When you see the name of Aanand L. Rai (Director) and Himanshu Sharma (Writer) on the movie poster, there is a level of expectation already built up. This expectation increases when you come to know that the King of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan is in the lead. These expectations are at the peak when you come to know that this is a story of a vertically challenged person, played by none other than SRK himself. Looking at the past track record of the Writer-Director combo and having witness the magic being created on the screen when you sit through the roller-coaster of emotions of the familiar small-town characters from Ranjhanaa and Tanu Weds Manu and have been huge admirer of SRK charm and screen presence, you are sure to have a huge upsurge of emotions when these three decide to join hands for a movie.
The film starts off with a very entertaining dream sequence of the lead character Bauua Singh, played extremely well by SRK. Shah Rukh has put in his heart and effort in bringing this character to life. Bauua is confident and charming. He is not letting his dwarfism come into his way of achieving anything he wants. In fact, he himself makes fun of his short height and also makes good use of it when required. He is a cunning and opportunist character too, who goes to any length to achieve his interest. Bauua is also surrounded by believable characters of the caring mother, the strict father, and an ever-supportive friend. Everything that is expected from Aanand L. Rai movie. The start is good and looks promising.
As the film progresses, we are introduced to the love interest of Bauua, Aafia Yusufzai Bhinder, a space scientist with cerebral palsy played by Anushka Sharma. Although Bauua is 10th standard pass while Aafia is a scientist, still he is able to woo her and she also falls for him (don’t know why!). Bauua’s intentions are clear about her but still, they end up getting married. But Bauua is in love with the super star Babita Kumari (Katrina Kaif). Bauua runs away from his own marriage to meet Babita and ends up staying with her for almost 10 months, where he realizes that he is in love with Aafia and not Babita.
The first half of the film is a good built-up of the characters and the story. It is in the second half where the screenplay goes haywire. Post his realization of his love for Aafia, Bauua and his loyal friend Guddu Singh (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub) reach a NASA type space research centre, where with all turn of events and some situations of knowing about Bauua and Aafia’s daughter, Aafia’s engagement of fellow Scientist Srinivasan (R. Madhavan), Bauua ends up clearing all the required tests for going into the space and is suitable for the upcoming Mars Mission. Like you, I was also not able to handle these events. Too many things going on here!! This is where the grip of Himanshu Singh and Aanand Rai has loosen up and there is nothing that could be comprehended. It seems that he wanted to show everything possible to show Bauua’s love towards Aafia. Even the most tough Space Mission!
The movie could have been better felt as an audience if it would have either focused on the science angle about the Mars mission or the story of two ‘incomplete’ people and how they realize their love towards each other. Adding too many things to the story have spoiled the charm of the entire story. Although Ajay-Atul and Tanishk Bagchi’s music is good only the song “jab tak jaha mei…” stays with you.
I would also like to mention about the VFX of the movie, which I feel is done at its best, as within 5 mins into the movie, we forget that SRK is not of 4ft and 6 inches in real life. Not once we realize thorough out the journey of the film and different scenes in different lighting conditions that the height of SRK is lessened with VFX. There is a great hard work put behind it, which will be unnoticed to many.
Finally, I feel bad for just hard work of all the technicians and the leading man SRK along with Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma that went into making the movie will be overpowered by poor screenplay and weak character arc of the major characters. What stayed with you after the movie is not any connection with Bauua Singh or Aafia, but a huge disappointment of seeing your expectations from the Writer-Director-Actor pair crumbling down with the weight of a poor screenplay and weak character arch. Zero could have been well made but I feel somewhere in the making process, the makers aimed for an ambition that was too far from their reach.
I would recommend to watch it for the sincere efforts of Shah Rukh Khan, the music, the VFX team and some light-hearted moments that are signature of Aanand L. Rai. I wish these moments would have been more in the film! I would go with 3/5 rating for the film!
Filmmaker and Film Researcher