wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)

quick review:

Joker is very intentionally silly and gets cute at times. It keeps things simple despite the seemingly complicated situation it gets itself into and it is clean. If you don't mind some childish fun, wait for the DVD release. And if you do, you are better off skipping it.

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Director: Shirish Kunder
Running time: 105 minutes
Genres: Comedy, Social
More Movie Info

Joker - Preview

I must say that Joker does invoke curiosity in the promos after you get past the typical loudness of a masala film. Just when you are about to dismiss the trailer as yet another mindless action-comedy starring Akshay Kumar, the concept makes you smile and hope that maybe this once we have something really different from what we've seen in Hindi films so far. The protagonist inviting attention towards his tiny, irrelevant village by creating aliens. He needs to do this because this village is ignored by the rest of the world.

There is lots of scope for comedy and action in this and I am looking forward to it. However, the hope doesn't go too far because there's always a high chance that Akshay Kumar and Shirish Kunder will make it into a regular slapstick.

Not to mention, watching Sonakshi Sinha doesn't make me too eager. Not that, I look forward to seeing Akshay Kumar and his histrionics. I guess all hope is then banked upon the story and the potential for entertainment it hold. Unfortunately, the music doesn't seem to have gone down well with most.

Music Reviews:
Milliblog - "Poor Hindi debut by GV Prakash Kumar."
Music Aloud – "5/10"
dunkdaft - "First Bollywood outing of G V Prakash is interesting. A soundtrack that is perfect and in-line with the theme, Joker - only leaves us wanting for more. More by the composer."
Bollyspice – "2.5/5"
Apun Ka Choice – "2.5/5"

- meeta, a part of the audience

Joker is not your typical Akshay Kumar action-comedy. It starts of being and looking silly, stays so and ends up even sillier. But this is not the regular slapsticky comedy either. It is cute silly. The characters of the obscure village Paglapur have their quirks as you would expect, but they react consistently with their character without getting too repetitive. And the repetition is mostly enjoyable.

A lot of the repetition being tolerable has to do with the perfect length of the film. At a good 15 minutes less than two hours, Joker is just right to make the goofing about acceptable. The complete absence of toilet humor and innuendos feels so fresh in a product like this. But that is what Joker's humor is not. The humor that it does have too, is pretty situational and induces hearty laughs.

Unfortunately, the humor fizzles out as Joker turns its focus towards the story. While trying to literally bring Paglapur on the map, the story that Agastya (Akshay Kumar) and company cook up goes out of control. Which would have been fine for the genre that writer, Shirish Kunder wants to keep the film in. But the fun fizzles out and the characters start focusing on the logistics of when and how.

While, logistics and logic are welcome in any story, in the fantasy world of Paglapur – where the nights are lit with lanterns made out of fireflies – they distract you from the fun. Not that there is any consistency in logic through the film – for example, a village so remote that it has no power supply, but has electricity to light up the village like it's Christmas not to mention has mobile and internet connection. And oh, this dot of a village is not devoid of item numbers - Maharashtrian ones at that, bang in the middle of the Hindi belt.

It is such things that were so easy to take care of and would have added an additional layer of humor. And this inconsistency with sudden focus on the dry story that pulls Joker down. Else, I'd have shocked myself by actually liking this one. As is, I am a little surprised to think of the film as 'not bad'. Especially if you think of it as a film for children that adults can go to, too.

The storyline involving aliens and such is not only in the kid zone, the commentary on Indian politics might also be quick education for kids on what's lined up for them in years to come. Except for the item number, of course. The story in fact, does come across as a bunch of kids sitting around playing, "make a story" where every child in turn contributes one line to a story that is built right there as the game progresses. Joker is fun in that kind of a way. Also, Joker does have a lot of other social commentary and analogies thrown in for us to notice.

Moreover, this is the rare chance for us to watch Akshay Kumar not play himself but stick to his character. While it is much too serious a comparison, his character reminded me Mohan from Swades. There are no histrionics, no slow-mo entries, no glamour, no super-hero attitude. He plays plain and simple Agastya who's conscious suddenly wakes up to do well for his village. The rest of the cast has Shreyas Talpade playing one of the most hilarious characters. And this too is well-served by use in appropriate measure and not overdoing it. The other men bring in their laughs too – from Vrijesh Hirjee to Asrani. The women on the other hand have precious little to do and the film could have pretty much done without their characters.

They together form this fantasy land, Paglapur, which might as well have been Lilliput from Gulliver's Travels. Unfortunately, it doesn't end with the same dose and style of humor as it starts with. And the story is childish while trying to maintain an adult interest in it. A little bit of neither here nor there and yet a welcome change from what we have come to expect from a Akshay Kumar film.

- meeta, a part of the audience

47 reviewers(?) - 1 yays 7 so-so 39 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Rachit Gupta, Filmfare : ... Like the Indian cricket team this film is so strong on paper that its genuine talent shines through its lacklustre and downright shoddy execution. ... full review

So-So, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...Nonsense comedies, however, are rarer – these are films where the audience has to be reasonably alert, tuning their antennae to a certain frequency, a certain vibe, and at least for a while, it seemed to me that Shirish Kunder was on to a solid nonsense comedy with Joker... full review

So-So, by Smita, Desi Martini : ...Take the kids and enjoy this movie. ... full review

So-So, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ...The fundamental flaw of the film is that the moment where you feel there's something actually happening in the story, the film ends. ... full review

So-So, Movie Talkies : ...downright silly and predictable but does make you laugh at some places... full review

So-So, by Karan Anshuman, Mumbai Mirror : ...proceedings get a little too fantastical and unconvincing even in this distorted reality... full review

So-So, by Ruchi Mehta, Roochster : just OK... full review

So-So, by Srijana Mitra Das, Times of India : ...Joker is literally a mad comedy, its real star its jokes... full review

Thumbs down, by Stefan S, A Nutshell Review : ...It all goes down from there however, as the ludicrous is piled upon by more ludicrous, and the jokes are just plain unfunny. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Nikhil Kumar, Apun Ka Choice : ...Amid all this barrage of unrelenting idiocy, one’s heart does go out to Akshay Kumar, poor soul foisted with this joke of a film.... full review

Thumbs down, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks : ...a disappointment due to its mediocre and awful treatment (including the script, execution or direction)... full review

Thumbs down, by Prateeksha Khot, Bolly Spice : ...Although really not that bad as some are making it out to be, there is no doubt that this Joker could have been funnier.... full review

Thumbs down, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the brighter side, the setting and structures look magical and to build an entire story around a desolate village must have been enchanting. ... full review

Thumbs down, by rathamesh Jadhav, Bollywood Life : ...can easily be called the joke of the year….and a bad one!... full review

Thumbs down, by Charu A Mahesh, Buzz in Town : ...But despite the short length the film loses pace just before the climax. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ... it’s too silly to be effective satire, it’s too insincere to be a help-the-poor plea (like Swades), its tackiness ruins the small sci-fi bit, it’s not cute enough to appeal to kids... full review

Thumbs down, by Suparna Sharma, Deccan Chronicle : ...Whatever Hollywood may have us believe, according to Bollywood, aliens are not just dullards, but will pick the dumbest amongst us for friends, and as dance partners.... full review

Thumbs down, by Ameetbhuvan, Desi Martini : ...The best part about Sirish Kunder's Akshay Sonakshi starrer Joker is that it runs for an hour and forty five minutes only. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Akanksha Naval-Shetye, DNA : ...Punctuated by unrequired songs, the film goes on from being silly to bizarre to ridiculous, all in a rather short span of time. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Aniruddha Guha, DNA : ...Joker would scare aliens away... full review

Thumbs down, by Trisha Gupta, FirstPost : ...Shirish Kunder’s Joker isn’t short on starting premises. But a film that hopes to fly all these kites simultaneously can only be setting itself up for a spectacular fall. And boy, does it crash and burn.... full review

Thumbs down, Free Press Journal : ...The performances are over- the- top , the narration lacks the spoofyness that could have made the film enjoyable and the VFX is just woefully substandard.... full review

Thumbs down, by Nupur Barua, : ...The concept may be a rather unusual one, but to translate it into a movie is not something that the director seems equipped to do. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Martin D'Souza, : ...Poor Shreyas Talpade, he is left mouthing some gibberish, which in the end only the aliens understand. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Divya Solgama, : ...Music by Gaurav Gangaonkar and G.V.Prakash is pretty average.... full review

Thumbs down, by Anupama Chopra, Hindustan Times : ...staggeringly inept... full review

Thumbs down, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...just as you’re confronted with an unpredictable twist in the tale, the film comes to a screeching halt. Once again, an opportunity wasted. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Fatema H Kagalwala, India Entertainment : ...We just had Salman un-Salman himself in Ek Tha Tiger and now we have Akshay un-Akshay himself in Shirish Kunder’s Joker. And that remains the only good thing to be said about this curiously ridiculous film.... full review

Thumbs down, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...Can kids watch this, I asked myself as I watched this all-over-the-place faradiddle. And then I dismissed it. Because even children, especially children, need a story that holds, and characters that engage. ... full review

Thumbs down, Indicine : ...You fail to understand what the director was thinking?!... full review

Thumbs down, by Roshni Devi, koimoi : ...Sonakshi Sinha mostly clings on to Akki’s arm as his girlfriend Diva... full review

Thumbs down, by Sanjukta Sharma, Live Mint : ...all these bizarre events don’t arouse laughter, or even gasps. They are futile details in a dull, pointless story.... full review

Thumbs down, by Janhavi Samant, MiD DAY : ...They didn’t need an actor of Shreyas’ calibre to do his role.... full review

Thumbs down, by Aakash Barvalia, MoviezADDA : ...Written and Directed by Shirish Kunder, the basic plot was indeed interesting but unfortunately the final result was completely destroyed because of some very poor writing. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...What Joker delivers in the garbled guise of the genre plumbs such depths of vapidity that it stands no chance of ever coming up for air.... full review

Thumbs down, by Mansha Rastogi, Now : ...ham fest at best... full review

Thumbs down, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...Kumar suddenly understands Talpade's most inadequate sign-language -- Akshay eventually comes off as a rude jerk. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Reuters : ...It would be a shame to even talk about technical aspects in the film except to say that I am thankful this movie wasn’t released in 3D as was originally announced. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...While one admires that Kunder has kept the comedy clean and devoid of vulgarity, it does not excuse the comedy turning bland. ... full review

Thumbs down, by K N Gupta, : ...Neither the plot nor the screenplay justifies the movie.... full review

Thumbs down, by Bhawana Somaiyya, Star Blockbuster : ...The pack of cards and Joker used as metaphors for Pagalpur village is contradictory.... full review

Thumbs down, by Swati Rohatgi, STARDUST : ...Akshay Kumar once again gets into his slapstick genre and presents the same old loud and crass comedy while his new partner in crime Sonakshi Sinha too surprises with the mediocrity of her acting.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sudhish Kamath, The Hindu : ... if only the actual film had at least one good joke.... full review

Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, : ...someone needs to get this director’s creativity to calm down a bit. ... full review

Thumbs down, by The ThirdMan, Upper Stall : ...A totally silly plot involving a con regarding aliens gets more and more stupid and juvenile as the film runs on, while totally lacking in the fun and games department. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Kunal Guha, yahoo! India : ...the intermediate level of VFX and the pre-school humour only ensure that it loses even without competition. ... full review

Thumbs down, Zee News : ...the best thing about ‘Joker’ – undoubtedly the gorgeous Chitrangada Singh, who rocks in ‘Kaafirana’. Wish there was more her in the film. Watch it for her, if you must. ... full review

7 tweeters(?) - 1 yays 1 so-so 5 nays

faizal0603: Joker nice sweet movie....worth watch it....

nkumar_: Joker is an entertainer though I would say that none of the character stays in your mind once you are out of movie theater. Period

ZeniaIrani: #Joker is the worst movie Ive seen in my life....ever!

seanwilliams259: 'Tees Maar Khan' used to be Akshay Kumar's worst movie ever.. until I saw 'Joker'... yuckhhh!!!

DasLuck4: joker such a Idiotic movie.. total waste of money

Aayushz: sorry @ShirishKunder sir , #joker was a waste of time

25_Shalu: Its better to watch a Ben 10 show rather than joker..!!☇

8 readers - 2 yays 1 so-so 5 nays

Not Interested in Watching, by Jake

Not Interested in Watching, by Minda

Not Interested in Watching, by professional resume writing services : <a href="">Adwords</a>

Want to Watch, by VeroMeet : It might be one of those movies, where its SO BAD, its SO GOOD lol

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Raj : Dear Shirish I want a few more from you. Worst than Clerk and worster than Joker. Please..!

Yay! Thumbs Up, by stemple Warszawa

So-So, by TimELiebe : Short and funny with great dance numbers - but the story is a hodgepodge even by *masala* standards.

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Amit Kumar : A complete waste of money and time. Not worth watching on television either!

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Fatema : Cutesy-ridiculous, with a bit of imagination and lots of typical naivete.

Nay! Thumbs Down, by James : This is dumb movie by dumb director.

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Sergio Ramos : 91

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Suman

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Warning: this section has some details that could distort your experience while watching the movie. I strongly recommend reading this only after you have seen the movie or if you have decided not to see it.

Plot Summary

Agastya's (Akshay Kumar) village, Paglapur is not on the map of India. The people are ignored and are in a dire situation. Agastya takes it upon himself to make sure they are noticed and taken care of.

What Worked

  • The idea of fireflies in lanterns.
  • The Joker analogy.
  • The comment on media and what makes news – especially the comment about media covering a stamped out crop.
  • The comment on the US making everything about herself.
  • McDonald's and Coca Cola as signs of progress.
  • 'Simon Go back' is not about the US.
  • The irony of science and religion working together.
  • The design of the UFO :)
  • Asta Lavista.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • The CGI
  • Sonakshi Sinha's wardrobe.
  • Choreography of the item number.
  • How does the American find the rope? Why is the rope there at all?!

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: A few slaps here and there. Military showing up.
  • Language: Clean.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: One item song.
  • Concept: The impotence of the country's system at the hands of corrupt politicians – dealt with an outlandish plot and humor.
  • General Look and Feel: Bright, energetic and funny.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Comments (15)

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Oh my, you are being too kind and optimistic. I have no hopes from this.


I switch channels even when the Promos are on. Please dont build up your hopes/expectation... this will be a movie as good as:
1) Chandni Chowk to China
2) Tees Maar Khan

I sometimes wonder why do people make such movies... and then I recollect a brilliant movie (which was a flop film) "Dhoondte Reh Jaoge" and everything makes sense :-)

@Rahul whenever there is even a slightly different storyline, I get hopeful. Don't worry, I'm aware what a Shirish Kunder-Akshay Kumar combo can do :)

@Shilpa Not building hopes up too much.Just a tiny bit. Aah...the awful memories those two names evoked. :(

Totally agree with every word Meetu!

Cutesy-ridiculous, with a bit of imagination and lots of typical naivete.


Hmm... this much influence of the hangover of Manoj Kumar's "Clerk" on the psyche of Farah and Sajid Khan - that it took 8 years to transpose the putrescible of "Clerk" to "Joker" through Shirish Kunder. A benchmark tribute of Bollywood's worst in stretching limits to make us yawn and feel sick. Clerk "best of the worst" for 20th Century and Joker - of 21st century. Compare both, and you will surely say Clerk was better...! A new Landmark tribute left for Indian cinema!

I see this movie with my friends.I am really disappint with this movie.The director Mr.Kunder thinks that audience is idiot and he can make fool of him.This is movie is made by some small kid who do not understand any thing about movie world.Movie has no sense and not a humar .Why should anyone go to see this movie?

Joker is one addition to the list of garbage films that Akshay Kumar has acted in. It is even worst than 'Tees Mar Khan'. Why didnt Shirish Kunder spend money and time on story and dialogues???


Meetu you're wrong this time, the movie sucked to the core.

@Jake hmmm...I enjoyed the 'different' kind of non-sensical humor in the first half.


@meetu okay, so did you enjoy tees maar khan humors? oops they weren't humors. :P

@Jake no, that certainly wasn't humor :P


Direction: 1
Story: 2
Lead Actors: 3
Character Artists: 1

Dialogues: 1
Screenplay: 0.5
Music Director: 1
Lyrics: 1

@Meetu - it's a mess, all right, but it had some funny stuff and the run time was short enough that it didn't wear out its welcome. Even if you're going "Whut?!?" about the huge Farah Khan dance numbers in a remote village - they're Farah Khan dance numbers, which are always welcome!

Parts of it look like a movie they slapped together while they were waiting for additional financing or a re-write on ROWDY RATHORE - I'm not wrong that AK's love interest is Sonakshi Sinha in both movies? And it's got a very similar "What the Hey - Let's throw a dance number or fight scene in here!" air to it? The main difference is AK attempting to tone down his fondness for larger-than-life characters - but the movie itself it outsized enough to compensate.

This is a weird one - a relentlessly commercial movie you sort-of enjoyed, but most Indian critics hated. Some of the hostility of the other reviews I read knocked my hair back, honestly….

Okay - it's far from the best movie I've seen this year either from India or America, but it went down okay. It's between "Thumbs Up!" and "So-So" for me….

@TimELiebe Yeah, I thought it was cute. Most others don't agree. :P

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