Saturday, September 1, 2012

Joker is a big fat joke in Shrish Kunder's oeuvre, if he has one

The bubble has burst. Shirish Kunder's dream of many years, Joker, has arrived. To say the least and yet say it all, Kunder is doomed. Here's why. Long ago, Kunder pitched the idea of Joker to Shahrukh Khan, who chided at him for coming up with such garbage. Kunder took offence to it and swore by his long locks that he will go ahead and make it. Gritty and goaded with a purpose, Kunder did manage to make Joker 3-4 years later and get UTV Films and Akshay Kumar on board. However, the problems didnt end there. Joker was supposed to be shot/converted to 3D and release as India's first 3D film. That didnt happen. It was also pinned to be Akshay and Kunder's multi-crore dream that is staged in grand. Even this did not happen. Kunder fell out with Akshay and got slapped by SRK at a party. That did happen.

Mostly everyone in the cast and crew bailed out on Kunder right upto its release due to 'creative differences'. UTV drowned their sorrows a month of ago, sitting put in the wake of a washout. Kunder's wife and co-producer, Farah Khan, was nice enough to launch her acting debut barely a week before the release of Joker. Akshay also remained obscure in all promotional campaigns due to his 'shoot schedules', but found enough time to promote his other release Oh My God at every possible platform. The first trailer of Joker garnered only negative vibes due to its tacky feel and amateurish idiocy. So did every other consequent promo, with the marketing campaign consisting of Chitrangada Singh talking about it and the fruit-looking aliens making public appearances, including at SRK's house, after Kunder had said sorry to him on Twitter. You know what to expect out of a film if the satellite rights have been bought by Zee Cinema. Kunder pushed for Joker, aided by Farah in the last one week, but now he can go back to editing films only or watch his worst nightmares come true.

In all honesty, I feel bad for Shirish Kunder and would save some ridiculing for some other time. To be fair, Joker is vested in a novel idea, just like the despicably directed Jaaneman, Kunder's debut venture. Unlike the obnoxiously loud and chronically moronic Tees Maar Khan which he wrote, Kunder had the right intentions with Joker, but is still reprehensible for a movie that even the most lenient of 'critics', had ugly things to say about. Joker is doused with cringe-inducing weak plotting that leaves you with no reaction, not even anger or disgust. Kunder's writing and direction are astoundingly inane, with a grave attempt to dispense with any research or common sense. Unlike Akshay's recent megahits, Housefull 2 and Rowdy Rathore, Joker never gets annoyingly loud or caricaturish-ly lame, yet the ham-fisted writing and amateurish direction makes it falls flat on the ground. Akshay Kumar plays a NASA scientist who is building a supremely garish machine to communicate with the aliens as Kunder attempts his jokes weaved around a town that has a history of residing dumb people, since there was an asylum in the town once before India's independence. Akki plays Agastya whose brother is named Babban, the village of Paglapur has all resources, including getting Chitrangada to do an item number with a large crew, before they fight for them again, a bunch of scenes are filmed as circuitous repetitions in the same setting, unoriginal comic tracks include Asrani translating English lines to Hindi with a Nazi hangover and schmaltzy dialogues that state the obvious with much effect are the order of the day. In one scene, Babban, played by Shreyas Talpade, who is playing a leaf out of Tusshar Kapoor's character in Golmaal series speaking gibberish, talks to a 'real' alien, who apparently understands his language and apparently speaks the same. Really? You see, thats how you would feel all through the short run-time of 100 odd minutes of Joker.

Joker comes across as an appalling half-baked product that had incompleteness stretched on its face, almost in all technical aspects also. The unusually weak scripting is accompanied by stuttering tonal shifts and shameful production that will induce a soggy deflation of the 50Cr balloon. If you manage to seat yourself through to the end credits, you will see Kunder's name re-appearing in almost all departments of production. Its almost as if everyone except for Kunder got disinterested in the project midway. The Production Design by Samir Chanda is gawdy and listless. Cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee is wistful and lacks energy. The visual effects by Prime Focus are shoddily done, being blurry at most instances. The action or the sound, nothing brings out the racy effect or the sublimity required in scenes. Music by G.V. Prakash Kumar is incredulous, without one single memorable track.

Its relieving to see Akshay Kumar taking a break from his over-the-top tomfoolery but he does not offer anything else to Joker either. Sleepwalking through a crippled script definitely seemed the easiest way to go about it, and to top it all, he left the project much before its release paralyzing its release. Sonakshi Sinha is increasingly assuring of her incapability to act, squandering away her time in pointless roles. If you look at Shreyas Talpade in Joker, you will have difficulty in believing that he ever did a movie like Iqbal. Minnisha Lamba has a couple of scenes with air being thrown at her hair, and two dialogues in the whole movie. Asrani, Darshan Jariwala and Vrajesh Hirjee are seen suffering from hangover of all other roles they have done. Vindu Dara Singh and the usually dependable Sanjay Mishra are found contributing the couple of chuckles that you might have during Joker. Pitobash is wasted in an inexorably inconsequential role. Chitrangada Singh looks smoky as long as the item number lasts, but her looks fail to salvage the trite affairs of things.

Despite Kunder being deeply passionate about Joker, it comes out as an overbearingly weak film. He must relinquish his ideas of direction because his skills are several notches below anyone who wants to be a writer/director. Joker is the kind of film that is not a pepper spray worthy secret ploy to grab cash but is also a film that gets the biggest production house backing it when writing is clumsily amateurish. Such a waste of resources! The film has taken a dull start at the Box Office and is bound to sink very soon. Over the past few days, almost everyone in the world of media and films had predicted this outcome for the movie and Joker lives upto it. I can try to tell you to go watch it out of pity for Kunder, but I cant, and I wont.

Rating - 1/5

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