Some movies are realistic, some are dramatic with a touch of realism and few are just outlandish. “Zero” is a movie which falls in the third category but with a pristine thought which has never been attempted in Indian cinema. But unfortunately, the narrative lost its way in the middle of many bizarre activities and somewhat faulty characterization of the two protagonists.
Bauua Singh (Shahrukh Khan) is a vertically challenged 38-year-old man from Meerut, who meets Aafia (Anushka Sharma), a scientist affected by cerebral palsy, in his strive to get married. But the love story in the verge of a happy ending is disrupted, as an intoxicated Babita Kumari (Katrina Kaif) , a tinsel town superstar and Bauua’s idol , kisses him in an eventful night. The narrative turns into some sort of love triangle with many outlandish events till Bauua escapes to outer space (Mars) to fulfill the director’s wish to portray a story of incompleteness.
Aanand L . Rai surely wanted to portray a different type of narrative for the audience with a pristine thought process, but the boat failed to sail smoothly and he lost control from the very beginning. I thought the biggest failure of the narrative lies in the characterization of Bauua Singh. He is too rude and adamant for no reason. He is vertically challenged but he cannot be disrespectful to the world for that reason. His ambitions are sky-high and somehow, he meets his dreams in certain points of the story, but the outlandish approach of the narrative never allows the audience to get attached with the emotional quotient of Bauua- the lead protagonist. The director had a plot with immense potential to curve out a brilliant love-triangle, but he fails to create the aura of love-chemistry between Bauua and his two female protagonists. The love story between Bauua and Aafia never blooms fully and there is no chemistry between Bauua and Babita. The king of romance has nothing to do except singing some silly songs with some funny and discourteous dialogues and at the end, doing an audacious act of going to Mars.
Anushka Sharma fails to deliver as a victim of Cerebral palsy. Her image has become the barrier between her portrayal and she needed to work much more on the expressions which were much needed for this role. She is nowhere close to Kalki Koechlin, who did a brilliant portrayal of a cerebral palsy sufferer in “Margarita with a Straw”. Most of the time Anushka’s dialogue delivery is monotonous with deliberate overact and creates a cover of boredom on the audience.
The best aspect of the movie is Katrina Kaif and her portrayal of Babita Kumari. The character is brilliantly written and has gone through many different shades and Katrina has given her career best performance in this movie. She defines the pain, confusion, pride, failure of the character with perfection and Rai has captured the expressions of her eyes brilliantly. There are multiple close shots that capture the emotion of the character and it should be regarded as one of the most difficult portrayal, done with precise and subtle emotions.
Aanand L. Rai has proved himself as an brilliant director with beautifully crafted movies like “Tanu Weds Manu” and “Raanjhanaa” but failed to live up to the expectations in “Zero” though there are sparkles of classy directorial approach in the narrative.“Zero” has a pristine script but the outlandish narrative approach of Himanshu Sharma and an over ambitious directorial approach has made it a Himalayan failure at the end, in spite of a powerful star cast and unprecedented hype.