Johnny Joker tells Raunak Kaul that he has taken it upon himself to entertain the world around him in such a way that he’s now addicted to doing that. By this time, Raunak Kaul has stopped wondering who Johnny Joker is and what he is doing hanging around all the time, and simply listens to what he has to say. Even though Raunak has gone partially deaf.
Despite the malady, the one thing that never leaves Raunak’s side is the bottle. Established right from the beginning, Raunak has the makings of an alcoholic. His love for music as strong as his weakness for drink and drugs (pot is all over the movie too), Raunak, ably played by Rajeev Khandelwal, hears music in every sound. It could be a train passing under the bridge he’s on, a motorcycle being started, or a beggar singing for money – for Raunak, there’s a beautiful melody in every thing.
But being a DJ at the nightclub Tango Charlie makes things go wrong for him; night after night of blaring music destroys his sense of hearing, and to save what’s left of it, Raunak must spend time in complete silence. Which angers his producer Charlie, whose villa cum studio Raunak is living in and recording music at. Charlie: owner of Tango Charlie and mentor/producer to Raunak, is a bald, chilled-out dude played by Mohan Kapur (in a strong performance).
Soundtrack has cameos by several Bollywood celebrities, who appear every now and then to face the camera to talk about the kind of fellow Raunak was. Even Raunak’s relatives and bandmates tell the camera what a special person he was. So, whether or not you’re interested in finding out how the deaf-mute Gauri (Soha Ali Khan) teaches Raunak how to talk in sign language or how their romance brews, you’ll surely want to watch Anurag Kashyap roll a joint. Yes, Sir. On the day I celebrate six months of being free of cigarettes, charas and ganja, I get to see Anurag Kashyap roll a joint.
With each segment of the story beginning with a quote from Ludwig van Beethoven (it’s pronounced Bay-thoven), Rajeev Khandelwal is shown coping with his problem and eventually overcoming it to make a masterpiece of an album. Mohan Kapur is overjoyed at this development – so much that he bangs at the window of the deaf couple in the middle of the night.
Soundtrack is a very sweet movie with smart ideas – Johnny Joker is the Indipop song (composed by Biddu; sung by Shweta Shetty) Raunak used to hate as a child. When Raunak realizes he needs to stay off the booze, Johnny Joker thrusts a bottle of Black Label at him, singing ‘Peelo na…’ and he stops at that. You expect him to finish it with, ‘Johnny, Johnny Walker,’ but he doesn’t. That’s smart. And Raunak’s interactions with the ear specialist – those are smart. He actually cribs to the doctor about cocaine being very expensive, and even says that he tried heroin once but it didn’t go down too well because he must’ve been very drunk. Mix ho gaya hoga, says the understanding doctor.
It’s like a breeze of fresh air, this movie by Neerav Ghosh. You’ll leave the movie hall smiling, with a picture of two bombs on either side of Rajeev Khandelwal’s head, with the unconventional hero thinking that maybe he’ll hear a slight sound when they go off. But if a movie like this one comes every month, baaki sab ki vaat lag jayegi, baap.