Mera Naam Joker is the story of Raju, whose father was considered the best circus clown ever. Ever since he died in an accident during his performance, Raju?s mother had been repulsed by the circus. As luck would have it, Raju had a natural affinity towards the circus world. The film traces Raju?s journey from his childhood to the day of his last performance.
Mera Naam Joker is divided into 3 chapters. The first chapter is about the adolescent Raju and deals with his infatuation with his teacher Mary (Simi Garewal). She gives him confidence in himself, and he discovers the world of femininity and desire. But of course she?s older than him, and he attends her wedding in a state of false merriment. Mary?s lessons nevertheless aren?t lost: Raju comes to realise that he was born to make the world laugh, despite his own troubles.
After his first heartbreak, the story follows adult Raju who has found work with Gemini Circus as a clown. His dream materialises! The circus is owned by Mahendra Singh (Dharmendra) who has understood Raju?s potential and gives him the job. The circus hosts a visiting group of artists from Russia, and he falls in love with Marina (Kseniya Ryabinkina), the lead trapezist. Despite the language barrier they become close, and Raju half hopes that they might live together. But he faces heartbreak once again when the circus ends and Marina returns to Russia. It is in this chapter that Raju?s mother dies during Raju?s performance, watching her son perform the very stunts which caused his father?s death.
In the final chapter, Raju has left the circus and wanders around aimlessly. One day he meets Meenu (Padmini), an orphaned girl who has ambitions of becoming a famous actress. Meenu and Raju set up an association, start a small circus business and later on move on to the theatre. They are quite successful, but their collaboration ends when she is offered a role in a film. She leaves him, and he realises she has used him in her lust for success.
Raju always carries a clown doll which belonged to his father. Every time he fell in love, he gifted his beloved doll, only to see it come back to him. The doll is used as a metaphor for Raju?s simplistic heart where there is room for everyone.
At the end of the film, Raju manages to join a big circus touring India, and the films depicts Raju doing his final act. When Raju suffers a heart attack on stage, the audience doesn?t take him seriously and he dies before anyone realizes. This leads to the conclusion that Raju died making the world laugh.