wiki:Mera Naam Joker

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Mera Naam Joker

aka I Am a Clown 1970 240’ col Hindi d/p Raj Kapoor pc R.K. Films s K.A. Abbas lyr Shailendra, Hasrat Jaipuri, Neeraj, Prem Dhawan, Shailey Shailendra c Radhu Karmakar m Shankar-Jaikishen lp Raj Kapoor, Manoj Kumar, Rishi Kapoor, Dharmendra, Dara Singh, Rajendra Kumar, Padmini, Ksiena Rabiankina, Simi Garewal, Achala Sachdev, Om Prakash, members of the Soviet State Circus and of the Gemini Circus

A mammoth film apparently inspired by Chaplin’s Limelight (1951), featuring Raj Kapoor as Raju the circus clown in a sprawling tale often seen as the star’s autobiographical fantasy. Initially conceived as three separate films, the 3-part story abounds with allusions to Kapoor’s own life and work. It starts with the young Raju (Rishi Kapoor), the son of a trapeze artist, falling in love with his schoolteacher Mary (Simi), and dreaming of becoming a famous clown. In Part 2, Raju joins a Russian circus where he falls in love with Marina (Rabiankina). The climax of this part comes when Raju’s mother (Sachdev), seeing him on a trapeze and remembering his father’s fatal fall, collapses, forcing the anguished Raju to finish the routine with a smile. Using the Soviet State Circus and portraying Marina as devoted to the title number of Awara (1951) since childhood, Kapoor intended to signal his gratitude to the USSR for the popularity he had enjoyed there since the 50s. In Part 3, Raju befriends the young Mina (Padmini) who, disguised as a boy, pastes cinema posters while dreaming of becoming a film star. The film’s conclusion shows the three women in his life witnessing, as special guests, Raju’s grand circus finale. Kapoor constantly deploys emphatically symbolic images, like a clown doll abandoned in the hut where Raju and Mina used to meet, a cracked mirror showing a laughing face, etc. If Kapoor’s 50s films projected the attainment of political freedom as a loss of innocence and a yearning for a new world, this film projects an uninhibited infantile narcissism combined with a mother fixation which not only determines his acrobatic demands for affection but also programmes the proliferation of female figures whose approval the leading character craves. Its commercial failure is often cited as the reason for Kapoor’s lapse into a cynical use of sexploitation in his post-70s films, as if the rejection of the film had been translated into a vengeful recourse to demeaning images of women thrown at an unworthy public.

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