Zero — featuring Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif in the lead — is among the most-awaited Bollywood films this year. One of the many reasons of this hype and curiosity is that SRK is playing a vertically-challenged man for the first time. However, despite the visual appeal the movie itself is not receiving any appreciation from the critics.
As per initial reports, while the actors have done a good job, the film has only worked its magic in parts. The writing is its biggest let down and not even good cinematography or director Aanand L. Rai’s vision could save this sinking ship.
Here are some excerpts of the reviews from popular Indian publications:
Times Now: Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma, Katrina Kaif is an ambitious self goal
The story takes unwanted, long and stressful time to unfold and even when it does, it doesn’t make sense. Logic goes out of the window and for some reason, SRK’s character suddenly becomes a super-human who doesn’t get affected by things that regular humans ideally should. If only Aanand L. Rai would have stuck to the grounded, small town scenario rather than going towards space exploration, we could have had something as good as Tanu Weds Manu or Raanjhanaa. Bollywood should honestly let go of the fantastical world and keep their focus on stories about relationships and situations, that is when they make the best films.
Times of India: At first go, Zero makes you light and easy, which is good, but the problem is that it doesn’t really take you on that flight of entertainment, which you set out for
The good part is that director Aanand L Rai’s characters never let their physical challenges overpower their spirit and resilience. There’s no rocket science to the fact that Shah Rukh Khan pulls off romantic moments and he does that here with charm and intensity. He is excellent as the short but charismatic Bauua in a story that relies highly on special effects. Katrina Kaif appears in a smaller part, but she totally impresses in the performance of a conflicted Bollywood star, who is also heartbroken. Sadly, while Anushka Sharma’s character had wonderful potential, the mannerisms employed by the actress to portray the handicap, don’t always look consistent or convincing.
Indian Express: Preposterous drivel
The trouble with Zero is not just that the mini-me SRK is just SRK minus the inches. Every twitch is familiar: the tousled hair, commonplace air, the regular joe who wears ‘kachcha-banian’. We saw this SRK last in Fan. In that one, we bought him. In Zero, we don’t, because Bauua is always the hero, accompanied by a best friend (Ayyub) whose only job is to prop him (Bauua) up, who is enmeshed in a love triangle, who soars over his difficulties while singing and dancing and romancing. That vertically challenged bit should have been the differentiator. But it’s nothing but window dressing, a hook on which hangs nothing.
Film Companion: A Surreally Bad Shah Rukh Khan Starrer, But A Worse Aanand L. Rai Film
Some of the film’s best lines, again, belong to Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, who plays the little man’s best friend. But he, too, is half-blind. You get the gist. On another day, I’d have looked at his partial blindness as a metaphor for Bauua’s half-ticket stature or Aanand L. Rai’s half-witted film. Or maybe because he can sense two imperfect halves yearning to form a perfect full. But as they say: subtext lies in the eyes of the beholder. Today, his blindness exists only so that a glass eye makes him the comic in the group of pariahs.