Zero opens with a fun dream sequence where vertically challenged Bauua Singh sees himself as a French speaking cowboy saving a damsel in distress and his father (whom he does not get along with) is the villain in his dreams!
Bauaa Singh (Shah Rukh Khan), is a vertically challenged 38-year-old man living in Meerut, who’s full of spunk. Unlike most of the vertically challenged characters shown in Bollywood films, Bauua is no ‘bechara’, he’s shown as a privileged one who belongs to an affluent family and one who lives his life to the fullest. Bauua loves movies and is a huge fan of Babita Kumari (Katrina Kaif).
The story takes a turn when Bauua happens to see a photograph of Aafia Bhinder ( Anushka Sharma) at a local matchmaker’s (Brijendra Kala) office. The matchmaker arranges a date for the two and Bauua’s life becomes one complicated one when he sees the wheelchair-bound space scientist Aafia who suffers from cerebral palsy.
The first half of the film is a total entertainer based in the small town of Meerut and director Anand L Rai is brilliant with films set in small towns but it’s when the story moves to the big city and especially foreign lands in the second half when the film loses plot. There are so many things that happen in the second half that make you wonder where logic has suddenly disappeared, you keep wondering how it happened and why it happened. Like the scene where Anushka needs to rush to speak to Bauua before he takes off and she rides the wheelchair on the busy street instead of being driven in a car! Or how Bauua controls shooting stars by the click of a finger. Ok, so we may say maybe that’s cinematic liberty but even then the second half drags. It’s as if SRK is preparing for his upcoming film the Rakesh Sharma biopic based on NASA. The second half completely drops the interesting tempo that builds up till the interval.
While the film may or may not do well, the performances of the actors is commendable. Shah Rukh is brilliant as Bauua. His charm and his equally charming dimples that he boasts about in the film is still intact even when he stands as tall as Bauua! His energy, emotions and of course his style of romancing will leave you loving him more. What you could say is that while Bauaa Singh lacks in height, he makes up with his charm .
Anushka as the wheelchair bound scientist had one of the most difficult roles to play because it’s not easy for a normal person to feel and pretend to be confined to a wheelchair or confined in any physical way, but she has tried her best to get the trembling movement of the arms or the difficulty in speech correctly. However, one could say it’s not exactly admirable.
For me, the most surprising and most impressive actor in Zero was Katrina Kaif. I absolutely loved her as Babita in the film. This you could say is perhaps her best role as an actress and she has done total justice to the role. I loved the way she performed right from her introduction scene even though her make up was messy, hair not in place and she was dressed in her night clothes. What I mean to say is that she was in her de glam best and she looked stunning even then! That’s not all she was at her best performance and made you wish she had more scenes in the fim. I even looked forward to seeing her in the second half of the film. Katrina absolutely stole the show in Zero.
The much talked about scene with some of SRK’s heroines all in one scene was something I was waiting for but that too was very brief. It was a pleasure to watch the late Sridevi on the big screen, if you are a Sridevi fan like me, be prepared to tear up when she ironically says, “ It’s ok next time” when SRK fails to show his special magic.
The film does have some beautiful moments, some never seen before and very original scenes and brilliant performances by the actors but somehow the film fails to impress you in the second half. Zero is what could have been a great narrative and film.