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Mera Naam Joker April 4, 2007

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.

Considered to be one of the most high profile box office bombs ever, Raj Kapoor’s Mera Naam Joker is one of those rare films which was truly way ahead of its time. It apparently was in the making for six years and Raj Kapoor suffered a huge financial setback due to this one. Ironically, the film is also about the setbacks the protagonist suffers in different phases of his life.

Raju (Raj Kapoor) – the famous (but now ailing) joker is performing his last circus feat for which he invites three women who he always loved and longed for but fate had something else in store. Through the show, he reminisces his heartbreaking story with each of them. The first one takes him back to his high school days where he develops his first ever crush on his teacher Mary (Simi Garewal). During this phase the idea of becoming a clown also germinates in him much against his mother’s wishes as his father was also a clown and had died when a trapeze stunt went wrong. Anyways, one fine day Mary’s fiance David (Manoj Kumar) turns up and Raju is shattered. David however is able to empathise with Raju and helps him to try and get over it by encouraging him to pursue his ambition to make people laugh.

Many years later, Raju gets into a circus and turns out to be a successful clown. There he falls in love with Marina (Kseniya Ryabinkina) – a trapeze artist from a Russian delegation performing in India. She reciprocates his love and things look good for a while but all this has to end when Marina’s stint¬†completes and she returns back to Russia. During this time he also has to deal with his mother’s death.

Finally, the last story brings him to Meena (Padmini) – an aspiring actress disguised as a man to escape the hard life of a homeless woman. Together, they start out performing circus feats on the road and on knowing the truth about her disguise Raju takes it upon himself to fulfill Meena’s desire. They both are in love initially but Meena’s unscrupulous ambitions destroy their relationship.

The imagery of a clown as someone who has to hide his sorrows to make the whole world laugh is heartening (also the use of the stuffed joker toy in the plot is brilliant)….and there is none other than the showman himself who can effortlessly pull off this Chaplinesque role. The female leads are ok. There are also cameos by Manoj Kumar, Dharmendra and Rajendra Kumar.

The signature tune of the movie “Jeena Yahan Marna Yahan” perfectly conveys the sorrow and impending doom in Raju’s life. Other notable songs include “Ae Bhai Zara Dekh Ke Chalo” and “Jaane Kahan Gaye Woh Din”. Mera Naam Joker is the definitive movie for everyone who has loved and lost. You can’t help but feel sad for Raju throughout but as they say…no matter what the show must go on.


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