A film with a vertically challenged man as the hero and two female leads where one is differently-abled and the other, an actress. A sure-fire winner? Or does SRK's latest film, well, fall short?
By Vanshika Devuni Kalanidhi
I’m gonna tell you a secret. I had no freaking idea how to write this review because I don’t know what happened in the movie! I zoned out for a huge chunk of it. With Shah Rukh, Anushka, Kat, Salman and cameos from a bunch of other actresses, it was destined to be a blockbuster success. But was it good? Zero, despite its funny bits and star factor, is a movie that suffers from a slow storyline, poor writing and messy plot.
Zero is about a vertically challenged man named Bauua Singh (Shah Rukh Khan) full of swagger and pizzazz. He never once hesitates to think his height could come in the way of asking out his celebrity crush Superstar Babita Kumari for a date or a dance. It is with the same ‘Yo I’m cool’, attitude that he falls in love with a differently-abled girl called Aafia, who is accomplished (a space scientist, no less) and mature (she lets go of people without much drama). They share mutual feelings for each other and she decides to get married and initiates the process. Enter Babita Kumari, a film star going through a rough break-up. She is in his town calling fans for a dance with her and things start taking a different turn.
Bauua gets commitment-phobic and backs out of his own wedding to pursue Babita Singh, before realising that the relationship wouldn’t work out. He then decides to make massive sacrifices to win back Aafia. How he manages to do that and actually become the poster boy of the country is all that we get to see in the last insipid one hour. There was SRK’s lucky mascot — the shooting star sequence (inspired by our universal favourite movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai) in Zero too, but I am not going to dignify that with a comment or a mention here. Shhhhh. By the way, all SRK’s leading ladies — Kajol, Rani, Deepika and Sridevi — put in blink-and-you-will-miss-them appearances in a special scene, but that’s that.
Although the film has an original plot — exploring the love story of a dwarf twice over, the goings on don’t make sense post-intermission. The first half (where we get small-town, slice-of-life storylines) was a lot better than the second (where we move to bigger places and things start to get messy). In the first half, there’s a coherent plot, a few gags, some romance, and basically, the average SRK movie we see in Bollywood. Even though I found some parts of it to be slow like the few scenes before the wedding, it wasn’t all that bad. In the second half, however, he works for Babita Kumari, he has a fall-out with her, moves to America, becomes a test subject for a space experiment and goes to Mars (WHAT??!!). The second part seems illogical and out of this world (pun intended!)
Shah Rukh, Anushka and Katrina portrayed their characters well enough, but their acting skills were overshadowed by the terrible, terrible writing. I’m usually all for scenes with only dialogue, but several scenes had a very slow pace (like the scene where Aafia tries to convince Bauua not to leave). I had an overwhelming urge to check my phone and not pay attention to the movie during the scenes with just dialogue.
Also, there was absolutely no reason for Babita to be in this plot. That plot/sub-plot was useless, and the movie would’ve actually made more sense without it. Her character was just a poor excuse to squeeze in other celebs into this movie. Sorry Kat, for being hard on you twice this month — once for Zero and again, for Thugs of Hindostan.
I’ll have to confess that despite many yawn-worthy scenes, the last 30 minutes where he undergoes rigorous training to become a volunteer for space-exploration got me really hyped up. It was cool to see the different ways they train him to survive Mars, and the take-off scene was mesmerising. That still doesn’t excuse the movie for jumping into that plot out of nowhere, though.
There are also some other good parts of the movie. I found that the scenes in the hotel (where Bauua courts Aafia) to be very aesthetically pleasing, with Bauua in his dapper suit and flower bouquet. The song ‘Mere Naam Tu’ was beautiful (props to Abhay Jodhpurkar!), with stunning Holi visuals as well! Despite its poor plot, I’m glad differently-abled people are getting more representation, and not being cast into stereotypical roles.
Overall, I give this a movie a 2.5 rating. Although I’m a huge fan of Shah Rukh, this was a let-down. No offence, but I would rather watch Jab Harry Met Sejal (and that’s saying something!) over this. Oh boy, now I know there is a thin line between 1 (#1Star) and 0.
The author is a writer/blogger who blogs at www.vanshikadevuni.blogspot.com
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