Aanand L Rai’s Zero is about beliefs. Indian Cinema has poured preconceived notions about small town romance, Rai challenges the notion in form of a dwarf who soars in a cosmic fable. Science is unreasonably effective, it’s generated knowledge beyond all expectation – it has also delivered perspective. Yes, we are an insignificant speck in an infinite universe, but we’re also rare – Aanand L Rai & Himanshu Sharma weave a metaphorical cosmic equity of love complementing Physicist Brian Cox’s belief. But, the metaphor is stuck in a clumsy narrative which does leave an emotional impact remarking E.N.D.U.R.A.N.C.E.
Bauua Singh (Shahrukh Khan), a vertically challenged man, who is full of charm and wit, with a pinch of arrogance is a diehard fan of doomed superstar Babita Kumari (Katrina Kaif) meets Afia, a scientist (Anushka Sharma). Unrequited and undying love is uplifted in an interplanetary fable; the conventional themes flows under the surface of a cosmic premise. Over the period of time, Zero sprouts disbelief – lit with a glow and a sun-flare suggesting a fairytale. But, it’s an imperfect film – way too hard to endure post-interval; which celebrates imperfection. From physical disability to intellectual capability, writer Himanshu Sharma endures the patience with ample of space – a space, which gradually becomes a void. It’s about stars, in every sense – from cinema to cosmos – in a peculiar scene, Buaa’s star magic fails in front of Bollywood stardom. From a doomed star to reaching beyond stars, Zero engulfs an interesting subtext flattering itself in tremendous pressure.
Zero’s story arc never connects the traditional setup and engagement; Afia’s character looks sympathetically juxtaposed in front of Buaa for fruitful yearns, the character never rises above substantial offering. Based on previous works of Aanand L Rai & Himanshu Sharma, here, they aim for a larger than life premise which threatens the quantity of melodrama and subsequently, the quality of style-and-substance. Aanand L Rai’s extraction of small town-milieu looks malleable and lacks the groove of Tanu Weds Manu (2011) and Raanjhaana (2013). Like Imtiaz Ali endured an injury with Jab Harry Met Sejal (2017), Aanand L Rai flatters himself with “Shahrukh Khan” in zero gravity which adds substantial gravitas to Shahrukh Khan’s ever declining graph.
Shahrukh Khan kind of reinvents himself delivering an over-the-top performance suited best for wit & arrogance of Buaa. And as usual, wears character arc by playing himself in the second half. Anushka Sharma doesn’t look much convincing since her vulnerability is constantly on a run, while Katrina Kaif plays the doomed Superstar with utter conviction. Mohammed Zeshan Ayub as Buaa’s best friend delivers an overt performance, while Tigmanshu Dhulia in a limited role is terrific.
Zero endures resilience, the cosmic metaphor of love works momentarily and the incompleteness of two beings with shortcomings never comprehend the fable. Sridevi makes her last appearance exclaiming when Buaa’s magic fails, “No problem, you can try it next time!” – until next time Mr. Aanand L Rai.
Release: 21 December, 2018
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