Image Source: Red Chillies Entertainment
Director: Aanand L Rai
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma, Katrina Kaif, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub
The trailer of Zero had given me a bit of hope that this film will have a good humoristic approach to the love story and with Aanand L Rai’s understanding of the desi audience, Zero could be a turnaround movie for Shah Rukh Khan, but all that was destroyed when I actually witnessed the confused writing and direction which don’t lead the film anywhere but downhill.
So, Shah Rukh Khan plays the role of a dwarf Bauua Singh from Merath. He is a jolly good fellow and has a good network of friends and strange but lovely family. Zero’s first half is seriously good. Bauua’s sense of humor with his friend Guddu (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub), his family and Aafia (Anushka Sharma) make the movie extremely hilarious. Those deep rooted desi punches and SRK’s impeccable dialogue delivery entertain you for the first 40-45 minutes. I loved the spontaneous personality of Bauua in the first half and the way he shows his confidence with his talks.
The scenes where Shah Rukh Khan keeps insulting Aafia and then tries to apologize to her with his own unique charm are superbly executed by Aanand L Rai and masterfully enacted by SRK. If this level of quality could have continued throughout, Zero could have been easily one of the most memorable films of Shah Rukh Khan. But, once that entertaining phase ends, the story of Zero takes so many silly twists and turns, that I never experienced that quality level again in the film.
I understand the intention of writer Himanshu Sharma to add a character of Babita Kumari (Katrina Kaif) in the movie but her progression of chemistry with Bauua was somewhat dull. The way they get along with each other and their fate afterwards was boring and predicable. At this point, Zero was already deep in disappointment for me.
And just when I thought now the movie will return on track, Aanand L Rai does something more terrible. Instead of focusing on romance and relationship of Bauua and Aafia entirely, he pointlessly shoots 30-40 minutes of preachy space mission to up the ante. Why? Why do we need such lengthy commentary on space? This is a romantic movie; let’s discuss that. What’s the necessity to bring so much grandness of rockets here? I can understand if Aanand L Rai used this space mission for 10 minutes in the finale to give it a ‘larger than life’ closure but boy, he is not interested in that. He was keen in shooting a space documentary in Zero. This pretty much ensured that Zero is beyond saving now. Rai made a mess of the characters, story and the film.
If you see Raanjhanaa, the friendship of Dhanush and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub in the film was so effective because they had those many scenes together. I would have really enjoyed Shah Rukh Khan and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub’s friendly banters in 2nd half too. It could have given the film a good balance.
My big question to the makers is this, what was the point of Zero? What message were they trying to convey? What was the significance of space mission to these love birds? Couldn’t the story have been written in a different, more believable and relevant manner?
A silver lining here is that Shah Rukh Khan’s performance as Bauua was powerful. Understand this, in recent times, SRK has not done good films but he always gives strong performances. Same happens with Zero, but this performance is something that stands out. SRK was highly active, impulsive and you feel his passion and that desi boy (launda) element from the acting. I loved how he makes fun of his father, Anushka Sharma. His dialogue delivery is as usual, brilliant.
Anushka Sharma was not completely convincing for me. She tries hard to portray the role of a person with cerebral palsy but doesn’t pull it off entirely. It has some flaws; she felt animated in many scenes. Katrina Kaif actually does well as a superstar. I didn’t have many expectations from her but she seemed real.
I would say, I am more disappointed with Aanand L Rai than Shah Rukh Khan with regards to Zero. Rai had made some very good films but Zero is unfortunately his weakest film.