Farah Khan and husband-director Shirish Kunder were in for a pleasant surprise when The New York Times listed their movie in their August release section. The paper wrote, “Joker: Shirish Kunder directs a Bollywood comedy— in 3D — set in a forgotten republic founded by former mental patients on the India-Pakistan border. With Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha.”
Shirish, a 38-year-old editor-turned-director, is excited that his is the only Indian film to be listed. He says, “We haven’t even started the publicity yet. Despite that, we got a mention there, so it was a big surprise.” The film has an international visual effects team working on it, which, Shirish says, could be a reason for the attention.
Farah joins in, saying, “Earlier, we were going to have an international release, but with this news, we will scale up the release in different locales.” Farah, who took her film Om Shanti Om (2007) to Berlin International Film Festival the same year, adds, “We would love to do the festival rounds with this film, since it’s offbeat, unlike other Bollywood films.”
Ask if she’s been helping her husband, and Farah says, “I am just a sounding board. We talk and discuss things, but his way of shooting and the kind of film he likes are very different. I’m a diehard Bollywood fan, but he loves world cinema.”
The film, which releases on August 31, is jointly produced by Shirish, Farah’s Three’s Company and Akshay’s Hari Om Entertainment Co.
Shirish says, “Joker is the story of a place that doesn’t exist on the map of India. One day, a crop circle appears and the place becomes a centre of attraction. UFOs and aliens arrive, and the adventure begins.” The film is told from Sonakshi’s point of view and Akshay is one of the people who comes to the village, attempting to get it mention on the map.