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Aanand L Rai says he took pressure of Shah Rukh Khan’s stardom during Zero: ‘I knew how to take off but…’

Aanand L Rai and Himanshu Sharma spoke about the failure of Shah Rukh Khan's Zero in separate interviews. While the filmmaker said that he maybe bit off more than he could chew, the writer said that he remains unaffected.

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi |
January 5, 2022 10:02:35 am
zero director aanand l rai with shah rukh khanAanand L Rai directed Shah Rukh Khan in the ill-fated Zero.

Filmmaker Aanand L Rai and his writing partner Himanshu Sharma have addressed the critical and commercial failure of their film Zero, which released in 2018. The film, starring Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma failed to recover its hefty budget — reportedly close to Rs 200 crore — and didn’t impress critics either.

The failure of the film sent Shah Rukh into a sabbatical, which he has yet to re-emerge from. Anushka hasn’t appeared in another film since then, either. Both have hinted at wanting to creatively recalibrate in past interviews.

To IANS, Aanand L Rai said that in hindsight, maybe he shouldn’t have taken the pressure of delivering a film that would live up to the stardom of his hero. He said that he ‘should not have signed up for a huge project like that’ if he felt he wasn’t prepared to handle the pressure. He continued, “Yes, I was working with one of the biggest superstars of our country, Shah Rukh. Making the film itself was an experience and I am proud of the fact that it was one of the original films, an original story. Yes, I took the pressure of Khan’s stardom that I shouldn’t have. But Zero is not a failure but a learning for me. I knew how to take off, I didn’t know how to land!”

In an interview to Film Companion, Himanshu Sharma also spoke about Zero, but said that since he doesn’t allow himself to be affected by success, the same logic should apply to failure as well. He said, “You learn as much from your success as much as your failure. When you sit with an audience in the theatre, you know what works and why, or where the edit should have been. There is always a scope to learn. The audience is a better judge. They know it by instinct. They are honest because they paid money for it. Zero has not taught me anything more than what Tanu Weds Manu or Raanjhanaa has taught me about writing or filmmaking.”

Himanshu and Aanand L Rai most recently collaborated on another divisive film, Atrangi Re. Starring Sara Ali Khan, Dhanush and Akshay Kumar, the film has received praise for its unconventional narrative, but criticism for its handling of mental illness.

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