When Zero begins in a sepia tone with Tigmanshu Dhulia as the villain and Shah Rukh Khan as the hero saving a woman, in a perfect 70s set-up, you laugh out loud. When it turns out to be a dream of Bauua Singh, who sees his ever-nagging father playing the baddie even in his subconscious mind, you laugh out louder. We are soon introduced to other characters in this regular household of small-town Meerut, where daily tussles are a part of life. But within the next half an hour, as you slowly slide into the actual story, you feel lost looking for logic behind the sudden surge of love/attraction (or whatever you want to call it) between a vertically challenged man (Bauua) and a scientist who suffers from cerebral palsy (Aafia). And this lost feeling continues throughout till the end!
Zero begins well with two differently abled characters celebrating life. But only for some time. The Aanand L Rai film soon begins to falter. It suffers heavily from so many things. A weak screenplay which is so predictable that even if you return to your seats a little late post the interval, you won’t miss anything in particular.
The plot takes you from the lanes of Meerut to the wide roads of US and even inside NSRA (NASA?). Why? You’ll keep connecting threads and have only suspension of disbelief at your disposal. And well, there is even a chimp, but he is too sensitive to listen to humans. And amid all this, India is gearing up for its Mars mission. Rejoice? Not really.
Katrina Kaif’s Babita Kumari enters and exits the film without any impact. Brilliant actors like Tigmanshu Dhulia, Sheeba Chaddha, Bijendra Kala and Abhay Deol are wasted. The only respite and moments of laughter that linger on are between SRK’s Bauua and his buddy Guddu Singh, played by Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub.
The film boasted of some of the biggest cameos seen recently. There is Salman Khan in the song “Issaqbaazi”, also including Remo D’Souza and Ganesh Acharya. Then there is a hoard of beautiful female actors who walked straight out of the Lux advertisement. But only Juhi Chawla and Sridevi stand out. Rest, including Kajol, Rani Mukerji, Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt and Karisma Kapoor are forgettable.
For the makers, the film’s title ‘Zero’ has a connotation, or maybe two. But after watching the film, it can be said that it has zero meaning, as does the film! To say that it suffers from the curse of the second half would be saying too little.
We thought last year’s disaster Jab Harry Met Sejal was a lesson for Shah Rukh Khan. But what happens after Zero? Do we blame him or Rai or its script? I’ll blame all of these!