Joker was conceived by director/editor/musician Shirish Kunder who had previously directed Bollywood star Akshay Kumar in Jaan-E-Mann (Sweetheart) (2006), his first film, and had also produced Kumar's Tees Maar Khan (2010). Joker appeared to be a troubled production it was originally announced in 3D but then had the plug pulled on this, while Akshay Kumar refused to participate in publicity and afterwards disparaged the film. Joker ended up being a box-office flop and received negative reviews.
The opening scenes telling the story of Paglapar seem to initially take Joker into the realm of imaginary land comedies alongside works such as Passport to Pimlico (1949) and The Mouse That Roared (1959). The scenes with Ashkay Kumar returning to the village, which seems to have been stuck in a time warp since the Partition, make you think of a film like Good Bye Lenin! (2003). There is some satirical humour involved in the scenes playing off the different surrounding provinces and their disinterest/eagerness in helping the village, which seems to concern domestic Indian political issues far more so that I was able to understand. I think I was hoping during these scenes that Joker would develop as something as sublimely satirical as PK but the disappointment is that it doesnt.
Most of Joker descends to the sappy comedy relief typical of Bollywood. Much of the film is dominated by either elaborately colourful song and dance numbers or silly comedy scenes. The musicals numbers are certainly listenable and watchable; unfortunately, it is this broad and never particularly inspired or funny comedy that kills the show off. The middle of the film is dragged out around the scenes of Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha returning to the village and very silly these get especially in the scenes with the villagers attempting to rescue Akshay Kumar from the swamp.
The bizarreness of the film comes when it starts to reach genre territory. Some of the Bollywood science-fiction fusions have ended up with exceedingly strange results Enthiran as a Terminator copy with songs and the robot engaged in a romance, for instance. However, your heads hurts trying to think about the idea of a Bollywood film about crop circles imagine M. Night Shyamalans Signs (2002) (sort of) played as a broad farce and with much singing and dancing added to the mix. Unfortunately, the film ends up being far less interesting than the wackiness of its premise suggests and the latter half is taken up by the villagers under Akshay Kumars direction fabricating evidence of crop circles and then aliens landing a scheme that improbably involves them continuing to prance through the woods in their homemade costumes even though the US military is prone to start shooting everything up at a moments notice (yet never consider anything like cordoning the area off). There is a predicable twist ending where the faked alien visitation is exposed and real aliens then turn up.