Mera Naam Joker
|Mera Naam Joker|
|Directed by||Raj Kapoor|
|Produced by||Raj Kapoor|
|Screenplay by||K. A. Abbas|
|Story by||K. A. Abbas|
|Music by||Shankar Jaikishan|
|Edited by||Raj Kapoor|
|Distributed by||R. K. Films|
|December 18, 1970|
Mera Naam Joker (translation: My Name is Joker) is a 1970 Hindi film directed by Raj Kapoor. The screenplay was written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas. This film was the debut of Rishi Kapoor. Mera Naam Joker is a film about a clown who must make his audience laugh at the cost of his own sorrows. The film is considered to be one of the most lengthy films of Indian cinema. After Sangam became a blockbuster, Mera Naam Joker was highly anticipated as it took six years in the making and was heavily publicized to be loosely based on Raj Kapoor's own life. Upon its release the film turned out to be a critical and commercial disaster putting Kapoor into a financial crisis. The film was heavily panned for its length and plot. However, over the years, the film has gained a cult status and is regarded as a classic today. Both audience's and critics' response has turned highly favorable with the passage of time. An abridged version was released in the 1980's and had a highly successful run at the box office. Raj Kapoor considered this to be his favorite film and described it to have deep philosophical depth and meaning. Mera Naam Joker is regarded as a cult classic and one of Kapoor's finest works today with film experts labeling it as a 'misunderstood masterpiece'.
Mera Naam Joker is the story of Raju, considered the best circus clown ever. Ever since Raju's father died in an accident during his performance, Raju's mother had been repulsed by the circus. As luck would have it, Raju had a natural affinity towards the circus world. The film traces Raju's journey from his childhood to the day of his last performance.
The first chapter is about the adolescent Raju and deals with his infatuation with his teacher Mary (Simi Garewal). She gives him confidence in himself, and he discovers the world of femininity and desire. She is older than him, and he attends her wedding in a state of false merriment. Mary's lessons nevertheless aren't lost: Raju comes to realise that he was born to make the world laugh, despite his own troubles.
After his first heartbreak, the story follows adult Raju who has found work with Gemini Circus as a clown. His dream materialises! The circus is owned by Mahendra Singh (Dharmendra) who has understood Raju's potential and hires him. The circus hosts a visiting group of artists from Russia, and he falls in love with Marina (Kseniya Ryabinkina), the lead trapezist. Despite the language barrier they become close, and Raju half hopes that they might live together. But he faces heartbreak once again when the circus ends and Marina returns to Russia. It is in this chapter that Raju's mother dies during his performance, watching him perform the very stunts which caused his father's death.
In the final chapter, Raju has left the circus and wanders aimlessly. One day he meets Meenu (Padmini), an orphaned girl who has ambitions of becoming a famous actress. Meenu and Raju set up an association, start a small circus business and later move on to the theatre. They are quite successful, but their collaboration ends when she is offered a role in a film. She leaves him, and he realises she has used him in her lust for success.
Raju always carries a clown doll which belonged to his father. Every time he falls in love, he gives away his beloved doll, only to see it come back to him. The doll is used as a metaphor for Raju's simplistic heart where there is room for everyone.
At the end of the film, Raju is shown doing his final act, as promised to Mahender. He invites the three ladies he was in love with, to watch his last performance.
- Raj Kapoor – Ranbir Raj/Raju
- Manoj Kumar – David
- Simi Garewal – Mary
- Rishi Kapoor – Young Raju
- Dharmendra – Mahendra
- Dara Singh – Sher Singh
- Kseniya Ryabinkina – Marina
- Padmini – Meena
- Rajendra Kumar – Himself
- Achala Sachdev – Raju's Mother
- Eduard Sjereda – Member of the Soviet State Circus
|1||"Ang Lag Ja Balma"||Asha Bhosle||Shailendra|
|2||"Kaate Na Kaate Raina"||Manna Dey, Asha Bhosle||Shailendra|
|3||"Teetar Ke Do Aage Teetar"||Mukesh, Asha Bhosle, Simi||Hasrat Jaipuri|
|4||"Jane Kahan Gaye Woh Din"||Mukesh||Hasrat Jaipuri|
|5||"Jeena Yahan Marna Yahan"||Mukesh||Shailendra|
|6||"Ae Bhai Zara Dekh Ke Chalo"||Manna Dey||Neeraj|
|7||"Daagh Na Lag Jaye"||Mukesh, Asha Bhosle||Hasrat Jaipuri|
|8||"Kehta Hai Joker Sara Zamana"||Mukesh||Neeraj|
|9||"Sadke Heer Tujh Pe"||Mohammed Rafi||Prem Dhawan|
Six years in the making, with Raj Kapoor investing much of his own personal fortune, Mera Naam Joker flopped at the box office. In later years, however, the film has garnered critical praise.
Many different cuts of the film are known to exist. Both the IMDb and the movie's censor certificate list the film's length as being 6989.50 metres (255 minutes). According to the Chicago Reader, the original running time was 5 hours. The international DVD release from Yash Raj Films Home Entertainment runs for 233 minutes (224 with the disc's PAL speed-up), while the Indian DVD by Shemaroo Entertainment is heavily cut at 184 minutes. Mera Naam Joker is the second Hindi film to have two intervals, the first one is Sangam (1964). 
- Filmfare Best Music Director Award – Shankar Jaikishan
- Filmfare Best Cinematographer Award – Radhu Karmakar
- Filmfare Best Male Playback Award – Manna Dey for the song "Ae Bhai Zara Dekh Ke Chalo"
- Filmfare Best Director Award – Raj Kapoor
- Filmfare Best Sound Recordist – Allauddin Khan Qureshi