The novelized version of the cult film, Mera Naam Joker
It was by all accounts one of the biggest gambles in Hindi cinema of the time: five years in the making, with a running time of over four hours and two intervals, including two of the best-known circus troupes of India and the Soviet Union. Add to that an outstanding musical score. Mera Naam Joker was to be Raj Kapoors magnum opus. Whetting audience appetite were indications that it would also be the Showmans most autobiographical film. Nothing, it seemed, could come between the film and box-office glory. Shockingly, the film bombed at the box-office-and so badly that RK Films, one of Indias foremost studios, was almost wiped out in the wake of that disaster. Interestingly enough, over the last forty years, the film has attained a cult status and is one of the highestselling home videos in India.
At the time of the films release, its writer K.A. Abbas, in an act years ahead of its time, also published the novelized version of the film to great commercial success. Mera Naam Joker: The Complete Story is that book. A perceptive introduction by Suresh Kohli, analysing the tortuous making of the film and the reasons for its failure, also offers an insight into the creative process through which a story transforms into a film.
About the Author: Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, Suresh Kohli
Khwaja Ahmad Abbas (1914-1987) is considered one of the pioneers of Indian parallel or neo-realistic cinema. He was a film-maker, novelist, screenwriter and a journalist in Urdu, Hindi and English, who preferred to call himself a communicator. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1969.
Suresh Kohli is a poet, writer, translator, editor, literary critic and film historian He is also a short and documentary filmmaker.