2 Average

Over the years, crop circles have mysteriously appeared at many places across the world. Many people have also reportedly claimed to have witnessed aliens and UFOs. Hollywood has gone all out in making some of the most memorable films on these extra-terrestrial phenomenons. As far as Bollywood is concerned, except Koi Mil Gaya (and Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai to an extent), none of the films had aliens as the centre of attention. In that context, Joker comes out at an apt time. But unfortunately, it turns out to be an amateurish attempt. Many jokes fall flat while the second half just doesn’t come out well. Sad, very sad, in fact, especially because the premise was so interesting!

The story of the movie: 1946. Due to a bizarre incident, the British failed to put Paglapur in the map of the country. 60 years hence, the place is still not on the map. Agastya (Akshay Kumar), a resident of the village has shifted base to USA and is trying since two years to communicate with the aliens with the help of a sophisticated device that he has created. However, his efforts don’t bear fruit and he has just few days to prove his worth to the people backing his project. When he learns that his father (Darshan Jariwala) is on the deathbed, he rushes to Paglapur along with his girlfriend Diva (Sonakshi Sinha). Agastya is pained to see the village’s condition even after 60 years of independence. Moreover, none of the three states bordering it are ready to make Paglapur part of their territory. This is when Agastya hits upon a novel idea to put the spotlight on his village.

There are millions of villages in our country, each with its own set of problems and challenges. The government and to an extent, the media too isn’t kind enough to address the problems of the villages on a regular basis or till the solution is found. Hence, when ‘Being Human’ doesn’t work, one must go for ‘Being Alien’ to make your village stand out from the rest! And this was certainly a very interesting idea by Shirish Kunder. But the script was ineffective. The world of Paglapur was imaginative but was too over the top. Few of the characters (of Sanjay Mishra, Vrajesh Hirjee and Pitobash) are anything but funny. Nevertheless, the film holds your interest till the very end. What helps is the fact that film is just 105 minutes long.

The first half still keeps things interesting and hopeful. But the second half spoils it all. The much-publicized ‘aliens’ don’t have much to do in the film. Moreover, the FBI, media, armymen etc don’t search for the aliens and merely stand at night outside the jungle and observe! Not done! The twist in the climax begins funnily but again, the film culminates with on an unconvincing note.

Joker boasts of lots of talented actors but only few have significant roles. Akshay Kumar as always plays his part effectively. Viewers might not like the film but would surely appreciate his performance. One can’t understand Akshay’s decision of not promoting Joker. Hopefully, OMG Oh My God, Special Chabbis and sequel to Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai would be added in the list of his hit films besides his blockbusters this year – Housefull 2 and Rowdy Rathore! Sonakshi Sinha looks stunning and plays her part well. But I am really dying to see her in an author-backed role. Because she deserves it and has the trappings of a brilliant performer!

Shreyas Talpade (Babban) was cute and funny as Agastya’s brother. From the villagers, Asrani leaves a mark, and also Darshan Jariwala to an extent. Vindoo Dara Singh raised laughs at few places. Sanjay Mishra, Asrani and the actor who plays Lord Falkland didn’t have much to do. Aarya Babbar’s presence made viewers feel that he’ll be having a substantial role. But sadly, he is there for just one scene. Same goes for Minissha Lamba who’s present for most part of the film but doesn’t get much to do and is not given many dialogues as well. Anjan Srivastava, Avtar Gill and the other minister play their part well. Gurpreet Ghuggi and Pitobash are wasted. Chitrangda Singh looks sizzling in the item number.

Gaurav Dagaonkar and G V Prakash Kumar’s music is peppy. Jugnu and Yeh Joker are the best songs of the lot and picturised well. Late Samir Chanda’s production design and Sukant Panigrahy’s art direction is impressive. Sudeep Chatterjee and Anay Goswami’s cinematography was brilliant.

Now to the man everyone’s talking about – Shirish Kunder! His editing and background score was decent. And as mentioned above, story was impressive but script fails to do justice. And so does his direction. One can argue that Joker isn’t a film to look for logic and that it’s a film targeted at kids. Firstly, logic can be overlooked and some of the best comic capers from Bollywood are the ones where logic and practicality has taken backseat. But these films seemed convincing while Joker isn’t. And secondly, are kids really happy with Joker? Also, take out any well-made kiddie film and one will realize that these were the films that were enjoyed by both, kids and adults alike. Joker will fail to entertain majority of children and grown-ups. A golden chance lost, very unfortunately!

On the whole, Joker rests on an interesting premise but script and direction play spoilsport. The ‘aliens’ that were all over the place pre-release don’t have much to do in the film. Reports suggest that Joker was made on reasonable costs. Even if it’s true, Joker will still find it tough to sustain at the box office.