of fifty lakhs. Somehow they end up at the mercy of Emaan ( Hareem Farooq) who is a local gangster and has some unresolved business with Zodiac. What follows is a cat and mouse chase where we are introduced to a plethora of characters, a dozen plot twists, which leave the viewer confused and bored.

According to me, the biggest issue with the film is that of monotonicity where the entire film seems like one big badly written monologue. A monologue where the performer tries to pique your interest with varying his tone and changing the mood but failing miserably as the audience has no interest. It is funny how the film is full of twists and a new character is introduced at the drop of a hat, yet the film could not have the desired ups and downs, the moments where the viewer feels invested as to what is happening on screen.

Also, it didn’t help the monotonicity that most of the film was shot in similar settings with a blue-greenish hue, which made the film look like a theatrical production as opposed to a film. When you go see a theatrical production you know that set changes will be limited, scenes will rely more on dialogue and will probably be lengthier but that is not what you expect from a film. Parchi kind of reminded me of Pakistani film Dekh Magar Pyar Say which was an extreme example such a case where the extended scenes shot on some limited sets made it a painful experience.Oh and funnily even Dekh Magar Pyar Say had a greenish hue in the film.

The story as hinted earlier is literally all over the place. There is a plot twist that follows another plot twist, and there is too much happening at the same time, which I think is a trademark of sorts for Azfar Jafri films as even Janaan had a bit of an overloaded script. However while Janaan was saved thanks to Osman Khalid Butt’s smart writing, Shafqat Khan’s script here becomes rather absurd and after a point, you actually have zero interest in the film. Also, disappointingly the film which was pegged as a comedy did not really have the funny dialogues or punchlines where the viewer could laugh out loud.

But while the story and dialogues did not make much sense, Azfar Jafri’s direction and Usman Mukhtar’s cinematography ( minus the obsession with blue-greenish tint) tried to salvage the film with their craft. Azfar Jafri showed promise with his first film Siyah itself and then with Janan, which is still one of the most beautifully shot films, he elevated his director status. With Parchi he tries a new genre, albeit doesn’t completely succeed, but he shows finesse and some scenes have been shot extremely well. But blame it on the poor foundation laid by the horrendous script that everything collapses at the end.

The acting department was another department that somewhat saved this sinking ship where Hareem Farooq takes the cake for her brilliant portrayal of gangster Eeeman. From the look, the body language to the dialogue delivery she does it to perfection. Usman Mukhtar was another plus for the leading cast and his portrayal of mister goody two shoes gone rogue was definitely a highlight of the otherwise blah film. Given the right kind of roles, this one is definitely the next big thing.

Ali Rehman does well but unfortunately, his character is rather caricature-ish and also he doesn’t look the part which takes away from his performance. A slightly more beefed up look would have had a better impact, especially given he was going to be the macho hero filling up the larger than life silver screen. Nonetheless, this boy is a face to look out for as he is one of the few actors we have who can act, dance and also look nice on camera.

Ahmed Ali Akbar finally gets a role where he has a margin to perform and he definitely makes full use of it. Mojiz Hassan should have been featured more prominently as he was one of the funniest, if not the funniest, person from the cast. A special mention here for Faizan Sheikh who shone brightly in a role that was hardly anything special but yet he made the role his own and came across as a great performer.

Shafqat Khan’s  character was over the top and annoying. Faiza Saleem second only to Shafqat Khan was not really funny which was quite strange given her online sketches are hilarious! Mahenur Haider looked drop-dead gorgeous, which is probably why she was cast. And last but definitely not the least Shafqat Cheema did what he does best. Phew, that was a long list!

The music was another plus and Osman Khalid Butt’s stellar choreography took things a few notches higher. It would not be wrong to say that the best part of the film was Billo Hai, the much publicized and loved track. Imagine was another catchy and well-shot song, whereas title track Parchi was the perfect opening for the film.

Verdict: One of the weakest films to have come out of Pakistani cinema which will literally blow your mind, leaving you high and dry as you try and reassemble it.

Rating: 1.5/5 stars

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I might be an Economics graduate from LUMS, but cinema is where my heart truly belongs. Always up for a discussion on fims and I guess you could call me a Pakistani Cinema aficionado. Email: mominalimunshi@yahoo.com

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