Joker is No Joke!

When I entered the theatre, I heard many people speak about how Joaquin won’t ever compare to Heath’s joker.

Man, were they right!

Joaquin’s Joker will NEVER compare to Heath’s because they can’t’ be compared at all. All these people went quiet five minutes into the movie. All I could hear in the first half was ‘OMG’, ‘That’s creepy!’ from these ‘good little boys (and girls). In the second half, people said ‘fuck!’ more times than they would in their beds. Some couples understood they cannot cuckoo-doodle while the Joker was playing. Wrong movie for a date!

The affect the movie had on every one was surprisingly chilling. The last time I remember people in theatres this affected by a movie was for Interstellar. No, not even Star Wars, John Wick, marvel and DC, etc movies had this affect. Offcourse, Interstellar left a dazzling, almost psychedelic emotion.

Joker, on the other hand, left a dark and scary one.

I watched Joker twice myself before I sat to break down why this movie will go down in history. Spoilers ahead!

Pro-tip: Please watch Joker in IMAX!

Joaquin Phoenix

It goes without saying that he is a man full of acting talent. In Joker, he has surpassed any limit you could imagine. He played perfectly in every scene to the tune of the music. The dance after the subway killing was most easily one of the best scenes in the history of cinema! The Joker is born in that dingy bathroom. Arthur slips deeper into his newly discovered self. It is as if Phoenix is literally making Joker come out of Arthur’s ashes in a spooky dance ritual!

The historic scene from the dance in the bathroom after the subway murder.

From scene one to the last, you will notice the micro-expressions on Joaquin’s face sound louder than his symbolic Joker’s laugh. His laugh… it gives you chills! It is sad, hollow, sarcastic and painful all in one – except for in Murray Franklin Show! I thinks that is where he truly laughs, after realising who he really is and breaking free of the binds.

Those eyes, that framing, this scene…. Joker is ready to kill!

I could go scene by scene and describe the beauty that this man has created in every one of them, but let’s just talk about the last scene for now; the very last scene where he’s talking to a psychiatrist in Arkham. The scene starts with his laugh in a real tight close up. If you were in an IMAX, you would see every line of his face deliver a dialogue. His eyes show you the dark, horrible place he lives in! The black, burnt cigarette on his finger, the way he starts singing to the tune and coming out of the room leaving footprints of blood behind… it was unexpected and freaked people out! How did he kill her? Why did he kill her? Was he telling the doctor his story and flashback? Was he captured after the rally and telling her the story? Was it all imagined and reality was something else? People are unsettled!

The scene from Murray Franklin show… gives you the goosebumps! Look at that face!

Here’s my take: It all happened as we saw in the movie and he’s now imprisoned in Gotham Asylum, waiting for Batman to appear and in the meanwhile having fun screwing with mad-heads and Dr. Harley. What say?

The Music

A sad violin and cello at the start, and trumpets and louder drum beats (not sure about the exact instruments) when the Arthur gets his mojo on and begins to turn into Joker. Hildur Guðnadóttir (yes, it’s a SHE) has done a brilliant job! At first, I thought if Hans has come back for composing, but lo and behold! It’s this beauty who has made music so intense and resounding that it fits the Joker and his complex being!

For the scenes depicting Arthur’s pain, the music made you feel his emotions.

After the subway shooting, the scene with the dance was not actually a part of the script. It was after Todd and Joaquin heard an extra music piece from Hildur that Joaquin thought of this dance! It expresses Joker from the roots; a person who just wanted a family, love and his dream of being praised for his art but instead became trash like in the alleys of Gotham. He was mistreated, beaten, shouted at and now, in this scene, he embraces himself and his darkness. Without her music and the awesome choice of songs, people wouldn’t have felt their skins crawl. For me, it was such an art I had goosebumps both times I watched the movie.

The music announces Joker’s entrance in this scene. Notice the red eyes? It was a great effect to add to Joaquin’s look!

Direction, Cinematography, Effects

Ok, so each one of these pieces are great support in making Joker the movie it is. Todd has gone above and beyond to make it artful! Several things that brought magic to the screen was:

Framing: The golden composition, framing Arthur in the centre of curtains amidst the lights, showing his face in the mirrors, all the angle low and high changing with his condition! Once noticeable angle for me was when Arthur runs down the stairs with his mother’s file and the scene goes out with a top angle, diagonal if I may say, but keeping Arthur in the composition and framing him with the silhouette of the stairs. It made me feel how unhinged, shaky, helpless he was! The area lit in the scene was just the spot where Arthur stood and the rest was framed beautifully with the stairs. There are many scenes in Joker like this, using black, blurs and silouettes while framing arthur in the position with lights. Which gets me to the next part.

How framing can create amazing scenes!

Lighting: There are three types of lights I noticed. The first one is greenish, dark and unsettling, showing the world where Arthur lives in. Another light that sets a grand mood is bright, yellow and around the rich folks (like in Murray’s studio and The theatre Thomas Wayne attends). This difference sets their WOLRDS apart! The third light is what I call the stark truth. The white light setting of the Gotham Asylum where we see Penny Fleck in her younger years and Arthur in the last scene. Surely, the movie has natural light settings. But notice the shadowy spot Arthur is in.

The greenish tint and the dark setting of Arthur’s world.
The bright studio lights Arthur faces away from in Murray Franklin’s Studio.
Thomas Wayne’s bright world.
The shadowy spot Arthur lives in.

Todd has taken every shot with care. He has utilised Joaquin’s extraordinary expressions and conveyed the story. In the beginning, we see Arthur put on his makeup looking dissatisfied and unhappy. He pushes a smile across his face, or rather a grin. He just wants to be happy. Arthur does that to Bruce too in the short visit to Wayne manor. He just wants to make him smile! The delicate feeling of a complex character comes out, but hold on! It’s creepier than you think. The overt smile he gives himself, pushing his cheeks up takes creepy to Joker level!

Arthur is impoverished, ridiculed and unhappy. See that makeup roll down like a tear?
He puts a ‘happy face on’ cutting through the tear-like drop of makeup. Equivalent to hiding his emotions and trying to fit in?
Arthur’s had a bad day. The look on his face, the two light effects, the wet hair and clothes convey the feelings of a man in need for someone to hold onto. The angle Todd has taken here at eye-level shows him as normal man with feelings.

Last but not the least, the story and the screenplay

A story writer is the base of a movie. Screenplay is the cemented ground ready to have a skyscraper built on it. The job was done without a gap! There are no loose ends, no waste word or dialogue. There is no scene that doesn’t connect. One by one, the scenes fit like a puzzle and give you a picture! In the two times I watched the movie, I wasn’t bored at a single scene nor did I feel like forwarding the movie. It is that compact and structured! Take a bow to Todd and Scott!

The more I describe, the less I feel I can convey my feelings for this movie. All I can say is I’m going to make generations after me watch this! Joker is absolutely riveting, chilling and one of the kind that makes you think about it forever. Have a look at the scenes below.

How did you perceive Joker? Let me know in comments!

One of the most powerful scenes where he is himself and happy about it.
Bringing chaos into work…
Insulted, made a joke of on TV… not funny!
The glory amidst the chaos; people notice him! They appreciate him, and that’s his high in the last part.

Heal in the Night

There is something in the silence of the night. The serenity of the moonlight, that helps to heal. Take the force of nature and regenerate your body, mind and soul.

To Baby or Not to Baby

Would you sue your parents for giving you birth?

Raphael Samuel, a young man from Mumbai did. He says he was made to be born into our chaotic world of despair, all without his consent. He feels giving birth to a new person is selfish, unjust and an act of coercion. There’s no need for another life to be born into suffering when it could’ve avoided the pain by never coming into being. He is, what you call, an anti-natalist. This is a part of contemporary philosophy that says bringing a new life on Earth is cruel. Parents are responsible for the pain a ‘new life’ endures even as the right to well-being is basic. You maybe be glad you are alive now, but if you were given a chance, maybe you wouldn’t want to be born.

As an individual, he definitely has the right to follow his beliefs. I, however, feel anti-natalism is a flawed logic.

Read my full article in TOI Column ‘Perspicere’ here.

Or click on the link here:

Credits: Andrew Stelone

Happy Friendship Day!

‘I am glad you are with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam’ – Frodo

It is that day of the year again when we wish each other, now more on social media than face to face! Friendship bands, greeting cards, promises and social posts… we celebrate this day in anyway we can! 

Does it make you reflect on your life? What do you think about friendship, going back into your school days and till today? I can bet there must be a plethora of stories, experiences, hugs, laughter and tears… no, I’m not going to harp on about feelings and past.

I want to share with yousome examples of friendship I find so endearing that I wish to experience it. Yes, there are so many different ways we can be friends with others, so many different kinds of people we can be friends with! I will share some examples you might want to replicate in your life.

  1. The Kid and Charlie Chaplin

The Kid is one of the most famous movies Charlie has ever made. Though the relationship between the kid and Charlie is more of an adopted son and his father, I see a beautiful connection called FRIENDSHIP here. 

Image: Wikipedia

There is more than a relationship between these two tramps; there is an element of humanity. There is mutual love & support in times of need and a commitment to one another. 

Charlie takes care of the abandoned infant and in return, once the newborn becomes a boy, he never leaves Charlie’s side. 

It is the direst of times you can find the dearest of friends! Isn’t that what friendship is all about? About having one’s back through good times and bad?

2. Harry and Dumbledore

Then there are some bonds that transcend others; of a student and a teacher, a mentor and the mentored, of Harry and Dumbledore! What J.K. Rowling gave us through her famous series is so beautiful when you feel the relations portrayed between the characters.

Whether it is the bond between Harry, Ron & Hermione or between Snape and Lily, we see the power of love in her stories. For that matter, in Cuckoo’s Calling, the relationship between Detective Cormoran Strike and his temporary secretary Robin Ellacot showcases this intricate relation so gracefully!

Coming back to Harry & his headmaster, it is a rare bond. Dumbledore was a mentor, a parent and a savior for Harry, who carried out Albus’s purpose along with his own (you really need to read this series if you haven’t already!).

3. Sakura and Tomoyo

Ahh… this brings back memories!! Cardcaptor Sakura is one of my favourite anime till date, and I won’t exaggerate if I say I wanted to be Sakura so that I can have a friend like Tomoyo!


They cooked together, ate together, went to the same class, went to shopping in cute dresses together, and knew each other so well… then they supported each other in the times of need. Tomoyo kept Sakura’s secret, and Sakura protected Tomoyo. Friends like that are hard to find!

You will find more examples in this series!

4. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet

Friendship exists not only between different kinds of people, but also between people who are different! Now, who can be more different between a hi-tech billionaire and a billionaire investor who doesn’t use a computer?

buffett gates buds

No, it is not just the billionaire tag, it is more than that between these two. What I appreciate is that these are two men on the epitome of success, fundamentally different from one another, and still share a bond! It is a famous story that when Warren Buffet was going to meet Bill Gates, he thought it would be a boring exercise, but this one meeting gave him a BFF! Though Buffet may never invest in hi-tech business, the duo hangs out together and do what they can as geniuses do. You can be completely different from the other person and still be great friends if the intellectual frequency matches!

5. The Famous Five

What wouldn’t I give to have a childhood like these five literary kids! Enid Blyton has given us a world most of us could only wish for; the one filled with adventures and bonds for life!



The friendship Julian, Anne, Dick, Georgina and Timmy (their pet) share is an ideal one. They go through thick and thin, solving mystery after mystery, as they accept each other as individuals.

The best part about this series is how they meet over holidays and find adventures! Now, who wouldn’t want to quech their curiosities about smugglers and criminals on islands, farms and old houses?!

The twenty-one books in the series are not bestsellers for nothing; they showcase human bonds like no other. These stories show how friends encourage you, how they protect you, and how they bring meaning in life! And hey, holidays are pure boring without them.

6. Jon Snow and Sam Tarly

I cannot resist adding this Game of Thrones example. Jon and Sam! They started off from the lowest ranks in the Watch. Sam fought for Jon and Jon fought for Sam. Now, they are reaching the top.

Related image


The biggest reason why their bromance is special is because they recognize each other’s specialties. Sam knows that Jon is an ideal commander and Jon knows that Sam has the intellect to change the world! He sends Sam off to do what he can best do; find a way to end their common enemy! Miles apart, they are still supporting each other and their mutual trust is commendable.

Thank you, George R.R Martin!

This picture draws another parallel and I highly agree with. 

These are my six picks of this year. There are hundreds of example in real, reel and literary world for friendship, and I have chosen the ones I feel are different than others.

Did you see my Friendship Day post from before? Read it here for an extra dose of happiness! 

Also, check out the following links for more articles on friends:

Famous Literary Friendships

Lesser Known Historical Friendships

How was your Friendship Day? What do you think about my picks? Do let me know in the comments! 


Eating Out Alone? You are not Alone!

Don’t you feel sad for someone who’s eating all alone in a canteen or a restaurant?  It’s so boring to eat all alone. I used to feel the same for people sitting alone in school and ccollege during lunch. But after  I started working, even I had to come across times when I have to sit alone in McDonald’s and chew on a burger in a corner. 

That’s when I realised- it’s not that bad! 

There are so many reasons why people have to eat out alone. They may be artists who want peace in a cafe, or a person tired of the days work wanting  to relax. Maybe, someone just wants to sit alone with their own thoughts for a while (or a sales executive who is damned to travel all day😅).  People are away from their families and friends now a days and in large numbers. They are working hard to suceed in life! I think it should be a sign of strength that someone is able enjoy his or her own company. 

I don’t feel sad anymore for these people. Why not think positively and pass them a smile? 

Having coffee alone is always relaxing! And I have made some good friends with total strangers at McDonald’s !

Pizza all alone, all for me! It has its own golden feeling to it.

Tea, while enroute Bhopal via bus. I was with a total stranger,  who turned out tto be my grad college senior ! 

Sometimes, you gotta. ..

When it is tea time,  you are not on a sales call (wow!),  and no one’s there in office… just  enjoy the view!

Last but  not the least, I have discovered the best places while eating out alone. For example,  Jamie’s Pizzeria in Palladium Mall, Mumbai. I LOVE it! the coffee was exquisite too!

How often have you eaten alone? I hope you enjoy your self-time, everytime!

A Spontaneous Thought

Never mind who, where and when. Get out there and live your present without discrimination.  Without  judgements. Time will tick and move ahead. Little things of past won’t really matter;  in fact, you will forget so many moments!
But if you leave opportunities  of enjoying life and sharing moments,  you may regret it later. Make memories and live 😃