Zero Review - Ambitious, Brilliant and Deserves More!
Aanand L Rai's Zero is the most ambitious film of the year. It runs on a high concept.. some powerful writing.. a terrific star cast of leads and some surprising cameos ever happened in Bollywood.. brilliant background score and so on. Yet I am surprised by the bashes it's been getting on Twitter and from critics. Even by keeping SRK's recent outings.. ZERO comes closer to perfection in presenting the blend of both actor's aura and director's sensibilities.
Zero is way too larger than life to put on a map of reality or connect for the audience. The protagonist, Bauua Singh, is a dwarf sized 30+ years old man! And this cocky, witty guy from Meerut falls in love with a Hawkingsque genius space scientist, Aafia. She demands for marriage. Meanwhile.. he is falling for a superstar heroine Babita, who is going through a rough phase of breakup. She kisses him and takes him for her personal escort and friend. Towards the end, he proves his love for Aafia by recruiting himself in the mission to MARS she is working for.
And there are heavy Aanand L Rai flavoured blows all over. At some point, one may feel that the entire film is Raanjhanaa in a different milieu. The stalking.. The demanding marriage on prep with half concern by the protagonist.. Stopping the marriage halfway to go behind another love.. Working on the same mission despite personal conflicts (just like how Kundan and Zoya worked for the same party).. both Zoya and Aafia can't bear Kundan or Bauua going through so much pain yet their ego doesn't allow them to give up! The parallels are so similar. Yet the cast, characterisations and the platform make all the differences.
The interesting arc of the film is that of Katrina's. She plays this Khol-on-tears eyed superstar actress who is on a heartbreak. And man! She does it with so much of relatablity! (Can't help wondering why the actor who dumped her is named Kapoor) I've never felt Katrina as a good actress at all. But with Zero, she really makes the story grip around her. The swag she pulls off when she skips makeup and goes with a random dress for a public appearance.. It looks like, finally here is a role that she can understand, sink it within and perform!
SRK is hilarious, romantic and as magical as he is in every film he is in! The star charm hasn't faded a bit. How he owns the 'abbe' says how effortlessly he can make you buy a character. From a small town thug to an emotional starstruck fan (the entire star - fan relationship between Bauua and Babita reminds you of SRK's fan as well).. From a stalker (still he wins you over when you hear him telling that he has fallen in Mohabbat..) to a man who would drench himself in pain to prove that his love is beyond right and wrong.. Shah Rukh Khan owns the story on his back like that of a captain safeguarding a wrecked ship!
But the true powerhouse of the film is Aafia. Anushka Sharma plays a girl with cerebral palsy. And it is not just a added side to the character. She does it with so much conviction and confidence. There is not even a single misstep. Throughout the film.. be it the way she smiles or cries.. or getting pissed off.. the shivering body language and struggling words that she utters.. This has to be the most brilliant performance of a female lead in a mainstream Bollywood cinema in years! She deserves all the awards and accolades for pulling it off like an ace!
And Himanshu Dharma's writing is carefully crafted on screen. There is so much drama that's quite difficult to pile up in a film. For example, when SRK tries to apologise to Aafia she makes him float in zero gravity. Cos that's her way of being in an equal level to him and tell him all that she wants to tell him. It is a mindblowingly well done sequence. So is the scene where Babita pushes SRK out and stops the party. She neglects both her boyfriend and Bauua. The character comes really powerful and independent when she does that. Or even the scenes where he fails in making the stars drop out before the actresses but towards the end where it happens when he is with Aafia. We get that it works only when he is with her! We get that it is with her that his magic really happens.
Yet after all this drama, the film doesn't stop from being an entertainer. There is a song featuring Salman Khan as a judge for a dance competition. There is a star studded party where you see Alia Bhatt, Deepika Padukone, Kajol, Madhuri and even SriDevi making cameos. In many which ways, Zero pushes the boundaries of being a big budget film that's not just about technology and yet making sense.
What really bothers the film is the dejected last thirty minutes. The space mission that Bauua undergoes (though it has an emotional connect between the relationship of Aafia and Bauua) comes like an added epilogue. The film could have been way too sleek and packed for the kind of content and drama it holds. But in a duration of 160 minutes, one really feels detached somewhere along the course.
Bottomline : Forget the commerce games and reviews over internet.. Aanand L Rai's Zero is an entertainer that comes up with a larger than life story where the stars shine at their best and portray emotions that are as unique as it can.
Rating : 3/5