Joker: Half baked and farcical

Mumbai: Joker, when planned, was an ambitious venture, with a lot of special effects and 3D release plans. Somewhere along the line, all the ambitions were pushed back till the film got its unceremonious release. It is surprising that there have been no efforts to promote the film. 

The  makers as well as the artistes seem to have shied away from the project. After watching the film, one knows why. Joker is described by the producers as fantasy-adventure film. This is not quite an apt description. The problem is that the film fits into no genre; it is just an outcome of the maker‘s fancy. The only adventure one can think of is the very idea of making this film.

Akshay Kumar is some sort of whiz in the US. An American group has invested billions of dollars in him so he can communicate with aliens. Kumar‘s two-year term for doing this job is over and it can‘t be extended. To make matters worse, one of his detractors in the group wants to take over the control of the project. However, he is granted a single month‘s extension. But Kumar is called back to his native village on account of his father‘s (Darshan Jariwala) illness. He returns to his village, Paglapur, with Sonakshi Sinha, his ‘friend‘, in tow.

Paglapur is an orphan village in that, during partition, though it remained in India it did not fall within the boundaries of any state despite bordering three of them. The village has no representation in any government and hence no water supply nor electricity and no education. The village was once well known for its mental hospital but its inmates broke loose and burnt the whole village the very night a British surveyor was on his way to the village to decide on its fate. He had to turn back without doing his job.

Kumar‘s father was not unwell after all and this was a ploy to get him to return. But, seeing the plight of his orphan village, he decides to stay back and do something that will get his village recognition. He meets three ministers all of whom refuse to take the responsibility since the village is not within their vote bank. Helpless, Kumar decides to do something drastic to draw the media and the ministers‘ attention to his village. He fabricates a story about UFOs and aliens landing in his village. The alien, one of the villagers, is decorated with various colours, vegetables and fruits. He is also an ace runner as he would need a quick escape if followed.

The word spreads: the village is invaded by media of all hues, with the three politicians quick to follow. As if by miracle, the village gets electricity and water from all the three states around it. There is illumination all round and there is the mandatory nachna-gaana. That is what Sinha is in the cast for, besides the item girls brought in as is the norm nowadays.

But the bubble of lies and fabricated aliens has to burst. Kumar‘s American detractor can‘t digest the idea of an alien having come to Akshay‘s village. He arrives soon enough to nail the fraud. Also, the three neighbouring states may now want to own Paglapur but it seems the US is also very concerned and sends not only an armed-to-the-teeth FBI force but also tanks and helicopters to kill the aliens which it sees as a potential threat to its own safety! The fraud is exposed and the electricity and water supply vanish from the village as miraculously as they had arrived. Paglapur is orphaned again.

But to paraphrase an old belief in relation to this film: ‘Jiska koi nahi hai, uska Alien hotta hai‘, a spaceship and an alien soon descends on Paglapur. They had received Kumar‘s communication two years earlier but took that much time to verify his credentials before coming down! While departing, the alien gifts the village an oil field and everybody celebrates by showering in this gushing oil.

Joker, at best, can be described as a farce. Thus what the bunch of actors do is buffoonery; there is no scope for acting or impact. Kumar‘s fans may be disappointed since he does not have a single action scene. Sinha is just a prop. Rest of the cast is always in group and whatever they do is not acting. The film has a couple of good tunes which, alas, are not in tune with the events on screen.

Joker is a half-baked, ill-conceived film doomed to disaster.

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