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  • Nikhil Arora

    Nikhil Arora (50 DM Points)

    Desimartini | Updated - November 29, 2013 11:47 PM IST
    3.3DM (3531 ratings)

    Verdict - Joker is a guilty pleasure. Watch it without a strong bias for better results

    Joker(2012)Watch trailerRelease date : August 31, 2012

    Every month or two we get a big movie that everybody is looking forward to. Ek Tha Tiger and Cocktail were the ones that came recently. Then there are movies which have big stars like Ajay Devgn or Akshay Kumar that has bad word of mouth (even before the release of the film) and the marketing is unable to sell the movie. Joker, like Bol Bachchan, is one of those movies that don't manage to gather enthusiasm or expectations. This could fall in its favor or not. In case of Bol Bachchan, it fell in its favor as it had low expectations but turned out to be sufficiently entertaining. Joker will not. It doesn't have low expectations but it also has a strong collective bias. This bias that this film will not be good, will make many people either not visit the theater or hate it even if they do. As a character says in the movie Kaam chod ke jaadu ka show dekhne koi nahi aayega. To be honest, I was unimpressed by the trailers as well. But something happens when the lights go down and the film starts playing, that I shake off all the hype and bias, start on a fresh page and take the film as how it appeals to me.

    Joker begins with Agastya (Akshay Kumar) who has been working on a project to contact the aliens. Two years of effort has led to nothing. He is told that his father is on his death bed and goes to his hometown of Paglapur. Paglapur happens to be a city that is not on the Indian map and a prologue informs us why. Agastya's girlfriend (Sonakshi Sinha) accompanies him. She hates Paglapur and doesn't particularly want to go there. She is us. We don't want to go here either and scorn at each bizarre encounter. But slowly she begins to accept the town of Paglapur. Well, Shirish Kunder definitely showed me the passage. For about an hour, I was thoroughly entertained. The jokes were funny, the story was interesting, the production design was luminous, and there was one good song. I wasn't bored even for a second.

    The story also has some bits of Swades (2004). A warped version of Swades, that is. Agastya and the townsfolk make crop cricles and put on a show of the aliens arriving. Till here, the film is entertaining. It also had its downside as this hoax begins to get tedious; there is also a redundant romantic sub-plot of Shreyas Talpade and Minissha Lamba. In the final hour, it gets a bit stretched and I was losing interest. Well, to be honest, you might not even get there. You might have given up on this film already. I almost gave up on it too but the "Aanewala Aayega"song came on and it put a smile on my face again. There is an antagonist called Simon (his name is Simon Goeback, which I thought was pretty funny) and he is out with guns chasing Agastya to shoot him down and expose his sham. I wasnt with Simon here, I was the one running with Agastya. You know why? Because I was having more fun.

    I don't care what Shirish Kunder does in his real life. All I care about is what I see on screen and I enjoyed Jaan-E-Mann (2006), his debut film as well. This also brings me to Ra.One (2011). It was obviously faced with similar contempt, as Joker will receive. I enjoyed that film too. As a massive fan of sci-fi and fantasy, (If there can be a bias towards a movie, there can also be a bias for the genre right?) I even enjoy the bad stuff (Yes, I'm talking the B-grade 1940s Hollywood films). Ra.One had good marketing and a lot of buzz and that happened to work against it as people in India just don't respond to sci-fi or fantasy, because, well, let's face it is done badly. Joker and Ra.One both are bad movies in that sense as for a fantasy film to be plausible (not even realistic) you need to make it with either exemplary visual effects that are as authentic as possible or a story that has no shred of stupidity. This genre doesn't belong in the realm of commercial Bollywood filmmaking.

    Yes it isn't a good film but Joker, with all its idiocy, is my guilty pleasure of the year for the simple reason that it is fun. Not something with violence in slow-motion, not a remake of a South Indian film but good old Bollywood frivolity. Even if you don't enjoy this film as much as I did, please give it a chance, it just might not be as bad as you think. I'm still wary of recommending it because you might already hate this film. I'd take this over Tees Maar Khan (2010), which had a similar story of people putting up an elaborate hoax (which Farah Khan directed, not Shirish Kunder as popular opinion suggests). Hell, I'd even take Joker over Koi Mil Gaya (2003). At least it wasn't a shoddy remake of one of my favorite films ever and the real aliens didn't look like something made out of pulp and cardboard, the fake ones did.

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