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Movie review: Joker

This is a film that needed to be fable-like for it to work,but it turns out not even to be a farce.

Cast:Akshay Kumar,Sonakshi Sinha,Shreyas Talpade,Minissha Lamba,Asrani

Director: Shirish Kunder

Indian Express Rating:*

At one point,a character in ‘Joker’ says : sweet mother of god,what the hell is going on? In my humble opinion,he leaves it too late. I tried saying much the same as soon as the film opens,but I couldn’t get it passed my dropped jaw. Within a couple of minutes,the films establishes that it will connect the dots between a NASA scientist in search of aliens,and a village that fell off the map somewhere in the middle of India,and a bunch of ‘mad’ people. A NASA man in search of aliens? A village populated by ‘maniacs’ that fell off the map somewhere in the middle of India? Seriously? Could this be the film that would really be completely and entertainingly out of the box? I was all set to be regaled. But it was not to be,not once in its mercifully short run time of less than two hours.

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This is what passes for a plot. NASA scientist Agastya ( Kumar) and his girl-friend ( Sinha) live in America,but come racing back to Paglapur,only to find that his father is not dying,but his village is. Because there is no water. So just like that other NASA scientist in ‘Swades’ who wanted his’ gaon’ to get ‘bijli’,Agastya aka Sattu goes foraging for ‘paani’. And runs into a zillion roadblocks. This gives Kumar the chance to run around playing rustic in a ‘dhoti’ and ‘kurta’,Sinha to don a lehenga-choli and pull faces,Talpade to spout strings of gibberish,and the film to lurch about in a manner that only be described,extremely politely,as outlandish.

Because Sattu hits upon an otherworldly plan to get his village back into national consciousness : to take the help of aliens,by channelling Manoj Night Shyamalan and Steven Spielberg. A white American who hates Sattu’s guts and keeps gnashing his teeth,descends upon Paglapur,and adds to the lunacy underway,which comprises people hanging upside down,using ropes to navigate trees,and other things too ludicrous to detail.

Can kids watch this,I asked myself as I watched this all-over-the-place faradiddle. And then I dismissed it. Because even children,especially children,need a story that holds,and characters that engage. This is a film that needed to be fable-like for it to work,but it turns out not even to be a farce. What was Akshay Kumar thinking? What was anyone thinking? Were they,at all?

shubhra.gupta@expressindia.com

First published on: 31-08-2012 at 05:36:16 pm
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