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Zero | Film Review

They say - Zero is a complete number. And yet, one witnesses the lead characters of Aanand L Rai's romantic - drama as being incomplete in their own way. Be it physically, emotionally or mentally; each integral character is fighting his / her own battle. That is exactly what sets the tone for Rai's Zero, which unfolds as a simple yet beautiful tale. Oh, and there is a lot more to the film than just a lead protagonist shown as a dwarf. Wanna know more about Khan's much anticipated Christmas release, without any spoilers (of course)? Read on:


Bauua Singh (Shah Rukh Khan) is not your average hero. For someone who dreams of knocking off villains as a countryside brave heart,  Singh is actually a blunt, cocky, selfie obsessed man, who won't think twice before showering his friends with bundles of cash. His only weakness? Superstar Babita Kumari (Katrina Kaif), who he aspires to marry. Singh's biggest personal dilemma happens to be his height, as at 4'2, the man is a dwarf. However, that doesn't stop him from being his 'filmy' self. So much, that he even has a Dhoom 3 inspired outfit reserved, just to watch Babita on the big screen. His antics are often supported by a best friend (Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub), who never leaves an opportunity to deliver latest updates from Babita's life, published in various magazines and newspapers, directly to Singh.  Meanwhile, it is revealed that Singh secretly met a renowned Space Centre scientist - Aafia (Anushka Sharma) via a matrimonial site, and the two went on to become more than just friends. Enter Babita, who unexpectedly meets Singh, just a night before the most important day in his life. What follows is a tale of twisted emotions in Aafia's life, unravelling the dark side of love in Babita's life, and of course, Baaua's quest - jo zindagi katna nahi, jeena chahta tha.

Bauua Singh is not your average hero. He dreams of knocking off villains as a countryside brave heart


Rai is known to tell stories that are deep rooted in the heartland of India. Tales that explore the real, raw and vulnerable sides of his characters. Be it Raanjhanaa's Kundan or Manu from Tanu Weds Manu; they are often flawed. The lead protagonists in Zero are no different, except maybe Sharma's Aafia. But, these very flaws and challenges help Bauua, Aafia and Babita discover themselves in a whole new perspective, during different stages of the film. It won't be fair to reveal the main plot (and we never deal with spoilers), but a Standard 10 pass Bauaa achieves a feat that he wouldn't have ever dreamt of. Hence, these challenges become their biggest strength, and in a way, a strong highlight of the film.

Flaws and challenges help Bauua, Aafia and Babita discover themselves in a whole new perspective, during different stages of the film


Music composer duo Ajay-Atul deliver yet another winner, with songs that add a special touch to the narrative. The tracks fit well, and have been wonderfully composed. Especially Mere Naam Tu, which is hands down of the best romantic numbers, both sung and shot in recent times. Then there is Heer Badnaam (composed by Tanishk Bagchi), and a soothing slow number that appears right before the climax. The background score is perfect. Without being too over dramatic, it's the perfect addition to the moments that unfold. Manu Anand's cinematography is decent. One feels the editing could have been a bit tight and crisp in the second half. Especially towards the last 15-20 minutes, where the film felt a little over-stretched. Himanshu Sharma's writing scores full points in the first half, and even during the initial part post interval. However, one feels like the strings loosen up towards the end, where the plot starts feeling a bit too ho-hum. The ensemble cast comprising of Bauaa's parents (Tigmanshu Dhulia and Sheeba Chaddha) and his best friend (Ayyub) perform well.  Be prepared for some starry cameos too, with the likes of Salman Khan, Deepika Padukone, Kajol among others making a splash. Though, the special has got to be Late Sridevi's final glimpse, looking stunning ever.

Music composer duo Ajay-Atul deliver yet another winner, with songs that add a special touch to the narrative


However, the film primarily focuses on the journey of three integral characters - Aafia, Babita and Bauua. Katrina's swag as the unabashed diva Babita Kumari is simply incredible. If there is anyone who gets maximum cheers after Khan's entry, it is Katrina. Popular actress with million fans, yet a doomed diva with a broken heart; Katrina does a fine job of bringing out Babita's inner turmoil. Absolutely loved her glamorous on-screen presence. But, it's the emotional scenes, that showcase Babita's vulnerability, where Katrina nails the expression and how! Wish she could have got some more screen time, though. As the genius scientist Aafia, Anushka delivers one of her finest performances in recent times. She puts together a perfectly nuanced, controlled act; keeping in mind the limitations she has due to the character's disability (cerebral palsy). It ain't a simple task to express yourself with limited movements in a film, where the co-star's character is unapologetically rude and yet, fun loving. Anushka does complete justice to her character. As an actress, she has never failed to deliver in the past, and has always given her 100% to every role. Aafia is no different, as she creates an impact with a fantastic performance.

Katrina's swag as the unabashed diva Babita Kumari is simply incredible, while Anushka delivers one of her finest performances in recent times


However, Zero's biggest heroes are those who literally carry the film on their able shoulders with élan. The first? Of course, Shah Rukh Khan. He is the heart and soul of Rai's vision, which takes Bauua from Meerut to United States of America, despite all the hurdles and flaws that the character overcomes. It's impossible to doubt Khan's performance in any film, as he never leaves a stone unturned to give his finest best to every character. With Zero, he takes things a notch above with an all new avatar. And yet again, he triumphs. Don't just go by that height, mind you. It's a mix of his brash behaviour, witty dialogues, impeccable style, charm and craziness; and it all comes together to win your heart. He excels in some fine emotional moments, leaving you a teeny bit teary eyed too. Khan steals the show and owns the film, leaving you with a smile, and moments that define the film. The film belongs to SRK in every sense, and he delivers a flawless performance. The second hero of this film has got to be the team behind it's VFX. A lot of effort and hard work has gone behind putting together this film, especially post shoot. The film, especially it's lead protagonist, relies heavily on VFX for his physicality. Every minute detail has been perfectly crafted, especially Khan's structure, facial expressions and his movements. Kudos to the VFX team at Red Chillies for a fantastic job.

The film belongs to SRK in every sense, and he delivers a flawless performance


Rai's style of film making makes the first half a breezy ride. Packed with impeccable humour, some wonderful romantic moments, and emotional scenes, the first half truly wins your heart, especially with its good writing and some really well penned dialogues. We wish the second half could be a bit tighter and perhaps, shorter by a few minutes. Nevertheless, it's the overall experience that overshadows the drawbacks. Khan, Anushka and Katrina - the trio's fantastic act, state of the art VFX, melodious music and wholesome (yet emotional) entertainment makes this a good watch at the cinemas with your family and / or loved ones. Bauua toh chaa gaya, bhai!!

Verdict: Watch it for SRK, and the two leading ladies, who steal the show with their performance. This one's got all the elements of a romantic-drama, with some 'unique' VFX twist that makes it worth a watch!
⭐⭐⭐1/2

Don't miss our candid conversation with Shah Rukh Khan!

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Love,
The Dancebee

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Priya Adivarekar

Priya Adivarekar - Founder and Creative Director at Diary of a Dancebee. She is also a renowned Voice Actress and award winning artiste, with serious passion for dance. When not working round the clock, she can be seen reading, enjoying a movie-binge or listening to music.
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