Where the women steal the centrestage from their hero
Disability does not and should not derail life. And neither does it mean that you can’t be flawed. Flawed is actually the common trait that holds our three principle characters together in director Aanand L Rai’s latest directorial, ‘Zero’.
‘Zero’ is the story about pursuing dreams and loving beyond limits.
Bauaa Singh (Shah Rukh Khan) is a 38 year-old vertically challenged man from Meerut, who is constantly the butt of jibes amongst his townfolk for his height and is despised by his father Ashok (Tigmanshu Dhulia). Much to the dismay of the woman of the house (Sheeba Chaddha), the banter between father and son involves daddy dearest whipping his uncouth son with his belt while the son addresses him by his first name. Bauaa chances upon a marriage prospect that his frequently-sought marriage bureau friend (Brijendra Kala) has been hiding from him. The prospect in question you ask is Aafia Yusufzai Bhinder (Anushka Sharma), an ambitious scientist for whom cerebral palsy is a petty hindrance than her larger-than-life quest to send humans to Mars. Even as Bauaa is trying to win the affection of the hard-to-please Aafia, his fixation for the reigning queen of hearts Babita Kumari (Katrina Kaif) turns into a strange obsession, which he can go to any lengths to achieve. Thus continues the tale of validation, error and redemption.
Director Rai, who is best credited for his small-town wonders with the ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ franchise and ‘Ranjhanaa’ captures the TIER 2 milieu just as beautifully as he has always. The first half is particularly entertaining with clap-trap lines being exchanged in between Khan, Dhulia, Kala and the Rai regular Mohd. Zeeshan Aayub. The credit goes to the director’s frequent collaborator Himanshu Sharma who strikes beautifully with the might of his pen. Cinematographer Manu Anand and production designer Wasiq Khan stage brilliant visuals that are a terrific delight. ‘Mere Naam Tu’ remains in your head for the way its shot and brilliantly composed by Ajay-Atul. The only hiccup is the editing by Hemal Kothari as the curse of the second half lets the interest levels dip marginally.
Yet, the stellar performances of the three primary leads keep you glued towards the end. Major thumbs up to Khan and Rai for letting the ladies shine. Anushka is faultless as Aafia. She doesn’t seek your empathy yet you can’t help but care and root for her. As for Katrina, the actress plays an extended version of herself with all the familiar tropes. A star recovering from a failed relationship but on the verge of a nervous breakdown. This is the performance that we’ve been seeking from Kaif. Lastly, for SRK, ‘Zero’ is the elixir, his filmography needed. As Bauaa, Khan is unapologetic, acidic with his words and cares two hoots about tomorrow. It’s a role of a lifetime and Khan makes a meal of it. He and Aayub share a fantastic camaraderie which was earlier reflective in ‘Raees’. Here’s hoping for more films with them.
Just when the audience was beginning to write the Khans off, ‘Zero’ is a gentle reminder that with a great director at the helm of affairs, a Khan film will continue drawing its audience. It’s a Merry Christmas at the box-office, this weekend.