20 September, 2014 / Ziqa'ad 24, 1435

Movie Review: Joker

Published Sep 06, 2012 05:34pm

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Joker stars Akshay Kumar, Shreyas Talpade, and Sonakshi Sinha. – Courtesy photo.

In a village of enthusiastic crack-pots, a lonesome sane man is king. But when that man cooks-up a plan that rests on alien-sighting, one cannot help but question his wit (and that of its filmmakers).

In one of those scenes where seriousness is not-so-seriously implied, we see Shreyas Talpade, kneeling down, having a serious heart-to-heart with Bhagwan in a nearly-ruined temple. His expressions, physically and at times phonetically exaggerated, tell us of his quarrel with the creator just fine; Mr. Talpade, an actor of immense talent, has little choice but not to exaggerate, because writer Shirish Kunder’s screenplay has him speaking tongues.

Mr. Talpade plays Akshay Kumar’s younger brother called Babban, and his language, made-up of rotating garbles, make little sense to us or the natives of Paglapur – a desolate village, sans electricity, irrigation –as far as I could see – women, and sanity. At least that’s the wishy-washy notion Joker – now running in cinemas across Pakistan – tries to sell.

Paglapur exists without borders or ownership. Left out of judiciary and maps, the village’s original natives fled when their neighborhood nut-house was freed of its inmates back in pre-partition days. Although near-invisible today, Paglapur still lives in infamy. No one – government or corporates alike – drops by to say hello or to grub the land off its simple-minded (read: harmless) nut-jobs.

In another part of the world (the US) we meet Agastya (Akshay Kumar) who works for a private cutting-edge astro-research firm. The company is so advanced that its executives attend meetings via holographic-projection.

Believing in science-fiction than science-fact, this company has funded Agastya’s quixotic extra-terrestrial communications device, that actually wraps-up into a portable briefcase (will wonders never cease?!).

So far the device, a blinking console of slack design, is a dud, and Agastya has a month to produce results. But, as it happens in movies, Agastya gets a call from home, and he flies back to India with his live-in girl-friend (called “friend”, as if live-in girl-friends are an alien concept in new-gen India).

His “friend” is Diva (Sonakshi Sinha), a beauty with big kajal’d lashes, who tags along almost all scenes with few reactionary dialogues. Like most routine Bollywood heroine’s Ms. Sinha is little more than beautified window-dressing. But then again, Joker is a pop-corn movie – and that automatically warrants a female lead for dance numbers (the film’s score is by G. V. Prakash Kumar, A.R. Rahman’s nephew, and Gaurav Dagaonkar, and the beats are passable enough).

And so Diva and Agastya arrive at Paglapur, Agastya’s native village, and end up fabricating an extra-terrestrial hoax – crop-circles, bad-alien costumes and the whole shebang – in a bid to grapple media attention.

While Agastya’s intentions are noble – government notice, irrigation and electricity – his crack at the problem lacks focus and basic logic (for example, how can a village without electricity power a Mac Book? Or embroider a blinking-string of bulbs in an alien-costume made out of fruits in Guinness-record time?).

Mr. Kunder works-up a nasty mess by employing a story that any teenage writer can jerrybuild in the middle of the night, only to crumple and toss its paper the next morning (it is said the project was in development for several years).

But judging by the slap-stick nature of the movie, Mr. Kunder is darn-tootin’ proud of his creation – may it be pedestrian, lackluster or predictable. Even the dried-up puns or buffoonery don’t help as much as Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khan (one song in the movie was once called I Want Fakht You, which sounds like sexual inducement – thankfully, it has been censored to I Want Just You).

Mr. Kunder is a jack of many chores (he works the writing, lyrics, direction, editing and visual effects) – and here, he is perhaps the chief benefactor for Joker’s lack of intellect or comedy.

So what if a few jokes, mostly credible to Mr. Talpade’s garbling, work. Sometimes, a few just ain’t enough.


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Comments (16) (Closed)


s.subrahmanyam
Sep 08, 2012 02:28pm
Why bother to even discuss such rubbish. Akshay Kumar acts in movies for retards.
bolly wood fan.
Sep 11, 2012 10:59am
Brother Changez we indians here in dubai pay 40 to 50 dirhams per movie and it is equivalent to 700 IRS we watch a new release every week 2.5 million of indians watch a new release in uae.Also it is not jut about money as the non indians that go out and wait for indian movies to be released what impression do they have and do you think these people will return to thetares again without reading the reviews of the movie so in other word it is again a loss. the shirt ir respective of color can be worn for years if the quality is good.
bolly wood fan.
Sep 11, 2012 10:52am
But has mr shirish ghai chopra has tried to elaborate to the masses and tell me how many people in india know about the solar panel? anyways there are a lot of questions that have no answers in the movie.This is a brecah of trust to the global indian movie fans and people have litreally wasted time and money for this Beautiful mind"story. Not making us proud lol!
faheem
Sep 11, 2012 10:38am
akshay kumar the greatest living legend & real superstar of indian cinema
kimi
Sep 08, 2012 08:48pm
haha.. agreed
03313501359
Sep 08, 2012 01:05pm
boring movie........ waste ov time
bolly wood fan.
Sep 07, 2012 03:03pm
Joker?Shirish let me ask you what was the history behind taking akshay to US?How does a lap top work where there is no electricity?sorry friend i have more questions for you but they will embarass you and the industry as the industry has talented film makers.i think you need some one like aamir khan to tell you movie making is not your profession may be you are destined to sell pampers:)
xohaib
Sep 09, 2012 01:27am
give me back the precious 2 hours of my life i wasted on watching this movie, crap, and the most disgusting story ever....why on earth nobody told the director in the middle of making this flop of the century to stop this nonsense idea and bury it in his head then and there......
Hasnain
Sep 07, 2012 12:52pm
every one says it is a bad movie and now i know why. akshay does not make too many good movies in his career
lol
Sep 08, 2012 11:34pm
solar power can power laptop....! you need small solar panel....!
Gemini
Sep 07, 2012 08:43am
It's a third class bogus movie. I have wasted my money.
Harish
Sep 08, 2012 10:37am
Kunderis the biggest joker. Proved by this movie.
naresh
Sep 07, 2012 12:17pm
It is a good movie
Prashant Mane
Sep 07, 2012 01:16pm
I am fan of Aksay Kumar . Sorry to comment . ... This is third class flim .. donot waste your time and money.
KhanChangezKhan
Sep 09, 2012 05:50am
At least once a movie could be seen. Without that how can any one ould comment, either it is bad or good. Everyone's view is different than the others. Similarly two brothers went to purchase shirts for them from a garment shop. Although they purchased shirts for them of same brand but their choice of color was different. In my point of view, a joker should provide entertainment of lough by any mean, either by 100%, 50%, 25% or else. Comments only to be of the percentage of parameters.
Gaurav Arya
Sep 07, 2012 05:25am
Surprised that a newspaper of the high standing and caliber of Dawn would review junk like "Joker". I am grateful to my friend Shehzad who went to see this movie with his family and immediately sent me a message saying that I should avoid it at all costs. Normally, Shehzad would see a bad movie and give a good review so that all of us friends suffered with him. But for Joker, poor Shehzad did not have the heart to do this to his friends. Joker is a special case. My respects to Kunder. Yeah...he is the guy who made fun of SRK's "Ra One". Who's the "Joker" now???