KARACHI : It’s credit to director Azfar Jafri that with each film, he has attempted a different genre – from horror Siyaah to rom-com Janaan and now Parchi. With the latest’s aggressive marketing, the team showed how important it is to be creative and imprint the name (which is quite catchy, by the way) in people’s minds.
And with that, came high expectations from the Hareem Farooq and Ali Rehman-starrer. Yet, it’s Jafri who struggles to control the complexity of the story.
The film revolves around Bash (Rehman), his brother Bilal (Usman Mukhtar), Saqlain (Ahmed Ali Akbar) and Bhola (Shafqat Khan, who also wrote the film) who are issued a ‘parchi’ of five million rupees by antagonist Zodiac. They resort to fearless Emaan (Farooq) for help.
Before release, many drew parallels between Parchi and Fukrey but let me assure you, it’s not the same film. Parchi deals with different ideas and relationships between characters. There are several activities going on at any point in time and while that’s usually a positive, it is the sole reason that Parchi doesn’t hold up overall. In short, there is too much going on and director Jafri loses control.
From Janaan to Parchi, the director has grown and matured but only slightly. Where he shows his range by delving into different genres, he also exposes his weaknesses. Yes, he is one of the better film-makers working today but he still has a long way to go.
Khan’s screenplay lays an unstable foundation for Jafri to build the film on. He tries his best but ends up with a structure that can collapse anytime. It’s exactly this feeling that stays with you when you walk out of the theatre.
However, Parchi is, by no means, a film that can be completely disregarded. There are more than a few elements working in its favour. Any amount of praise for the cast is not enough. In his first film as a lead, Rehman shows he is the next big star. The guy can act, dance and inject comedy where needed which makes him a complete package. Farooq is stunning in her rebellious (yet a softie inside) avatar. She and Rehman shine in a few scenes in the second half of the film – not that there was any doubt about their skills.
Most of the supporting cast is equally entertaining. Mukhtar showed he’s as good an actor as he’s a cinematographer (yes, he did double-duty as well). Mojiz Hasan is naturally hilarious. Bhola channels his inner Javed Jafri from Dhamaal to perfection. Whereas, veteran Shafqat Cheema is left to fend for himself with little to do and comedian Faiza Saleem’s cameo comes off as way over the top. In fact, the film goes over-the-top at a few points but is only funny when it doesn’t try too hard.
Art direction and the consistent colour palette make Parchi a visual treat. The music is memorable with Billo Hai, Imagine and the title track, having catchy tunes and repeat value. Billo Hai was one of the selling points of the film and it delivers. But then, when the highest point of the film is Billo’s thumkas, there’s a problem.
Parchi suffers because of scenes that drag for way too long. The team’s theatre sensibilities become evident. We do not need to see each character enter, linger on for longer than after they serve the purpose and then exit the screen.
The director also makes the same mistake he made in Janaan – the romance needs to be developed before eventual proclamation of love. It can’t just happen out of nowhere and that too near or after the interval. And this trope continues throughout the film – underdeveloped layers with payoffs not meaning much. It happens so that after a certain point, one stops caring about the story and just waits for the occasional gags to crack you up.
Overall, Parchi is not groundbreaking. Na Maloom Afraad began this trend of gangster comedy genre in Pakistan a long time ago. Chupan Chupai followed suit and now Parchi does the same. But where the first two succeeded, Parchi gets caught up in its own web. It’s feels like earphones when you take them out of your pocket – difficult to untangle even though you know how it’s done.
Verdict: Even with a lot going on in its favour, it’s a forgettable film. Billo’s thumkas aren’t enough to pay this Parchi.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Cinemas in Saudi Arabia will reopen early next year after a 35-year ban
Hareem Farooq, Ali Rehman Khan and Ahmed Ali Akbar on screen together
Did you know? 'Parchi' is going to be the foremost Lollywood movie to be screened in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia