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Joker Review – A Comic Crusader

Joker (2016)

Movie Rating: 

Reader Rating (Rate Here): 
[Total: 2   Average: 4.5/5]

Directed By: Raju Murugan

Cast: Gopal Somasundaram, Mu Ramasamy, Gayathri Krishnaa, Ramya Pandiayan

Language: Tamil

Movies that create the most impact have a set formula: first, they show something which the audience believes in and then prove them wrong. It happened with Aruvi and the same happens with Joker too. Joker has brilliant dialogues, impactful scenes and a hard hitting message. More importantly the story telling is razor sharp- it gives a wound so deep that it leaves an imprint. Joker is the story about people like Mannar who get mocked for standing up to the corrupt and lazy bureaucrats. 

Joker begins with Mannar Mannan (Gopal Somasundaram) pinching a loaf and reading a newspaper in his partially destroyed toilet. He calls himself President of India and is flanked by his lieutenants Ponanjal (Mu Ramasamy) and Isai (Gayathri Krishna). He is a crusader who fights for villagers against the lazy bureaucrats and the corrupt politicians. But the villagers see him as a Joker as he has a comical way of protesting. They mock his protest and see him as an irritant. Journalists cover him, not for his intentions but for the laugh.

The first few scenes ridicule his antics and make you believe that he is in fact a Joker. Mannar protests against anything he feels wrong. He gives orders as the President and asks the bureaucrats to follow them. Some humor him and some don’t. He puts a case against a truck driver for maiming a goat! The movie is unfiltered as it lays bare the issues of society but in a comical way. I had a constant expression throughout all this : “what a douche?”. But while ridiculing Mannar the director is cleverly laying down a trap. The trap becomes visible/complete with the flashback scene.

The flashback is a beautiful love story of Mannar and Malliga (Ramya Pandian). Malliga rejects Mannar and he makes repeated attempts to win her over. The attempts are cute and with the village setting you go awww. Their love blossoms over biryani and quarter of alcohol while visiting the election rally to fill the numbers. Her acceptance comes with a rider that he needs to construct a toilet in his home. Ramya Pandian owns this beautifully shot love story. The flashback ties all the loose ends and makes you sympathize with Mannar. He is no longer a joker anymore, in fact he is the hero the village needs but not the one it deserves. The scene during the President’s visit where Mannar begs to be let out will fill you with rage.

Joker’s hard hitting satire could only work if the acting is convincing and this Christian Bale of Tamil cinema has given a peach of a performance. Gopal Somasundaram drives this movie from start to finish. He’ll make you laugh, he’ll make you cry. Ramya Pandiayan is graceful and she makes you fall in love with Mannar. She gives you a reason to support Mannar who deserves better from the society.

Joker’s other brilliance is the clever storytelling. The first few introduction frames build up the surrounding of the village of Pappireddipatti in Dharmapuri where the movie is based. The first frame shows two guys selling a mop on a cycle and pass through people who are lined up to alongside the road for their daily ablutions. The next scene shows a teacher instructing her students to keep their surroundings clean. But people are seen drinking alcohol just adjacent to the same school. Throughout the movie director Raju Murugan has used this contrast style of storytelling to hit message home.

Watch it as you will go through a myriad of emotions- your laugh will lead to rage and then to sadness. Joker is a brilliant movie which needs to be watched and discussed. Watch it and share your ratings above.

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