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Mera Naam Joker (2), 1970

Mera Naam Joker (I am a Clown), 1970

showcard, c. 1970, 75 X 50 cm (29.5 X 19.6 inches)
tinted gelatin silver print and poster paint on textured board with screen-printed imagery and lettering
set of 5 showcards (what is a showcard?)

Filmfare Awards, 1970
Best Director - Raj Kapoor
Best Cinematographer - Radhu Karmaker
Best Music Director - Shankar Jaikishan
Best Male Playback Singer - Manna Dey
Best sound Recordist - Allaudin Kan Qureshi

National Awards, 1970
Best Child Actor - Rishi Kapoor

Mera Naam Joker is an epic film with a star cast.  It was shot on location in India and Russia, in three languages, and the project took nearly a decade to complete. Raj Kapoor invested his own personal fortune into this film, which initially flopped before winning 5 Filmfare Awards and garnering international critical acclaim. It is a milestone film in the Indian film industry and a timeless classic to the millions of Raj Kapoor fans not only in India but throughout the former Soviet world, the Middle East, and beyond.

"Six years in the making, this film was supposed to be Raj Kapoor’s masterpiece, but it flopped at the box office. It tells the life story of Raju, a circus clown whose dramatic ups and downs often bear comparisons to Kapoor’s own life. The showcards depict the clown in the centre reaching out to the viewer to convey the loneliness in a performer’s life. 

The techniques used to make these showcards are a departure from others in the collection and suggest a considerable investment in advertising. Rather than a paint-on-photo collage, Cat. no 33 is entirely screen-printed while Cat. no. 34 uses colour photo lithographs, suggesting a considerable investment in new technologies for its advertising that could set the film apart from the rest of the commercial Hindi cinema.

The film Mera Naam Joker (1970) was produced by Raj Kapoor Films Ltd. and directed by Raj Kapoor.  Music by Shankar Jaikishen.  Colour, Hindi, English and Russian, starring Raj Kapoor, Major Kumar, Simi Garewal, Dharmendra, and Dara Singh."

--Additional text by Dr. Deepali Dewan and Alexandra McCarter, based on Deepali Dewan, ed. Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980s. Showcards from The Hartwick Collection. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum Press, 2011. Copyright of and reproduced here with the generous permission of the Royal Ontario Museum.

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