Opening this week in theaters all across India (except in Kashmir), the new Warner Brothers film ‘Joker’ is expected to reap a windfall of cash customers, even though the film is only being shown in English and will not be available in Hindi or other native languages for at least six more months. The movie recounts the origin of Batman’s favorite crazed villain, the Joker. Played by Joaquin Phoenix, the movies explains how the unstable young Gotham comic wannabe is driven over the edge into criminal madness by his failure at stand up and the moral conundrums of the 1980’s world he has to deal with. While the film has garnered rave reviews as well as awards such as the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival last month, critics are already whetting their blades to cut the film down to size, and then some, for what is seen as egregious gun violence and the celebration of criminal/gang culture.
The film has an ‘A’ rating, which means that only those 18 years of age and older are allowed to view it, in either IMAX 2D or standard 2D. Some Indian theaters have indicated they intend to boycott the film, but whether this is because of offensive content or because most Indian theaters depend on the under-18 crowd to make them real money by concession purchases is a moot point.