Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

August 31, 2012

Joke’s on you!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 11:38 pm

August 31, 2012

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha, Shreyas Talpade, Minnisha Lamba, Asrani, Chitrangada Singh

Director: Shirish Kunder

In Joker, directed by Shirish Kunder, Akshay Kumar is cast as a committed NASA scientist. You can laugh now. Very likely it’s the only time you’ll laugh during this disappointing film.

Stripped down to its basics, there’s an interesting premise at the heart of Joker, but Kunder fails spectacularly in exploiting its potential. In a sequence parodying Swades, US-based Agastya (Kumar) returns home to Paglapur, an obscure village in North India that doesn’t even have access to basic amenities like water and electricity. Gathering the village’s crackpot residents, Agastya hatches a plan involving fake crop circles and aliens in a bid to get the world to take notice of his hometown. Even as the media and politicians descend upon Paglapur for a piece of the action, a rival American scientist shows up to expose Agastya’s hoax.

Despite its crisp 100-minute running time, Joker feels long and laborious because most of the gags are recycled. The humor is flat, and the characters plain silly. Like Ajay Devgan in Bol Bachchan recently, Asrani plays a professor who translates Hindi literally into English. Shreyas Talpade is a madcap who speaks in an odd tongue that nobody understands. We spot a kid suspended upside down from a ceiling; “He thinks he’s a lantern,” we’re informed.

It’s easy to write off Joker as a complete failure, but to give credit where it’s due, the film is less offensive than many Akshay Kumar films we’ve seen recently. Devoid of double-meaning dialogues and sexist jokes, there is stuff here that might have made for an engaging children’s film, had Kunder not fallen prey to that oldest mistake – of treating his audience like fools.

Akshay Kumar goes through his scenes earnestly; Kunder deserves praise for reining in his star, and not subjecting us to the kind of loud performances we’ve seen from Akshay in most comedies. Sonakshi Sinha, meanwhile, playing his supportive girlfriend who travels with him to Paglapur and is a willing participant in his alien-drama, has little to do but look pretty.

Joker unfolds briskly and predictably. Alas, just as you’re confronted with an unpredictable twist in the tale, the film comes to a screeching halt. Once again, an opportunity wasted.

I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for Joker. This is no enjoyable circus. Far from it.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. I saw this movie. ur rating is 1.5, but u did not complain it much. u said two three appreciations and one two despite things also. seriously this movie deserves a 2 stars, atleast it is better than tees maar khan for which u had given 2 out of 5, for its length and that noble story. u had no complaints much, still a shameful rating. First time i m disagreeing u.

    Comment by sudeep nair — August 31, 2012 @ 11:56 pm

  2. Really??
    Oh Masand, I really enjoyed it!
    Such a brilliant mixture of genres, of gaons and aliens, hats off to Shirish Kunder for giving comedy a new dimension!
    On another level, it’s a satire of how Govts hold back and only seem to help if it’s profitable for them, so in a sense, it’s a revolutionary film.
    Well, that’s what I took from it anyway.

    Think u’ve been very harsh here….

    Comment by Steve — September 1, 2012 @ 12:48 am

  3. I remember Mr Kunder saying “‘I just heard a 150 cr firework fizzle” about Ra.One ..After reading your review , looks like life’s come a full circle with him 🙂

    Comment by Shyam — September 1, 2012 @ 12:58 am

  4. BTW, love your honest reviews..keep them coming..

    Comment by Shyam — September 1, 2012 @ 12:59 am

  5. tiger will roar one more week..:-)

    Comment by Pankaj — September 1, 2012 @ 7:26 am

  6. Wrong Judgement, it only deserve a big ZERO!!

    Comment by Umesh Vyas — September 1, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

  7. mr. steve…………… no offence please………….. but are you shirish kunder……………. 😛

    Comment by tushant — September 1, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

  8. Lol.. why even bother rating such a movie.. reconsidering not to rate it?

    Comment by Kinnar — September 2, 2012 @ 12:31 am

  9. it was a complete waste of time and money.wat i simply cant understand is that how a director can make such a meaningless film after spendin such a huge amount of sum……………and thanks to u rajiv.keep ur unbaised reviews coming

    Comment by somnath — September 2, 2012 @ 12:38 am

  10. tiger nhi bandar …. 😀 hehehe …. ghatiya movie hai ek tha tiger …

    Comment by Aman — September 2, 2012 @ 2:00 am

  11. i don’t think so itzzz a very gud movie….
    u always r harsh 2 evry movie….
    i loved the movieeee…
    akki roxxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

    Comment by shubham bhat — September 2, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

  12. The plot of JOKER is copied from marathi movie BHARATIYA released recently!!!

    Comment by Ajinkya Rajurkar — September 3, 2012 @ 1:01 am

  13. waste of money not only ours but akshays too

    Comment by harsh — September 3, 2012 @ 1:36 am

  14. Another rubbish from makers of tees maar khan….i.e Farah khan producer and shirish kunder….dont watch it…shirin farhad of Farah is better and simple movie…..

    Comment by rohit25 — September 3, 2012 @ 9:26 am

  15. @Steve: goan wala m aliens…………………Omg i didnt knew they were genere’s
    Steve we knw ur shirish kunder……….
    how can this b called comedy……………..wen out of all evn akshay kumar didnt like it.
    Shirish shud stop writing editing n directing ………………..

    Comment by Ankit Sharma — September 8, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

  16. shirish kunder must go for classes to improve his skills
    Akki have to come out from farah khan & shirish kunder camp
    Time to move on akki
    I just heard a 40 cr firework fizzle

    Comment by Prashob — September 9, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

  17. lols…worst movie of all time..it will definitely compete with RGVs Aag..

    Comment by Rahul — September 24, 2012 @ 11:40 pm

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