Bollywood, having tested all earthly possible scenarios, has resorted to the final frontier, space, to try and keep SRK from getting the girl in Zero. This time around it’s not Pardes, its outer space. Hollywood has thrown space missions our way for all kinds of reasons, well closer to home recently the Tamil film industry too ventured into the zero gravity realm to save the world but who else but Shah Rukh Khan to take on deep space for the sake of simple unadulterated love aka pyar aka mohabbat. Yes, I am talking about an entire space mission. NASA would have retorted if their name was associated with a idea like that, so the makers have used a made up acronym NSAR in the film. If you are wondering what space has to do with the story of an abusive vertically challenged man from North India , I still havn’t figured that out yet though it’s been a couple of hours since I have watched the film. But I’m not complaining. Nobody owns space, yet. For a country that managed the cheapest Mars orbiters, we have every right to send SRK to space for any which reason we want and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it.
Personally, I’ll admit that I am always a bit wary when SRK experiments in his films. The scenes from the trailer reminded me of Fan, maybe it was that color tone and of course the change in physical appearance. Speaking of physical appearances the makers have pulled it off with precision and the visual effects are world class. But I had the impression that this time around it was the VFX that had a hard time catching up with the actor. SRK has unleashed himself like never before as Baua Singh. The man has travelled far from the Rajs and Rahuls of his prime and Baua is from another universe entirely but the sheer energy he has infused into the character is a testimony to the fact that if there’s anything that Shah Rukh Khan knows, it’s indeed to entertain, and how!. Anushka Sharma plays Afia, another disabled character and I must say it’s the most difficult role in the film from an actor’s perspective and she has put on a brave performance. It’s a thin line she’s walking here with her efforts at risk being written off as miming. She saves herself here, I think. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub plays sidekick to Bauua and is again a disabled character. Tigmanshu Dhulia plays dad to Bauua and is one character that should have had more screen time with SRK’s, I feel.
The whole premise gives political correctness a toss and the filmmaker’s justification as expressed by a main character is that a disabled person yearns to be treated as a normal person which essentially defines the equation between Bauua and Afia. Then we have Katrina Kaif who plays a troubled movie star. Again, how Bauua connects with her character or even Anushka’s for that matter is the stuff of legendary Bollywood scripting but hey, this is how we like it over here and expect no apologies either. Madhavan and Abhay Deol make brief appearances but when SRK is on fire for almost three hours , you hardly notice. Speaking of appearances, SRK displays his clout in the industry with some scenes where almost all his leading ladies from yesteryear and recent past doing cameos. Shridevi gets most screentime I think and the scene is surreal and disturbing, considering the tragedy. Coming back to the film again, I would like to think that this is Bollywood’s rather SRK’s answer to Forrest Gump. Hell, Forrest Gump took home the Oscars for Film, Actor, Director, VFX, Editing and Adapted Screeplay that year.If we, as an audience or critics even had absolutely no problems with how disability was portayed by Tom Hanks, I don’t see why we should have any with Zero either. Yes, Bollywood is a different animal entirely which is to say we are a diverse audience which ultimately reflects in the movies that our industries churn out. SRK is not looking for Oscars here and like Bauua he doesn’t want your sympathy either and he makes sure there’s none. You end up hating it or loving it. It’s that simple. The bottom line is that when Shah Rukh Khan sets out to get a girl, size does not matter, nor does space.