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 fell in love, he gifted his beloved doll, only to see it come back to him. The doll is used as a metaphor for Raju's simple and innocent 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.
Did you know?
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. Read More