The director Anand L. Rai and the writer Himanshu Sharma’s fourth collaboration has an educational speech on walking a tightrope that Indian film industry is going through. A little tour before you decide to walk in on this- I don’t have one word to describe this film, no wonder what they came up with as the title- is that all those subtexted compromises that you have to make while watching Hindi films are to be signed willfully. Or that’s what I thought. As the film gradually came alive in front of me in regrettably almost three hours of a show, that very element of expectancy is what cradles you to comfort. The film is nothing but a splash of genres that is deliberately stewed into one big incoherent hotchpotch. Now you can go ahead and find out yourselves the different sets of genres but the ones that might hardly catch your eye would be the mixing of commercialisation and art house dramas along with Indian films combined with what could be said foreign films to it.

And if these many, in fact all the genres are to be added in the recipe there has to be one that would betray the bigger picture. And it is this commercial view of the film that fails perpetually for the film to fly. The film could have been easily a half an hour longer to let your teeth sink in. The unexplained urgency of delivering a more compact narrative takes the heat away from what could have been a proper study of this avant-garde self-created course. Another thing to know about these two artists (Rai and Sharma) is that they love humans’ capability of protruding itself as an arrogant brave species. And this theme is juggled in front of you by so many characters that it would baffle you on what various shades they come by. Even cameos that may look stereotypically dull, braces this as an empowering weapon.

Sharma’s script is a burgeoning tree in that aspect. And after almost three hours, it belittles you so much that you, after leaving the screen, starts feeling insulted and hiss back at the absurdity that has always been a part of the game. You know then, that the film communicated with you. Despite a heart swooning star cast, the film’s major threats are those very personalities that feel they have got hold of these three dimensional characters. The only obvious contender wins this gruesome battle is Shah Rukh Khan bitter-coated as a charmer. And mind you Khan’s diligence is not that he never goes off track, off tune. He does, occasionally. It is that he cares too much to even come off as the guy who takes it for granted. So even if he is pretending that he cares, he still is the only one that does. And once in a while, after sticking by your leg and not letting you go, he gives you glimpses of pulpy figures that count forward and ends up at Zero. Those moments shine like a star and have no intentions to fall out.

2 thoughts on “Zero

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