Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Birth of Joker

Hi all,

Himani asked me how was "Joker" conceived. So, here we go....

Mayank Sharma, my Associate Director and a dear friend, has been with me a long time and we were generally brain storming for a subject that we would like to do.

I was walking in the living room. Pacing up and down. I remember that it took 5 paces to get the idea for the first half of the film and another 5 paces for the second half. It was just like that. Eureka... I shared the thought with Mayank and he said it works.

The first few drafts had the Heroine being introduced at the Interval point. Only later we introduced her in the 3rd scene.

Then we started writing, and writing and writing. It took a total of 13 drafts of the screenplay and 6 years to get the final screenplay that we were happy with.

Sameer Joshi, a competent writer and friend was involved in the earlier versions. By the 12th draft we were fed up. It was an overdose of Joker for us and we had what is known as the Writer's Block.

We were stuck. We knew that the screenplay was good, but not good enough, but we could not write more.

That is when we took a break... A loooong break.

I struggled to get the film made. I met many known Actors and narrated the story to them. Most liked it but did not agree to do the film. Maybe because they had no faith in a new director or maybe they actually did not like the subject but were being polite by telling me that it is a good story.

I could never manage to meet any BIG star, it seems impossible to meet them directly. One has to meet people who work for them and pass through the levels. These people are more interested in Directors who have a proven track record, so a new director is not of much value.

I did manage to narrate the story to Mr. Aamir Khan. He is a great listener, very polite and a down to earth guy. He declined to do the film as he was making "Taare Zameen Par" which involved kids and he had plans of "Gajini" and others. He had no time for "Joker" but he appreciated the effort which was a huge moral boost to me even though I was not even close to making the film.

Then there were others. People wanted to buy the script off me. They said that just because I write well does not mean that I can make a film. I was offered a huge amount of money. Yes, I was tempted but I could not let it go. I was living with "Joker" day and night. That is when I decided, either I will make the film or take the story to my grave.

After 6 years I gave up. I went to London and a dear friend there promised me a job. My family agreed to move where ever we could make a living. In India all I could do was think of making movies. I knew I was born for making movies but I knew that, the industry did not and no one cared.

My brother, Ajay Tuli was the only support I had, he believed in me from day one and he tried as well, but it never worked out.

Then one day, I was sitting in a park in London, feeding the ducks and the geese, waiting for my work papers to be processed. I was in deep thought. I said to myself, here I am, ready to take up a job and fulfill someone's dream. We only live once, why should I not dedicate my life to fulfill my own dream, if I don't do that who else will???

The decision was made. I have to go back to India and continue to struggle.

Once I was back. Mr. Sunil Thadani (Co-Producer of Joker) and an old friend happened to narrate the idea of Joker to Rajeev Khandelwal who loved it instantly. I was called and Rajeev and me met the very next day and viola. The film was happening.

Sameer Arora (a very good writer) was brought in for the final draft. With renewed vigor and zest, Sameer, Mayank and myself wrote the 13th draft which is what we are shooting.

This was the birth of "Joker" of course there are many more details that will be shared at a later date. I don't want to go on and on.

Till then.


Vikram Tuli


  1. Hi all,
    It's true that iv been part of joker since its conception and i thank Vikram to acknowledge that..Iv seen all the ups and downs which Vikram went thru in all these years and it was very difficult to understand why the film was not working out because we thought that a good script is what is required to make a film but that's not the case.
    When i look back and remember all the struggle i realize that it was destined to happen now with the wonderful actors and technicians which all are part of the film now. It's a great feeling to finally see Vikram transforming the characters which we had written on paper into motion. Many people discouraged us thru the journey but it was just the conviction in the script that made us reach till here.I know that the journey ahead is not gonna be easy but we will make it till the end and come out a winner.
    Vikram deserves it and above all his family deserves it coz iv seen their belief in us and their unconditional support.
    Will share more
    Bye n take care

  2. Well I am not too far behind. i am going to claim my share in joker..:)
    My association with Joker goes a long way. I still remember that day vividly. It was a day of lot of firsts.. It was my first day in mumbai.. I met Vikram bhaiya for the first time.. and to top it all I heard the first draft of Joker.. My first sitting in a narration. I must say the best narration I have ever heard. I was totally blown away by the subject and charmed by Mr. Vikram Tuli. I said wow! I actually visualised the film then and saw each and every character in front of my eyes. His narrative was so descriptive.
    Over these years I have been part of this emotional journey through Mayank. Vikram bhaiya and Seema bhabhi have been really instrumental in the happening of the most beautiful thing that in my life.. Mayank. Since then we are a happy family together except for a dark patch when Vikram bhaiya totally gave up on making the film because of his continuous failure to take the film on the floor. It still scares me to think of those times. He seemed like he had given up on life. We all failed to reach to him.

    Today I feel glad to see him in action. I am absolutely proud to see him at work. I admire him for his focus and command on the sets. I am humbled that he thought me capable and entrusted me with some work. It was my pleasure to work with him.

    Before it starts sounding like my last opportunity to talk.. the way i am going on:)..I wish Joker all the best and pray that Vikram bhaiya gets his due finally.

  3. Mayank and Swati,

    Tears rolled down my cheeks when I read your posts. I know that YOU know the pain we all went through. No words can describe how it felt. Nor can I describe what I feel now.

    All I can say is that it is only 'pain' that makes us what we are.

    This is just the beginning. I have much to say. Many films to make.

  4. For a change, my association with Joker has been that of fun and only fun! :)

    When I met Vikram for the first time, for the narration, I thought he was rather bizarre! (But then I have always liked bizarre people!) Vikram's narration really did it for me. It was as if he painted out the entire film right in front of me, such was the clarity of thought. And the concept itself was so strong, I couldnt help but get drawn into the film.

    I then played Vikram some of my songs. It has to be mentioned that he wasnt particularly enjoying himself while listening to them. I was convinced that he disliked me from the moment he saw me! Yet, I was asked to make a few scratches...(Bana kuch bhi, kya ukhaad lega types!)

    I went home and kept thinking of the film, the characters, the situations. It took me a few days before the film really gripped me. I came up with 'Shukriya' which I felt was perfect for the particular situation I was making it for. Seema Saini wrote some lyrics, Golu and I arranged a scratch track, my friend Arunima Bhattacharya came and sang it. It sounded lovely to us.

    I had decided that if Vikram didnt like 'Shukriya', I wouldnt do the film! Simply because I felt I had grasped the character of the film strongly in my own way and I believed it was perfect. So if Vikram wouldnt like it, then it would mean that I was totally wrong in my understanding and it would be wiser to leave it at that! :)

    But fortunately 'Shukriya' was a hit with everyone, and I was on! From then, it was been a magical experience crafting all the songs of 'Joker'. To his credit, Vikram Tuli is a director who knows his music. Period! We have brainstormed, argued and fought over every single line and tune! But in the process I believe we have sculpted some wonderful songs that fit beautifully into the film adding a lot to its emotional appeal!

    I must mention that I love Vikram's twisted and sarcastic sense of humour (as it matches perfectly with mine) ;)

    All the best, Sir! Its been terrific working with you so far!...But enough reading for now, you have to go to London! :P


  5. Hi All!
    When I first heard about JOKER from Sameer Joshi, I didn't know Vikram. Since then I heard about it so many times that I got fed up of JOKER. 'Kitne saal table par film discuss karoge yaar! Aakhir yeh film banegi kab?' I met Vikram two years ago. He was the first person in a long time who actually influenced me. From the very first day we hit it off like a house on fire . We all had gone to Lonavala for a script discussion. On our return journey we stopped for a coffee. It was midnight when he started narrating JOKER to me and Abhay. At the end of it we were all tears and no words. Till this day, I haven't heard such a terrific narration! I simply hugged him and said 'YOU ARE SIMPLY GREAT!' It has been a long struggle for him but finally the success is around the next corner. It's only because of his faith in himself and equally his family and friends' faith in him that he has come out if it a winner!

  6. woooohhh.!! Now i can understand how much it is close to ur heart..!! :) all d best sir..!! 13th draft is surely gonna rock..!! :) :)

  7. hi vikram, i just befriended mr. sunil on facebook and came to know about ur film...i am really moved by the story of ur struggle...its inspiring and motivational for several others like me...thanks for the post...all the best...vikram kumar