“Parchi” Is A Step Forward For Pakistani Cinema But I Still Have Mixed Feelings About It

By Iman Zia | 3 Jan, 2018

Before I dive into ‘Parchi’s’ review, let me begin by applauding director Azfar Jafri for what he was attempting to accomplish with his caper story venture. A far cry from his previous ‘Janaan,’ Parchi’ is Asfar’s experiment, and while it isn’t an entire failure, the film is not as forgettable as I had expected; there are worthy moments that make ‘Parchi’ a breath of fresh air for Lollywood in recent light of the industry drowning in darkness.


*spoilers ahead*

Source: IRK Films/ARY Films


‘Parchi’ brings together Hareem Farooq and Ali Rehman Khan as the film’s frontrunners, as they return on-screen after their stint on critically acclaimed drama ‘Diyar-e-Dil.’ The premise is simple; if you owe someone a debt, and don’t pay back then you’re sent a parchi.  The opening starts with Ali Rehman Khan as ‘Bash.’ He’s been given a parchi by mafia ringleader Zodiac (Shafqat Cheema) and has to muster up fifty lakh in four days. He enlists the help of friend Saqlain (Ahmed Ali Akbar), brother Bilal (Usman Mukhtar) and Bholay who collectively go on an adventure to get the money in time to save Bash.

Source: IRK Films/ARY Films


Chase scenes throughout the film prove as memorable slapstick moments that end up far more entertaining than the film

Various chase scenes are strung around the plot and are hilariously molded with missed slaps, chaotic collisions between characters and laugh-out-loud moments (very ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’). At one point, Saqlain is running and attempts to slow down his chasers by opening a series of taxi doors as he emulates Bash, eminently failing. The charming confusion and disorder in various scenes is commendable.

Source: IRK Films/ARY Films


Ali Rehman Khan, Ahmed Ali Akbar and Usman Mukhtar really give it their all in the film, and it shows spectacularly

Acting sparkles beyond compare in ‘Parchi,’ with Ali, Ahmed and Usman’s friendship a courageous strength throughout. Each plays starkly different characters, with their own memorable traits as individuals, and collectively a hilarious trio you can’t help but root for throughout. However, their friendship was not probed more despite igniting great chemistry throughout. Ahmed Ali Akbar is one to watch out for – his acting was never stretched as the darpok lovestruck member of the group. Usman too was a surprise as the reserved Bilal and is one to keep on your radar. Bholay was disposable as the fourth member of the little tribe and at most times another filler as someone who couldn’t stop eating even at the most inappropriate of times. While the character was kind and humble, he ended up rather annoying, with silly dialogues that only turned me off. Ali Rehman’s dapper good looks do not take away from the fact that he is one of THE finest actors we have and is brilliant as Bash.

Source: IRK Films/ARY Films


Hareem Farooq’s entry as the fiery and sassy Eman is indelible, and she immediately steals away screen presence from her contemporaries

Eman is the epitome of empowerment – she is unapologetic, independent and demands what she wants. Eman is the vengeful daughter of estranged father Zodiac who is vengeful after he kills her mother. Hareem Farooq is dazzling and inspiring as the female protagonist and is given the benefit of having the most leeway to explore her character.

Source: IRK Films/ARY Films


The film isn’t all comedy, rather there are profound injections of emotions that take you on a powerful odyssey

It’s a shame the film didn’t explore the relationships it had laid out so wonderfully, with brothers Bash and Bilal’s more emotional interactions superbly done but left very much at the surface; same goes for Eman’s arc with her mafia father Zodiac. There were trials to try and add more depth to the comical side, nonetheless, it floundered.

Source: IRK Films/ARY Films


Female entitlement is a profound trait throughout ‘Parchi,’ with every female sturdy and remarkable

Even Saqlain’s love interest Zara who at first glance appears rather ditsy has her moments of badassery as she beats up a murderer while Saqlain terrifyingly hides in the closet. Zara’s mother played by Faiza Saleem is utterly ridiculous and inaudible at most, however, Shafqat’s crafting of her character must be noted too – she is feared by even the most menacing of men in the story. Bash and Bilal’s mother too has a cameo where she displays her unwavering confidence.

Source: IRK Films/ARY Films


Standing ovation for Usman Mukhtar, whose cinematography grapples the film’s edginess brilliantly

Usman proves himself not just a sublime actor, but quite the cinematographer. His own particular scene where his boss is killed and he plays witness is shot beautifully, with dramatic music and spot-on slow motion. Even when the film lacks in certain flashes, it is made up for by Usman’s breathtaking magic along with Azfar’s artsy direction. The film is aesthetically well done, with a dingy undertone and neon lights throughout.

Source: IRK Films/ARY Films


Names like ‘Zodiac,’ ‘Bash,’ ‘Biscuit’ and Wafer were silly, unmerited and utterly pointless in a shoddy shot at trying to make the movie more ‘masala’

Comical fillers were all too familiar and unnecessary as it became clear that writer Shafqat Khan was dragging out the film to exhausting lengths. In the world of Bollywood, imagine ‘Dehli Belly’ meets ‘Housefull 3;’ The movie gave forth its fair share of praiseworthy scenes that shed light on a new side of Lollywood, but it was evident that more mindless, leave-your-brain-at-home jokes were forcefully thrown in for absolutely no reason.

Source: IRK Films/ARY Films


The entertainment factor dwindled at most, with little flow in story and a very fast-paced script that proved messy

The film drags very much so, with misplaced item songs that pay no heed to improve the storyline, and only end up being fatuous. ‘Imagine’ wasn’t needed at all, and ‘Billo Hai’ should have been kept as a post-credit song. Instead, both were excruciating to watch as they only slowed down the pace of an already very jittery film. While the songs were choreographed well (done by Osman Khalid Butt), they were a tedious addition. The story, if constructed with more thought would have done justice. Instead, a potentially riveting narration drowned amidst cringy dialogues, inconsistent comedy as it precariously balances on weak writing. Nonetheless, it’s a solid start to Lollywood in 2018 and must be lauded for its valiant effort to bring something new to the table.

Source: IRK Films/ARY Films


Have you watched ‘Parchi?’ What are your thoughts on the film?

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