Zero Review

Shah Rukh Khan as the dwarf Bauua (seen above) in “Zero” scores in his interpretation of a man who actually does not think he is inferior in any way, but quite the reverse. (photo provided)

Red Chillies Entertainment & Colour Yellow Productions present “Zero”

Produced by: Gauri Khan & Aanand L. Rai

Directed by: Aanand L. Rai

Written by: Hemanshu Sharma

Music: Kalyanji-Anandji, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Ravi, Ajay-Atul & Tanishk Bagchi

Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma, Tigmasnhu Dhulia, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Brijendra Kala, Sheeba Chaddha, Jaipreet Singh, Sp. App.: Juhi Chawla, Sridevi, Kajol, Rani Mukerji, R. Madhavan, Abhay Deol, Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt, Ganesh Acharya, Remo D’Souza & others

Bauua Singh (Shah Rukh Khan) is a vertically-challenged son of a rich businessman (Tigmashu Dhulia) from Meerut. A matrimonial agent (Brijendra Kala) shows him a picture of the half-Afghan, half-Sikh Aafia Bhinder (Anushka Sharma) and Bauua falls for her. He woos her despite starting off on a wrong note. Soon, they fall in love, and a marriage is fixed, though her father (Jaipreet Singh) is not too keen on the “boy.” Aafia is a brilliant scientist despite suffering from cerebral palsy.

Bauua is also a fan of film star Babita Kumari (Katrina Kaif). Emotionally challenged as a series of men have ditched her, including the latest (Abhay Deol), and during a show in Meerut, she is inebriated and meets Bauua by chance on the road and kisses him. That is enough for Bauua to ditch Aafia on the day of the wedding and go to Mumbai. What happens next?

Now here is where words fail me, though I have to find them to write this review! From the beginning when Bauua squanders his father’s hard-earned money on Eid to how he arranges to woo Aafia in a hotel to his being told to get out of her life by Babita to his expedition to the US where Aafia is talking about her space research feast in Hindi (!!!) and then heading a team that will send (from the US) a manned rocket to Mars, everything in the film seems to created to above all try and con the audience into believing that the worst script is logical, even when stretched literally and metaphorically all the way to outer space!

Unleashing an addle-pated concept executed pathetically, the film’s makers have indeed contributed lethally to making one of our biggest superstars’ worst cinematic liabilities. And even more than at the time of “Fan” and “Jab Harry…,” we must insist that Shah Rukh Khan really get some upfront, solid advisors on scripts and choice of projects. Here is an actor improving by the film, with a mission, passion, and means to deliver innovative, technology-heavy (if necessary) movies that are attempts to take commercial cinema into higher and newer horizons. Such missteps can be fatal.

While the cinematography is well-done and the VFX (Red Chillies VFX) are outstanding, the dialogues are lifeless including some oh-so-done-before one-liners. Worse, a lot of them are outright crass, and not in bad taste for Indian family audiences. And at the scale the film has been mounted, this IS a commercial film, not a niche one.

Khan is himself, scoring here and there in some expressions and his interpretation of a man who actually does not think he is inferior in any way, but quite the reverse. Anushka Sharma is fabulous, and so is Katrina, in a relatively short role. Dhulia is at best serviceable, Zeeshan a ham and the rest, not even that.

The direction exposes Rai as someone who has severe limits, but for his “Tanu…” franchise. Ajay-Atul’s music is pathetic, with the sole good song “Mere Naam Tu” cacophonic and badly over-orchestrated. The background score too is poor.

As for the overall film, pardon me for the brief and superficial-looking review. For one, this critique is quite adequate to describe this gigantic disappointment. For another, it is an uphill journey to find words, even more, to sit through the inordinate length of the film!

Rating: *1/2

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