Taking the audience for granted is unforgiveable for any filmmaker. Shirish Kunder does that and more by treating viewers as downright unintelligent. What he calls a film is beyond unpardonable this time around.
The plot: ‘Yeh toh bus shuruat hai..,’ says an amused Agastya (Akshay Kumar) to his friend Diwa (Sonakshi Sinha) as they fly down from America to Paglapur, a town with the biggest mental asylum in an undiscovered part of India. In Kunder’s brain, right after Independence, patients from the asylum fled into their own hole, making it impossible for anyone to enter their town. Agastya grew up amongst this bunch but no, he didn’t lose his mind, it expanded enough to fetch him a scholarship and move to America to become a scientist. Soon his curiosity grows to discover a world of aliens, way beyond our own. The still-backward natives of Paglapur love Agastya and nose him out as their only saviour from a life of drudgery. It’s soon the return of the native.
Using the most obvious ploys like aliens, discovery of oil etc, Agastya manages to put global focus on this undiscovered spot in India. Very soon, you realise that Agastya’s dialogue, ‘Yeh toh bas shuruat hai...’ was a warning to his audience to flee the theatre before they lose their minds a la Kunder.
The good: The film does show how corrupt our politicians can be, they don’t give a rat’s ass about the development of the nation. But zzzz, that’s a ‘discovery’? Zzzz, is just what the rest of the spiel is unless you can giggle at a kid hanging upside down and his smile being used as electricity, which also happens to be a copy of an advertisement.
Akshay Kumar’s sincerity is in no doubt as he does go through even the endless absurdities with misplaced conviction. There’s also Shreyas Talpade as Agastya’s brother Babban, who pulls off a part that’s pure gibberish, and Minissha Lamba as Tanya, a news reporter, who is wasted.There are some genuinely funny moments like the Paglapurians having their own Independence Day and their fairly amusing reaction to everything that Agastya says in English. But this too, soon loses its fizz.
The bad: In a town that doesn’t have electricity, madam Sonakshi uses an apple laptop, adding to the general mindlessness. There are far too many songs, most of them not even adding to the ‘madness’ quotient. If the writing of Tees Maar Khan revealed delinquency, Shirish Kunder’s direction in Joker simply compounds the belief that there is illogical eccentricity also at work here. If making people wear green painted capsicum and bitter gourd and adding yellow/blue lights to their eyes to look like an alien is humour, then showing the President of America falling for this appalling apparition is enough to walk out of the movie hall.
Overall: You get the drift, right? The joke’s on you if you read this and still buy yourself a ticket.
– Pooja Thakkar