Rarely does one come across a film that is as refreshing and rejuvenating as that of Raju Murugan’s Joker. The film not only showcases the problems in society but also does so in such an entertaining fashion that it is hard for one, not to notice that it actually does not indulge in preaching.
So, what does it do? All it does is that it makes you laugh and then, think.
Interestingly, it does not make one just think about the prevailing pathetic situation and then stop there. The thought process actually instills in one the urge to remedy the problem and that for me, happens to be this film’s biggest success.
Every single member of the team that made this film deserves to be appreciated. However, four departments of this film unit, I think, need to be showered with a little bit more than just appreciation. They need to be celebrated. They are the film’s director Raju Murugan, actors Guru Somasundaram, Mu. Ramasamy , Ramya Pandian, Gayathri Krishna and Bava Chelladurai, its cinematographer Chezhiyan and its music director Sean Rolden.
Raju Murugan’s screenplay and dialogues, in particular, are a class apart, as they rip apart the facade that the political set up of the country has been using for long to cover its manipulative and corrupt practices. The dialogues are pointed, and expose the extent to which poor commoners living in remote villages of the country are exploited even to this day. The film brings to light not just the lapses of the political system but also of a corrupt bureaucracy that deliberately indulges in red tapism and connives with corrupt politicians to deny even the most basic of necessities to the poor.
Every single actor has delivered in this film. Guru Somasundaram, in particular, shimmers like a newly-minted penny, portraying with amazing ease the exceptionally difficult character of MannarMannan. Gayathri Krishna as the rural widow who turns an activist to fight social evils after losing her husband to alcoholism, thanks to the government’s TASMAC shops, impresses in her role as do the other members of the cast.
Joker will stand out for a long time for a number of reasons. Of these, one of the most important reasons is the fact that it is going to be remembered for the way it showcases romance. There’s a cute romantic story in this film which moves your heart. Mannar Mannan’s love for his wife Malli (played by Ramya Pandian) leaves you moved. Raju Murugan proves that for a romantic story to work, you neither need glamorous actresses who are fair-skinned or heroes indulging in dumb heroics.
If cinematographer Chezhiyan has breathed life into the film through his visuals, then, music director Sean Rolden has giving this film its soul through his songs and background score. Sean’s music tugs at your heart strings and leaves you in a trance often.
On the whole, Joker is an example of how a Tamil film should ideally be.
Simply put, it raises the all important question of who the joke is actually on. Are we, as a society, justified in joking about people who speak up and question corruption and red tapism in the system or are we, who are letting ourselves be continuously conned by politicians and bureaucrats without complaint, the real fools? You decide.