JOKER is a Hindi feature film which released today (on 31st August, 2012). This film has been directed by Shirish Kunder and has been produced by Akshay Kumar, Farah Khan & Shirish Kunder under the banner of Hari Om Entertainment, Three's Company & UTV Motion Pictures. It falls in the genre of comedy, but does it make you laugh? You can read the review below before watching the film.
Story : Agastya (Akshay Kumar) is a NASA scientist. He is working on a project to make contact with the aliens. NASA has spent millions of dollars over his project but despite the deadline (of 2 years) he has failed to give positive result. His rival makes fun of his project but he requests for some more time. He is given one month's time to prove his capability. He is there with Diva Raj Khurana (Sonakshi Sinha). But he gets message from his village that his baba was ill and was at his last stage. Akshay comes to India with Sonakshi and goes to his village to see his baba. But after staying there for sometime he discovers that his baba was just pretending to be ill so that he could be called.
Feeling cheated, he starts going back, because he also has to complete his project within the given deadline. But soon he realizes that his village needed him more than anything else so he decides to stay there and tries to get his village's problems solved by meeting a few ministers. But soon he comes to know that his village was not on the map of India so no one was ready to take the responsibility of the development of his village. Eventually, he makes a plan to help his village.
Performance : Akshay Kumar is good. In fact he has performed his character very well and is the soul of the film. Sonakshi Sinha doesn't have any significant role and so does not impress. She doesn't even look so beautiful and appears to have gained weight. Since she has very less to do, she couldn't even impress you through her performance. Even solo songs are not picturized on her. Vindoo Dara Singh has done very well even though his role is small. When other characters are being focused and zoomed by the DOP he maintains to do something to look natural. However, his character is not clear. Chitrangada Singh is okay in an item song. Darshan Jariwala has got enough footage and has justified his part. He makes you smile at a few places. Hirjee has nothing to do and does not impress you. He has been wasted. Shreyas Talpade's role is confusing and not clear till the end yet he managed to act well and make you smile at some places and get into the character (what was his character only its creator can tell you). Anjan Shriwastwa in a small role of neta has done well. Avtar Gill as another neta is also good but has very small role. Sanjay Mishra also has got very less footage and he doesn't get space to impress you. Minissha Lamba as a journalist is just okay. Asrani is good in the beginning but not till the end because you do not know where he has vanished.
Script : Its story is written by the director itself which is not convincing. To make your village known to others you can't play such silly tricks if you are a NASA scientist. It has proved that before Akshay's rival could reveal the truth, no one else could find the truth or even get the inkling what was going on! Its screenplay again has been written by Shirish Kunder which is not at all impressive. It rotates just in one village and no noise is seen elsewhere (except a few scenes). Only the end is good which was as expected.
Music : Music is composed by G.V. Prakash Kumar & Gaurav Dagaonkar which is dull. Except one song, all others are unimpressive. 'Kafiraana' has been sung well by Sunidhi Chauhan. However, it appears to be useless song in the film. 'Jugnu' sung by Udit Narayan is also not so impressive and you won't want to hear it again and again. 'Singh Raja' sung by Daler Mehendi doesn't create any magic either.
Lyrics : All the songs are written by Shirish Kunder and none of them are powerful or impressive.
Cinematography : The DOPs (Anay Goswami & Sudeep Chaterjee) have done a good job and captured the shots well.
Editing : Shirish Kunder had edited several films and before becoming a director he was an editor, however, he could not edit his own film in an impressive way. Though editing is not bad but it could have been better. But when you are doing everything you fail to deliver your best in your own field in which you're specialized.
Choreography : It is said that Farah Khan has choreographed its songs but it doesn't appear so because steps are not so impressive or special. The movements and the steps can be said to be just okay or average. In some songs Sonakshi has been kept at margin and junior characters are highlighted. Either it is a mistake of the choreographer or the editor because in many cases choreographer takes the shots but the editor doesn't place or pick up the right shot which spoils the content and theme. Also the choreography of a few songs reminds you of the film 'Lagaan'.
Art Direction : Art director fails to impress in this film! Either the art director has done too much to make it believable (which goes against it because it appears to be unbelievable) or had in mind to create a horror location. The set of the village created (or is it natural? I doubt) gives you the feelings of horror effect rather than an isolated village where people live. This village has been isolated by others, but villagers live here so how could it appear like that!
Costume : It appears that costume department has copied most of the dresses from 'Lagaan' which is not so impressive.
Direction : The direction is weak. Taking shots isn't enough as a director. You must know what are your characters, what they are doing, where they are heading etc. What Akshay Kumar does to highlight his village is childish and unconvincing! The way he starts leaving his village after knowing that his Baba was not ill and had given him wrong news of his illness just to call him and the way the villagers save him from the bog/marsh appears silly and unconvincing. Its makers might have thought that it would create humor but it creates irritation instead.
Plus Points : The performances of a few actors such as Akshay Kumar, Vindoo Dara Singh etc. The aliens' spaceship in the last scene; Message of the Film
Minus Points : Script; direction; Music; execution
Conclusion : Even though it is a clean film and made with an intention to make you laugh, it doesn't do so. Most of the actors are wasted; even Sonakshi Sinha is wasted.
Box Office Predictions : Even though no big films release with it, due to poor execution this film will face very difficulty to earn even its making cost. If Akshay didn't charge for it (due to home production) then it may just recover its making cost because it appears to be a low budget film (if you exclude the remuneration of Akshay Kumar).
Overall Review : There is a bit fun when Akshay goes to meet the ministers one by one and who first agree to help him out but soon they go back on their words and refuse to help his village. When the journalists reach his village and the way they start reporting also create a little humor. When Akshay comes to India for the first time with Sonakshi and is on the way to his village 'Paglapur' the director has tried to create a bit fun where he succeeds in parts but soon he looses his grip on the film and film becomes weak and you feel cheated. You get nothing more except boring and irritating scenes. The interval point is very weak and when the film ends you feel cheated because you have hardly got anything worth watching. You wonder how US sent force in India and why they don't fire when they encounter aliens and if they don't have to do anything why they keep their weapons pointing towards the aliens-all the time.
And didn't Agastya even think once what would happen to the villagers if the soldiers would open fire on them?
Verdict : If you have nothing to do and want to pass time with whatever you get, you can go for it!