wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)

quick review:

Breaks my heart to not like a film that treats disability and abnormality with such forthrightness. How I wish everything else in the film wasn’t so disconnected.

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Director: Anand L. Rai
Running time: 160 minutes
Genres: Romance
More Movie Info

Zero - Preview

A love triangle with a dwarf, a person with what seems to be cerebral palsy, and a celebrity of some sort. And then there is a spacecraft! Because I assume the story-writers were not convinced that the love triangle between these three unlikely characters was good enough.

Unfortunately anyway, the star power of the actors playing each of these characters overshadows the story – at least in the trailer. While Anushka Sharma seems to play it the best and Katrina Kaif happens to be some version of her real-life self, it is Shah Rukh Khan that feels the most over-bearing.

You have to hand it to him though for taking his romantic image to the next level. Within the constraint of what his audience demands from him, the man is experimenting. While I really want to appreciate him for the effort he is obviously making, what we see in this trailer feels like he is overacting his own romantic image–which is overbearing and annoying to say the least.

Even so, I do want to watch this film for the little things that are done differently. I might or might not be able to watch and write about this film on time because I will be on a short break on the Friday it releases. Let’s hope it will be sooner rather than later.

Zero releases on 21 December, 2018.

- meeta, a part of the audience

You’d expect a film with three protagonists, one of whom is wheel-chair bound (Aafia–Anushka Sharma) and another is a dwarf (Bauaa–Shah Rukh Khan), would try to milk your pity. But Zero doesn’t even have hint at it. Unfortunately, everything else about Zero is so disjointed that it made me want to cry.

That the writers tried very hard to keep Zero from becoming the regular ol’ love triangle is both the boon and the bane of the film.

I cannot applaud the writers enough for being able to not give in to the temptation to make us feel bad for the characters. Both the characters are strong, confident personalities who are unabashed. Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma use their own real-life confidence to make the characters absolutely believable. Yet, both the actors almost immediately make you forget their star persona–and surprisingly enoough, Shah Rukh Khan is more successful at it than Anushka Sharma. Katrina Kaif too does her bit of a perennially drunk and heart-broken star Babita Kumari, very well.

But why is she there?! Why does Babita do what she does? Why does Bauaa go all weird on her? Why does Bauaa go all weird with Aafia? Sure, the reasons are scattered through the film, but the connection doesn’t seem consistent with the characters’ behaviour. Maybe there is an underlying comment that Aafia being the only brain-led person in the film behaves in a logical manner.

For logic seems to go missing in other parts of the writing too. The monkey on stage scene or the scene with all the Hindi film stars are rather randomly inserted. And these are just a couple of examples. Potshots at Anurag Kashyap and Imtiaz Ali and other such details seem out of context too.

Then again, there are a couple of examples of wonderfully done randomness too. As random as it is, the zero-gravity scene has a lovely air about it. Similarly, the Holi song is one of the most beautifully picturized romantic songs in recent times.

That the writers tried very hard to keep Zero from becoming the regular ol’ love triangle is both the boon and the bane of the film. It would have been a real shame if the film was just another love story with disability and dwarfism imposed on it. But it is also a shame what they tried was devoid of connect and sense too. So incoherent is the story that as much as I would like to recommend the film to you for what is good about it, I just can’t. All I can say is I just hope that the writers, director and actors don’t stop experimenting.

- meeta, a part of the audience

37 reviewers(?) - 3 yays 19 so-so 15 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...But finally Zero works. It celebrates incompleteness as no other movie in any language has ever done. Like the film, Bauaa Singh isn’t afraid to fail. He has the great immortal Sridevi telling him it’s okay to fail. I couldn’t ask for more. Can you?... full review

Thumbs up, by Baradwaj Rangan, Film Companion : ...This is Aanand L Rai’s most fluid film. The absurdism cancels out the rocky narrative patches that were so problematic in his earlier (and far more conventional) outings. He makes us take a huge leap of faith, one that involves chimpanzees and cuckoo metaphors and surreal role-playing (like how Babita is dressed exactly like Aafia in a wedding-scene shoot).... full review

Thumbs up, by Raja Sen, Hindustan Times : ...Shah Rukh Khan measures up. The visual effects lack continuity and he looks more like a dwarf in some scenes than others, his deformity sometimes more pronounced while he looks like a spookily smooth tiny-Khan in other sequences. The actor glosses over this with a dominating performance and tremendous energy. Bauaa Singh is a severely flawed character made irresistible by his pluck, and it’s remarkable how much Khan brings to the part. And he remains the best lover in the business.... full review

So-So, by Tushar P. Joshi, Bollywood Life : ...Zero has heart and humour. It also has some fine performances by its three superstar actors. Watch it if you are in mood for a different take on love with an intergalactic experience.... full review

So-So, by Deepali Srivastawa, Catch News : ...रोमांस किंग के नाम से जानते हैं हम शाहरुख खान को और उन्होंने इस फिल्म में भी जबरदस्त रोमांस दिखाया है. फिल्म में फिजिकल चैलेंजेस को अपने व्यवहार पर किसी भी किरदार ने हावी नहीं होने दिया फिर चाहे वो शाहरुख हो या अनुष्का. फिल्म में सलमान खान की एंट्री आपको सिटी बजाने पर मजबूर कर देगी. इसके साथ ही फिल्म 'जीरो' में एक्ट्रेस दीपिका पादुकोण,दिवंगत एक्ट्रेस श्रीदेवी,जूही चावला,करिश्मा कपूर,रानी मुखर्जी,काजोल और आलिया भट्ट जैसी एक्ट्रेसेस की जबरदस्त एंट्री और स्पेशल अपीयरेंस भी आपको खुश कर देगी. फिल्म में आपको एक्टर अभय देओल और आर.माधवन की एक्टिंग भी देखने को मिलेगा.... full review

So-So, by Meena Iyer, DNA : ...Zero gets marks for Shah Rukh's experiment into a space less traveled. If you're curious, go ahead, amuse yourelf.... full review

So-So, Filmfare : ...It’s the acting which carries the day. Anushka Sharma, as the woman who hasn't let her condition get in the way of her intellect or ambition delivers another powerful performance. It’s not only an emotional rollercoaster of a role but has a physical side to it as well and she aces delivering both facets. Katrina has been given the most real role of her life so far and has run away with it. She makes you see the grime beneath the glamour and one can feel she’s having a lot of fun doing a role that kind of demystifies the film industry. Shah Rukh Khan is experimenting with each film and must be admired for his zeal to attempt something out of the ordinary and not playing it safe. He has given it all to the film and makes you believe in Bauaa’s madness even in the film’s most fantastical scenes.... full review

So-So, by Madhuri V, Filmi Beat : ...The first half of the film has some terrific rooted writing along with rib-tickling lines that are so relatable with his signature Aanand L. Rai style. It's a roller-coaster of emotions which strikes the right note. Unfortunately, the screenplay derails and goes haywire in the second half when the narrative moves to NSRA and our Meerut man goes on a mission to Mars.... full review

So-So, by Swetha Ramakrishan, FirstPost : ...While the VFX in Zero is not seamless, the effort is visible and one must laud Aanand L Rai, Red Chillies and the man himself, Shah Rukh Khan, for executing an ambitious project like Zero. You may or may not like the film, but you will most certainly fall in love with Bauua Singh.... full review

So-So, by Manasa Kandukuri, : ...For a romantic comedy, Zero takes the road less travelled, focusing on a set of protagonists each incomplete in their own ways but possessing such optimism that they make the whole affair endearing and leave you dreamy.... full review

So-So, by Vishal Verma, : ...It’s a must for diehard Srkians, as Shah Rukh Khan has never been so daring and hilarious in his career. Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif come with some strong performance to add power to the movie and reduce its glaring flaws which are visible after every minute during the second half. The movie is a test of patience and demands great degree of suspension of disbelief. But like those dimples on that smiling face, Shah Rukh Khan as Bauua Singh leaves a lasting impression. Watch it for SRK. Going with three stars in generosity, an extra for King Khan Shah Rukh Khan.... full review

So-So, indiaglitz : ...Zero is an ambitious project, has various sub stories etched into its 165-minute run time. Its no hidden secret that Bauua the loner in Meerut was more enjoyable. Why do Bollywood stars always need to take the train to stardom – refer to those hi-life suave stylish livelihood. Its time for SRK to go back to his good old acting days with a sense of audience connect, that’s exactly where his strength lies.... full review

So-So, by Pankhurie Mulasi, Movie Talkies : ...Watch this film for Shah Rukh Khan's terrific performance. Zero is strictly a one-time watch but is leagues ahead of Race 3 and Thugs Of Hindostan.... full review

So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...Without giving away the film’s mind-bending plot, in some wa Read more at: full review

So-So, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Zero, riding on SRK's back, reaches for the stars. But its astral ambitions are thwarted by a lack of imagination and genuine understanding of the minds of people struggling to ward off undeserved ridicule and earn rightful recognition. But whoever expects such niceties from a movie that rarely rises above the level of unalloyed bilge?... full review

So-So, by Karishma Shetty, Pinkvilla : ...So, at the end of the day, is Zero worth a watch? If you love SRK, Anushka and Katrina, then hell yeah, because they make for a deadly trio on screen. However, beware of the absurdity that the second half ensues, which will literally drive you to Mars, no pun intended.... full review

So-So, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Still Zero is far from a misfire. Its cheerfully absurd aspirations are strewn in metaphors laying value to imperfections and SRK's gallery playing showmanship.... full review

So-So, by Troy Ribeiro, Sify Movies : ...Overall, while the film opens with an intriguing and engaging scene, the overall packaging despite being fantastical, lacks the punch.... full review

So-So, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...Then there are the scripted moments, that make you smile in their subversiveness—the jibe at Muslims not getting the American visa. SRK as Bauua sporting the ultimate Brahminical symbol, the janeu, even rolling it on his earlobe when using the toilet and invoking Mata Raniall the time. It’s as though SRK is deliberately pointing out to some commentators and critics (remember the debate post Raees) that he is not just about embracing his Muslim identity on screen. Touche!... full review

So-So, by Rachit Gupta, Times of India : ...The same inconsistency plagues the movie, too. At one point, Zero dazzles with moments of colour and vibrancy, but then it also follows up with dull scenes that fail to launch the drama in the zone that it’s supposed to be in.... full review

So-So, by Saumil Gandhi, Upper Stall : ...It is hard to see SRK struggle against the writing as he gives it his all in the role of a bratty, foul-mouthed but well-intended dwarf. The role is unique, one that is bound to draw attention and create expectations from every filmgoer. It is a lot of responsibility that SRK discharges with courage and gusto.... full review

So-So, by Ankita Chakravarti, Zee News : ...Although the director Anand L Rai has had a glorious history, he has failed in executing the film. However, one thing that the whole team can be certainly proud of is the performances. The whole star-cast has delivered their career-best performance in Zero and shouldered a delirious script.... full review

Thumbs down, by Anna MM Vertticad, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...If and when you do your next Zero, Mr Rai, do put the screenplay through the same arduous pressure test to which you would subject Tumbbad. Better still, give us more Tumbbads please.... full review

Thumbs down, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks : ...On the whole, ZERO comes as one of the biggest disappointments of the year 2018 post films such as RACE and THUGS OF HINDOSTAN. However it still scores more than these two duds due to its merit of watchable performances and a partially breezy first half bringing smiles onto your faces at regular intervals.... full review

Thumbs down, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, ZERO has several factors going for it: star presence, winsome performances, energetic soundtrack and of course, it’s timed during the Christmas and New Year vacations. Sadly, the weak, flawed and lacklustre screenwriting is all that you recall after you’ve watched the much-awaited movie. This one’s an epic disappointment!... full review

Thumbs down, by Ashish Rana, Catch News : ...If you have nothing to do in the Christmas weekend and if you really think you can watch the leading cast without entertainment, then you can watch it. Besides, wait for the television premiere maybe it is made for that only.... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ...because the actors have done their best. Anushka Sharma is a dependably good actress, but even Katrina Kaif has excelled as the emotionally needy Babita. The big question is what did Rai and Khan find so appealing about this script that they ended up making such a disappointing dud.... full review

Thumbs down, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...If Rai and Company had stuck to the original idea of giving SRK an opportunity of going out of the box and staying true to that theme throughout, we would have had a more meaningful and exciting outing at the theatres. The way it is now, you are bound to feel inevitably pained by the corrupted corpulence of the unwieldy second half!... full review

Thumbs down, by Ananya Bhattacharyal, india today : ...Zero starring Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif has hit the screens today. The film begins well and maintains pace in first half but is a disaster post intermission, says our review.... full review

Thumbs down, by R.M. Vijayakar, India West : ...As for the overall film, pardon me for the brief and superficial-looking review. For one, this critique is quite adequate to describe this gigantic disappointment. For another, it is an uphill journey to find words, even more, to sit through the inordinate length of the film!... full review

Thumbs down, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...But Zero fails spectacularly at giving us anything we can believe in, and we go from start to finish, with disbelief growing with each passing frame. Every so often, Zero comes close to substance, as when Dhulia’s dark feelings for his son rise to the surface, as when the son reciprocates with visceral dislike, as when a Muslim character says something about the difficulties of ‘Musalmaan ka visa lagwaana’ in today’s India. But each time, the sharpness is abandoned for fear of alienating those who seek comfort in worn cliches.... full review

Thumbs down, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, Live Mint : ...Interestingly, Khan delivered one of his finest performances as a NASA scientist in Swades. He finds a deep space connection in Zero and his next work is reportedly Saare Jaahan Se Acha, a biopic on Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian in space.... full review

Thumbs down, by Snehamay Francis, Masala : ...Rai, however, manages to salvage much of the damage when he anchors the story in Meerut. It’s what he does best and you watch him flourish, but when he shifts his canvas to Mumbai, and later to a space station in America, you see him struggle to make sense of that world.... full review

Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...Guess it'd be impossible for filmmakers to attempt a leap of faith so high, without quite convincing themselves that they're on to a masterpiece. One hopes (for them), others feel so too. Clearly, I didn't.... full review

Thumbs down, by Manisha Lakhe, Now : ...It's a Shah Rukh Khan film. He plays Bauwa Singh, a vertically challenged person who has immense swag. He thinks he was born to love 'em and leave 'em, but until he understands the meaning of love, he's a zero...... full review

Thumbs down, by SHILPA JAMKHANDIKAR, Reuters : ...“Zero” has lofty ambitions but when it comes to delivery, it falls too short.... full review

Thumbs down, by Nandini Ramnath, : ...Among the bits that belong on Mars rather than in this movie’s universe are the songs in which Bauua prances with children and dances for the benefit of Salman Khan, and Bauua’s attempt to impress a bevy of Bollywood beauties, all of whom have appeared with Shah Rukh Khan in his films.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

2 readers - 1 yays 0 so-so 1 nays

Want to Watch, by maria akerberg ahlens : Saskatoon

Yay! Thumbs Up, by celeblusts

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Fan

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Mention of sex and there’s an out-of-wedlock baby
  • Concept: A love triangle between a disabled person and a dwarf.
  • General Look and Feel: Crisp modern visuals.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Comments (1)

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First things first. The special effects to transform someone into a dwarf sized person is top notch.

For the rest, it is all a big zero. Special effects alone are not enough to sustain a film. There is no real story to keep you glued. The second half seems heavily dragged on. Anushka Sharma overacts as always in a role heavily inspired by Stephen Hawking.

Thoroughly disappointed.

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