Lohitadas, who made his debut as a director with the film Bhoothakannadi,
has come up with his sixth movie, Joker , in which he has made his debut as a
lyricist. After Raj Kapoor's Mera Naam Joker (based on K.A.Abbas novel), and
Aravindan's immortal Thambu , Joker is the only movie that gives an insight into
the lives of circus folk.
Royal Circus, owned by Govindan, is on rocks. With the help of his manager Khader,
Govindan just manages to run the company, though not in a satisfactory manner.
All the members of the troupe live as a family. The other characters in the story
line include: Kumaran, who takes up clowning, as he is aged and gives up other
feats. And he is living there with his wife Jameela, with whom he is ill matched.
There is Shekharan, the trainer who has an emotional attachment with the
elephants, lions etc under him. Susheela an artist, is also the cook for the
whole troupe and tries many tricks including little bits of trivial stealing from
the neighborhood like coconuts, plantains etc in order to feed the troupe. Then
there is Ranjan Bappa, the hefty wrestler type man with an unending appetite.
Abookka, once a clown, has turned insane. As he still insists on putting up the
make-up and entering the ring, he is caged, when the show goes on. Babu, the
favorite of the troupe is the clown of Royal Circus. Abooka has trained him to
become the perfect clown. And he has learnt the perfect art of masking his
sorrows behind the clown's ever laughing mask. He has been there in the troupe
ever since his childhood, looking after the other children, especially Govindan's
daughter Kamala. And Govindan has always been saying that Babu is to be his heir
and is to marry Kamala. And of course Babu, deep in his heart, has feelings of
love for Kamala.
The movie takes a turn when Sudheer Misra, the young son of Padmini, a former
member of the troupe makes his entry into the camp. Sudheer's arrival marks the
beginnings of change. He steers the company out of its crisis and gives it a new
form and name as New Royal Circus. Things change for the better. But there are
undesirable changes too. These changes which come about make the movie
interesting and worth watching.
Dileep is perfectly cast as Babu, while Nishant Saagar fits in as Sudheer.
Late Bahadur has put up a brilliant performance as Abookka, the character that
was his last one on the celluloid before his demise recently. Newcomer Manya
as Kamala is O.K. While Bindu Panicker shines as Susheela. Mala Aravindan as
Kumaran, Mamookoya as Khader, Sreehari as Shekharan, N.L.Balakrishnan as Ranjan
Bappa, Zeenath as Jameela all have put in good performances. The songs, penned
by Yusuf Ali Kechery and Lohitadas and tuned by Mohan Sithara are melodious.
Camera is by Venugopal while the background score is by S.P.Venkatesh and editing
is by Sreekar Prasad. Krishnankutty as an art director has recreated the
atmosphere of a circus camp very effective.