An Jo on Zero

Spoiler Alert

In the pre-climactic scene of Zero, Anushka’s Aafiya talks about the compounding nature of love; at once the fragility and strength; at once the frailty and honesty of human beings. the emotion of love. She talks of facts in her life being stranger than fiction; of the actions one resorts to for love. Love, or the search for it, yields two types of reactions: one that the self feels; and one the other, i.e. the world feels. It makes sense then, that only three individuals [Katrina’s Babita Kumari, the hurt-in-love actress, smiles and says proudly that she kissed him when Shah’s Bauua Singh comes onto the digital bill-board in a foreign country] that consider themselves – and are made to feel – incomplete by the world at large go through what might be called a different trajectory of emotions when in love or when lost. And if one, as an audience, buys this logic, much, and much more of the scenes, and story-line makes sense – at least to the heart – and one’s willing to forgive the excesses that the writer and director resort to under the unbearable burden of making Shah Rukh Khan, the ‘superstar’ act as well as retain his star wattage. This is a double-edged sword that sometimes works and shines – but also bleeds both ways, and it shows.

And so, the story is that of three individuals, two of them subject to the karmic nature of life, and one subject to destiny’s materialistic and genetic showers, while also rotting along searching for love; correction, ‘true’ love. On the front, it is a story of three people whose paths cross and who are incomplete, but at its heart, the entire weight of ‘incompleteness’ is borne by the main character of Shah’s Bauuva Singh, a dwarf [for the politically correct, a person vertically-challenged – one always puts the person before his or her supposed imperfections]. The film begins in Meerut, traverses to Delhi, to Bombay, and to the United States; albeit totally confused about the locations in the United States. It shows NYC since the makers want you to see NYC, not because the film needs it! It shows Orlando, utilizes the University of Central Florida campus, travels to Huntsville, Alabama— [Was that pure logistics or Khan’s love for Alabama, vis-à-vis ‘My Name is Khan?’]: Only two of the afore-mentioned locations make sense in the placing of this movie’s situations. Bauvva Singh, though physically short-changed, wants to, tries to, and does, live life larger-than-destined-life. He dreams big, though the world makes fun of him as a small man having big dreams and a man not living within his ‘औकात’. He dreams of marrying a film-star, and runs away from marriage with Aaafia, a brilliant scientist who has a mission to Mars and is afflicted with cerebral palsy. Through a matrimonial service, they meet, enjoy each other’s company, acknowledge their imperfections, and fall in love, Bauua reluctantly, and Aafia, hopelessly. Thanks to Bauua’s dreaming big, he rejects his happening marriage to Aafia and runs away to Bombay to meet a physically gifted actress, whom he has always dreamt of marrying. In the course of their time spent together, he realizes, and Babita acknowledges and makes him realize, that his true love, and his heart, only belongs to Aafia. Bauua tries to mend her heart in recovering from heart-breaks with an actor, with him being an unofficial employee-cum-advisor on people – note, because, he feels, she understands the world, but not it’s people. It’s an unintended give and take for both. The rest of the film then deals with the extent – from Bombay to NASA in Florida— to which Bauua realizes his one and only love, repents, and the tasks he undertakes to win back Aafia.

The first half of the film is brilliant and tonally consistent with the Meerutiya atmosphere; it’s a known-fact that Aanand and Himanshu know the heart-land’s lingo and cultural-specificity like the back of their hands, and it shows, oh how it shows! From a fantastic Tigmanshu Dhulia playing his father to the cycle rickshaw-wallah’s character to Brijendra Kala’s matrimonial-service agent, the film ‘marinates’ in its North-Indian small-town milieu. The writing is sharp, the dialogues extremely witty, and the ‘लहज़ा’ seeps through in daily conversations and exchanges. Bauua’s exchanges with his father, his mother, and his friend Aayub. The marriage scenes and the pre-cursors to those scene are brilliantly shot, with minute references to the milieu and culture, be it the ‘mandatory’ showering of money during the ‘बारात’, or the ritual of shooting bullets – in a fine nod, Bauua’s mother, Sheeba Chadda’s Beena, snatches the revolver from her husband, adjusts it, and shoots in the air; so as to indicate, what if it’s traditionally the man’s calling to ‘shoot’, I will shoot it anyway!. The song ‘JAB TAK TERE NAAM’ is superbly picturized and is brilliant, to say the least, visually and aurally: Absolutely mesmeric and SRK is in his elements here; especially when he dances with the girl-kid: Superb channelization of his strengths as a star. Sample some terrific lines: a) ना जी ना, अगर अकेली हे पीनी होती तो फिर मीरूत के ठेके बुरे थे क्या? b) ओजी इतने दूर आए हैं आपकी महफ़िल में.. छाई, लस्सी, बनता, रास्ना, शराब कुछ तो पुच्छ लो.. कुछ तो पुच्छ लो c) शादी किससे करनी थी हुमारे यहाँ प्लॉट देखने के पैसे थोड़े लगते हैं|

Come the second-half, and it is here that what-ever was on paper thematically, just goes hay-wire and elongated like a gum cinematically. There are some terrific moments ‘inserted’ that embody the Babita-Bauua relationship, but once the ‘itch’ for Bauua to return to his true love is initiated in the course of this relationship, it’s a giant stretch; absolutely honest in its expectation, but gone wrong in its execution. This is again in Anand’s home-territory of Jimmy Sherill’s character trying to get back Kangana in ‘Tanu Weds Manu’, but the problem is, here, it tries to reach the ‘skies’ instead of staying down-to-earth; and Aanand, to say the least, falters here. It’s a mis-step due to multiple factors: a) wedding the Aanand Rai template of North-India based love-stories onto the Shah Rukh romance template b) trying to extend the boundaries of the afore-mentioned Aanand Rai template, and c) the biggest culprit of all: Trying to ‘merge’ Shah Rukh Khan’s iconicity and romance-ridden signature onto something more ambitious, such as, subverting the super-hero genre as accustomed to the Marvel/DC comics via a vertically challenged person! Very ambitious to say the least; but lost in translation, and of course, execution.

As I said before, the biggest wealth, and ill-health, of ZERO is Shah Rukh Khan, the super-star, and Shah Rukh Khan, the actor. The latter falls prey to the former. It’s happened before, and it’s again happened now. It’s a weird reasoning, but somewhat true, that both parties, one that feels dwarfism is used as a gimmick, and one that feels that it’s used as a plot-device metaphorically, are right in their own way! The very first scene of the movie, a ‘dream’ sequence, symbolizes SRK, the super-star’s dreams and achievements per se! From then on, there are meta-references to his super-stardom in bits and pieces, in scene after scene. After he wakes up from his dream, in which he protects a house-maid from a mob headed by his, well, his ‘father’, the villain, who he thinks is responsible for his short height, thanks to his gutkha-eating habit, he asks her to get him tea while his cronies land up on the road reading him the daily news! A symbolism to the real Shah’s weakness of being surrounded by ‘yes-men’? Who knows? And then, contradicting this, is his saying that being from a small-town like Meerut, how can he expect a kiss from a woman as famous as Babita Kumari, the actress? Isn’t this a reflection of Shah Rukh’s ‘I am the best’, self-therapy? He always thought of himself as being inadequate as an actor, or so he talked in his older interviews, but convincing himself first, and then the world, that he is indeed better than the best, was him talking to himself to get going in the morning. In reality, SRK the actor convinces himself, that he is the best, and better than Bachchan – but when faced with reality, as with the character of Bauua here, he admits that Meerutiyas are hardly lucky to get a kiss from a woman, let alone from Babita Kumari! There are meta-contradictions galore, and it’s difficult as an audience to buy them. The ‘character-graph’ and etching of the inadequacies of height are highly contradictory, especially in the way it resonates with the audience. Yes, there are thrown in dialogues, like Bauua asking his friend, and referencing his height, ‘What else has God got to put me down? ‘At a party attended by film-stars, he matter-of-fact states to Babita, ‘People like us are used as baits in circuses. That’s what we are. Why don’t you employ me as your side-kick, as a joker, for quirks and see where it lands?’ All these are good, but his confidence, his over-confidence, and his channeling of romantic stardom and arrogance are so looming in the front, that we—at least—as an audience, lose all empathy to this character. The character and the actor clash, and it’s an inconvenient clash. And again, remember Khan’s narcissism about who the better husband would be to Shah Rukh Khan in ‘Rab Ne Bada Di Jodi’? It is Shah Rukh Khan himself, but without the moustache and glasses, and with gelled-hair! And what better venue than a dance competition to win the heart? And so here it goes, it’s again a dance-competition that is pulled in as a fulcrum! And then there’s the scene – two actually—referencing the poorly directed/aimed film, ‘My Name is Khan’ where Muslims don’t get visas – or are discriminated – to the United States. What was the need? It’s done! You had one whole film devoted to the cause! Let it go! Contrast this with the ‘technical’ homage to the Brahman-clan; Bauua hangs his janaeu over his ear when he’s peeing; hell, even when he is being sanitized, he makes sure, he has it on; or even when he’s stripping! It sprays off a vibe like one’s trying to subvert when one’s actually not truly invested in it..

The party with film-stars is such a poorly executed gimmick, what with Sridevi showing her cleavage, it’s in poor taste, and adds ZERO value to the proceedings. This is not even OSO, where it made sense in the cinematic universe of its setting to bring together all the stars under one roof! Once Bauua runs away from Meerut, there’s not even a single scene that talks of what his extended/joint family might have faced. Didn’t the move start out on the premise? A dis-jointed family, though, is still a joint family? And then they bring in the kid thanks to the one-night-stand with Aafia, the premise of which is left dangling in the air! Just like a zero-gravity experiment! It is so poorly executed that one’s staggered! In a scene, Madhavan reveals that he’s marrying Aafia only for a billion-dollar project, and she responds saying she’s both angry and sad: The next instant, when one’s lead to believe that Aafia might now realize what true love is, she goes on to talk of Bauua running away from being a ‘monkey’ on the shuttle! Again, in a scene invoking 3 Idiots, Aafia keeps ‘driving’ on US inter-state toward the launching pad on her wheel-chair!

The film so rises in the first-half, and the second-half, well, it’s subject to interpretation, and not in a kind way.

SRK is energy-personified, and is brilliant within the stardom-stuffed box. Consider the scene in the car when Babita tries to get out of him his love for Aafia by faking her parents’ love-story; check his reactions: He is fantastic! His eye-balls rise and fall like the crests and troughs of the Arabian Sea! But…, but haven’t we seen it in FAN? This is literally a posturing of SRK the ‘Dillli-ka-launda’ North-Indian arrogant stuff –again, brilliantly channelized by Mani in DIL SE, and nothing super-cedes it as yet—beaten to death, by directors, and the star himself. That’s the huge problem with this film. It attempts/aims to try something different, but beneath the surface, it executes the same.

In conclusion, the problem with this movie is, as an audience, one implicitly understands the emotions underlaying and is warmed up to it, but the unspooling exposes a lot of weak-points.

Want another numbered-meta?

Amitabh in KAALIA
Shah in ZERO

P.S.:

I don’t believe in ratings, but for whatever it’s worth:

3.8/5.0

 

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155 Responses to “An Jo on Zero”

  1. You seem to liked the movie somewhat and brave to sit thru it while I get put off by the internet reviews and don’t even bother going to see it eventhou I’m a srk fan.

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    • I neither liked nor dis-liked it completely. I very rarely see movies that way!

      It’s an ambitious take; the execution, however, is marred with confusion..

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  2. Great write up sir! You gave it a fair chance!

    And Z, what is the need to be brave to watch a movie, unless you fear to be associated with a failed product..which I think is the problem with most self professed used-to-be SRK fans..and they, in their bid to dissasociate with it end up being over critical.
    And now it seems a million people out there knows what is the problem with SRK’s career at this moment, and all have solutions! wonder if they do have solutions for the problems in their own life..

    for me right now, the problem is that unlike all the other films of my fav. star, I havent been able to go watch it by first or second day..I am trying to make that happen asap!

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    • Not sure what’s your point but i’m a restless guy when it comes to sitting in one spot. So my point was more towards sitting for 3 hours in a movie which has negative review on social media.

      Now, if your point is don’t trust social media always, agree 100%, because there’s definitly foul play going on as we’ve seen in TOH and Zero (not to sya that they’re not bad films) but in general, there’s something there and it will effect all big movies going forward.

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      • well its your choice,.but I was sad to see that social media shaming is getting to even fans!

        I went ahead and watched it today, and I loved it.

        i wud say go for it..this film needs to be seen to realise what is it actually.. Many of the assumptions here are way off the mark!

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        • couple of my cousins saw it and said it’s actually not a bad movie at all, they can’t understand the negative views on social media. I may check it out tomorrow.

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          • Let me know if you survive the 2nd half. I hope you have the strength to come back here at SS.

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          • Saket you seen it?

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          • Unfortunately, yes. Had to be sure I wasn’t missing out on some hidden gem. Whatever people have said about the second half is true and a half.

            I’d have been happy if instead of Bauaa Singh they would put Himanshu Sharma (the script writer) in that spaceship to Mars. At least we’ll be spared some of his atrocities for 15 years, or whatever.

            And as for critics who called ToH shit but have praised Zero, I know the reason behind it. The Bhaang Ke Ladoo that made an appearance in ToH finally made their presence felt for them while they were watching Zero. There can be no other explanation.

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          • The Bhaang Ke Ladoo that made an appearance in ToH finally made their presence felt for them while they were watching Zero.

            How’s that for a meta reference?

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          • No, I’m not. Brave enough to survive a chance sojourn into the theater of the absurd. Not my type of thing, you know.

            But since this is a film about Meerut, will sum it up in one line: Yeh To Ghor Chutiyapa Ho Gaya

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          • Apologies if someone’s hurt by that last line. I’m not one to swear, or use cuss words, but for possibly the first time, I’ve felt the urge to vent my anger in this fashion.

            Had it been just a silly film, I’d have laughed it off (Dhoom 2 comes to mind, and I laughed a lot… at the film), but in this case, some critics have given it a good enough rating. Forget the rating, they’ve found it meaningful enough to warrant a serious engagement with it. My reaction was aimed at them.

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          • people often use it for stupidity and in many families use it liberally.

            Literal meaning of course is bad..

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          • go for it..and then we will have a discussion other than BO figures!

            i think SRK is reallly putting together a great body of work in the latter part of his career, except HNY and Dilwale, these choices are good and varied.

            and he is amazing in this movie. And it wasnt an easy thing..physical effort or acting wise!

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          • Trust it’s not bad at all I enjoyed the movie first was a breezy comedy had the whole theatre laughing

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    • Ha Ha! So even BR liked it!! I guess we both needs to have our heads, hearts for sure, re-examined!!

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      • You got Anurag Kashyap too!

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        • The only sequence Kashyap had issue has been brilliantly dissected and explained by Rangan!

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        • Yes Kashyap – we should go in with zero expectations!
          I do like how this these are conveniently reserved for SRK flops!

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    • BR, let me just start by saying that your review is also quite audacious. You spend half of your time recounting all the meta references you could possibly find in Zero. And that’s your prerogative.

      You find the absurdist elements of the film to be endearing, which again is your prerogative, but for a 200 Crore film to rely on its audience to look beyond the main text, the plot as it is presented on screen, is just…naive. It’s bold and ambitious in a way that Don Quixote was bold when he charged those nefarious windmills. I’m discussing the makers of the film, by the way.

      I do understand you are viewing the film from a different perspective, sans any commercial considerations. But even so, I have differing opinions on things. One of them being the song, Mere Naam Tu. You call the choreography superb. I find it to be as generic, as unimaginative as it’s ever been. SRK’s trademark mannerisms, his charm-offensive (for his diehard fans) is on full display in the song. There are colours, yes, but the palette is as bright as it has been in any SRK song filmed amidst Swiss Alps. Where’s the originality, even in this OTT sequence?

      SRK is supposed to be this typical Meerutiya guy, but from which angle does he resemble one? He sports the same hairstyle, has the same outward display of nervous energy that once propelled him into stardom, and he still stretches his arms out in his trademark pose. One can argue that he’s speaking different (earthy) lines in Zero. And that’s true, but the man speaking those lines is not a stranger. We’ve met him many times before.

      Normally I would not have bothered to write such a response, but I am genuinely perplexed about this fawning over a performance that’s all surface and no heart.

      Ironically, the opposite of what you give this film credit for.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Just completed reading the full review. Review does not warrant this rating or rating does not warrant this review. Maybe rating is for meta. I will watch it on TV just like I watched Sanju and come to some conclusion. Maybe I may like it. Reminds me of Raju Bangaya Gentleman somewhat. I have a soft corner for srk. As I am warned about absurdity, I will be prepared for it.

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  5. This twitter thread is a good summation of all the out there segments of the film. Beware of spoilers. If you don’t care for spoilers, have a read and then decide if the film makes sense.

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    • wow..

      there is a dialogue in the movie. when anushka tells madhavan about bauua, ‘he is not even educated’
      and madhavan responds, “and the bandar you wanted to send in space is graduated from MIT, isnt it?”

      this a bollywood movie story..
      and then, some imagination will be there at your disposal too, isnt it? khud hi soch lo!

      its not that dificult..afterall, they havent shown that an alien made bauaa normal height or anything!

      still, the last two r ridiculous to say the least..it wasnt all white girls, obviously he was walking through a hookers area..
      and I wud imagine what she drove through was Nasa campus itself.

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      • 1. A world class scientist’s bio on matrimonial office.
        2. SRK and his spending money like water even though he’s from middle class family.
        3. They get US visa from nowhere.
        4. Every white girl is a bi*ch in US 5. Afia driving wheelchair on highway.
        6. Afia had to get married on the day he was flying to mars. Couldn’t even wait a single day.
        7. She got a gun from nowhere and shoots SRK. No case filed against her for attempted murder.
        8. How does her speech problem contribute to the movie
        9. What kind of dance competition was that? Bauua got invitation from nowhere
        10. Is she the president of NASA? Everyone follows her commands in NASA, even the police
        11. Why would NASA take audition for mars project? Did they run any background check on Bauua?
        12. What kind of visa SRK got? Visit visa? How can you be selected for mars if you have no US residence?
        13. Baaua suddenly enters the NASA conference where Afia was giving speech? No security to stop him? Just because he’s SRK?
        14. How logical is BAAUA in this socio-economic climate?
        15. Where the hell did Afia’s baby come from and where she/he go at the end of the movie?
        16. Baaua talk like SRK, a dwarf’s body language like SRK. The hell with Tyrion Lannister
        17. Afia playing important role in the mars project. But she couldn’t care less and went to get married that day. Then she comes back to NASA wearing saree!!
        18. Babita kumari’s team is so protective of her, yet they allowed some stranger Baaua close to her
        19. Baaua keeps winning everyone’s heart in NASA, just like old school SRK. How there’s a British Indian girl in NASA?
        20. Baaua can’t speak English at all. Yet finished the extensive mars training with English speaking engineers. Like SRK
        21. Baaua comes back from mars after 15 years (or whatever)!!! Apollo 13 can go to hell. Baaua took advice from Matt Damon on how to plant foods in mars when he runs out of food!
        22. Baaua from no where becomes the sidekick of Babita kumari
        23. Every white girl throws herself to Baaua. As if There’s no south Asian man in the USA. Seems like Trump’s conspiracy.
        24. Madhavan doesn’t shave and has long hairs. NASA professional attire only applies to others, not a B’wood actor.
        25. What was the bottom line of the movie? No one romances like SRK? A physically challenged woman needs to be rescued and saved? No amount of education is enough unless you have a baaua in your life?
        26.“A job at NASA and higher education are not adequate for an physically challenged woman. She needs to be emotionally validated by some Baaua”
        27. Baaua suddenly says he’s going to mars for India!! What’s up with this sudden burst of nationalism? Doesnt India have its own Mars mission project?
        28. Whose idea was it cast Tigmanshu as SRK’s dad?
        29. Women are incomplete without men. NASA scientist needs Baaua in her life. Even the hardcore Babita Kumari is fu*ked up without Abhay Deol.
        30. The love triangle was a Bermuda Triangle.

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  6. [ For those who like whacky stuff. ]

    I personally liked a whacky pilot episode of ‘Lucifer’. It was comic enuf, so I looked up the crew – written by ‘Tom’ Kapinos and acted by ‘Tom’ Ellis. Details of Kapinos profile is not available online and Ellis seems like a guy next door. Was wondering if they are the same guy ‘Tom’? Anyways, S1E1 was entertainingly absurd.

    I have not seen the rest of the series, but this is what wiki says:

    ******

    The pilot episode was screened in July at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con. The pilot was met positively by the viewers, with Bleeding Cool’s Dan Wickline praising the episode, saying “the show itself is enjoyable because of the great dialogue” and “This version of Lucifer refuses to take almost anything seriously and the show is better for it.” Max Nicholson of IGN rated the pilot episode a 6.9/10, praising Tom Ellis’s performance as Lucifer and the lighthearted tone of the series, but criticizing the series for essentially being another crime procedural series.

    The first season received mixed reviews. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports a 47% approval rating based on 38 reviews, with an average rating of 5.24/10. ‘Metacritic’, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 49 out of 100, based 24 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews.”

    Critics were much more appreciative of the second and third seasons. Both hold a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 5 reviews, with an average score of 7.75 out of 10 and 9.33 out of 10. Several critics praised the second season for its atmosphere and Tom Ellis’ performance as Lucifer Morningstar. Ed Power of the Telegraph gave the second-season premiere a 4/5 stating that “It is entirely beguiled by its own preposterousness.” Bernard Boo of We Got This Covered gave the premiere 3.5/5 stars saying “Lucifer’s second season gets off to a nice start, building on the show’s strengths while retaining some of the weaknesses. It remains an unapologetically sordid, demonically fun hour of TV.” LaToya Ferguson of The A.V. Club gave it a B, calling the episode funny with “genuinely funny moments to come from” and saying that the premiere “starts the season off on a good note.”

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    • Whacky brains love whacky stuff. When I am in a whacky mood, I may. That is when I am on on BKL. BKL for me is filter coffee.

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      • Wacky is not masala imo, ur thots?

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        • They are like north and south poles. I just like a story well told in a crisp manner.

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          • Whacky has different meanings to different people. But for viewings, the writing has to be generic – while the reviewers can chew on the meta if interested.

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          • Agree. But one thing is certain. What is wacky or whacky is not generic. But generic becomes Meta when the reviewer wants to do so. As is happening with Zero with some viewers and reviewers. Some are finding it Meta and some are finding it too generic. Srk in a lovestory is the most generic thing one can think of. But some are finding it Meta allover.
            Meta is in the minds of the viewer just like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

            I have posted this reply on the bo thread.

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  7. Ha Ha Saket. Apologize that you had to spend your hard-earned money on the second half!

    I do agree with most on the absurdism in the 2nd half and have mentioned in the review that the main problem is the problem of Aanand Rai trying to merge his romance-template with the SRK romance template. To add to that, the ‘flight of fancy’ doesn’t make things easier. Here’s the deal, if you have lost complete interest in the film by the time SRK asks whether he can be Katrina’s side-kick, then there’s no way you can like the rest of the film…

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  8. Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry Master, ‘Zero’ screenplay simply missed the A+ mark in cinema-score.

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    • Whereas, u can check ‘metacritic’ aggregates for other ‘christ-must’ releases:

      SpiderVerse – MetaScore 87%, UserScore 8.7/10
      BumbleBee – MetaScore 66%, UserScore 7.5/10
      Aquaman – MetaScore 55%, UserScore 7.4/10

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    • its true, what this girl is saying..one is surprised by the types of criticism zero faced. Ppl r actually complaining it didnt fix itself to the mediocre, or mundane narrative! som1 said, with 200 cr budget you cant depend on ppl taking a leap of faith! why not.. when a director and writer is bold enough to tell a story which is no way an everyday one, and a prodcucer gives him the freedom to do that in addition to being the monkey in the circus, and that too at a time when everybody from here to mars have career advice for him, it means guts..not playing it safe! And I loved the way SRK has thrown himelf at this character, unabashedly, holding back nothing, in physicality or in acting, with no star hangups, totally loved it!

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  9. Saket:

    As I mentioned before, I am actually with everyone and someone who didn’t like the second half: But you are wise enough to not fall into this stupid, 3rd-rate discussion as to why some so-called ‘meta-critics’ favored ZERO over TOH…this crappy discussion over Aamir versus Shah Rukh…I mean, pathetic…

    Please, tell me you are beyond that..and I have an an answer to each and EVERY twitter ‘logical’ reasoning you quoted….

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    • It’s not Aamir vs SRK. It’s about consistency! ToH was also a treasure trove of meta references — and they were not worthy enough for me because the main text was left lurching in creative imbalance.

      If ToH was imbalanced, Zero’s script suspends itself in ZERO GRAVITY — anything and everything goes.

      At least I’m being consistent — if ToH didn’t work for me, neither did Zero. And you know what, I at least never felt like throwing something at the screen while watching the former.

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      • But Saket, it’s the narrative, isn’t it? What did you think of the first half? I am completely willing to give it to you over the second half..

        And please remember one thing, the expectation when one walked into the theater, WAS that SRK would amplify himself, would need be..

        Did you, seriously, think otherwise?

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        • the expectation when one walked into the theater, WAS that SRK would amplify himself, would need be..

          I walked in with ‘zero’ expectations. Thought I’d surprise myself. I did, in the most WTF way possible.

          I will write a full review myself because I need to explain myself further. But even the first half didn’t work for me. This is not a leap of faith we are talking about — it’s about embracing a very convoluted moral and ethical universe. The masochism, the misogyny of it all.

          And some critics find no issues with that either. Will write more in a more structured manner to explain myself better.

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          • Well, the misogyny of it all, I am quite flabbergasted. We cannot impose our so-called ‘exquisite’ moral standards on the Meerutiyas, can we? By that extension, the scene where Anoushka is challenged to pick up a pen, is morally repugnant?

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          • By that extension, the scene where Anoushka is challenged to pick up a pen, is morally repugnant?

            It is. And it’s shown that way as well. Bauaa Singh is called a Neech Bauna for precisely that moment. That scene hardly poses a moral conundrum for me, even though it doesn’t work cinematically either.

            But the misogyny is more perverse than that. Whoever wrote Aafia’s character is a misogynist. And by that I mean Himanshu Sharma.

            Like

  10. “3rd-rate discussion as to why some so-called ‘meta-critics’ favored ZERO over TOH…this crappy discussion over Aamir versus Shah Rukh…I mean, pathetic…”

    That barb at me. Because I am the one who directly confronted BR over that. How come it becomes third rate just because I am an aamir fan? Much better than calling someone as blind fan and uneducated one just because she praised Aamir’s work in Toh.
    Much better than losing marbles when it comes to favourites like Madhuri and others.

    BR is above all this cribbing because he is used to that.

    Like

    • Thank you; you re-iterated my point..

      Like

    • Christ:

      Do you not understand — or do not wish to — cinema at all beyond Aamir?

      For the past 5 years, I have been on this blog; and EVERYWHERE I have praised Aamir and written glorious reviews about him SINCE my heart accepted his films, his stories..

      And now, INSPITE of being positive on TOH, I am being subjected to this stupititdy, because I FOUND a SRK film quite likeable, of whom I am not even a fan of..

      Wow, talk of INTOLERANCE… Saytam, Q, hopefully you are taking notice and essays are in order..

      Like

      • Sorry AnJo. I was taking on BR. Not you. Meta also for him. And on another comment on his blog also I inserted that word. I dont have problem with your take on Zero. It is a very clever review. Every praise was followed by some criticism. Why will I have problem when you have given favourable review on Toh too?

        Like

        • What I said about you taking revenge was in joke. Not seriously. I also said sorry for that in that comment itself.

          The chronology of events.
          Your outburst on LS for being a blind aamir fan. But LS never disliked any star as far as I know. If her liking on aamir is taken as disliking Bachchan inToh, that also she explained. Because Bachchan’s act is above all that.
          Next Marcus was harsh on Madhuri and was dismissive of her.
          And that hurt you which you kept to yourself.
          That WC widened the gap and misunderstandings started from the word go.
          And some more small things became mountains. And then your take on Zero which resembled like a homage to Sholay. Then I made that tasteless joke for which I am feeling bad.

          Like

  11. “It is. And it’s shown that way as well. Bauaa Singh is called a Neech Bauna for precisely that moment. That scene hardly poses a moral conundrum for me, even though it doesn’t work cinematically either.

    But the misogyny is more perverse than that. Whoever wrote Aafia’s character is a misogynist. And by that I mean Himanshu Sharma.”

    But why are you seeing it through your eyes? Why not Bauaas/s?

    Remember, Bauua’s is so self-centered, that when he boards on-to the running bus, he sayss, ”meeritiyon, tum longon ka satyannaash ho!!’

    Like

    • But why are you seeing it through your eyes? Why not Bauaas/s?

      I’m talking about Aafia’s character arc. That’s independent of Bauaa Singh. Aafia, a brilliant scientist (in a hilarious scene she’s shown writing furiously on a blackboard where there’s a written solution to travel in the 4th and 5th dimension…I kid you not!), is a timid, compromising, woman who needs validation from a Man — any many would do, even someone like a Bauaa Singh. That’s the misogyny.

      A lot of Bauaa’s actions are explained away because he’s a Meerutiya simpleton, with no moral fiber to speak of. Nevermind that this too is an example of weak and lazy characterization. There is no subversion. The lack of subversion is the subversion.

      In contract, a film like STREE, where the story is set in a small town/village, in the North, does not fall into the trap of these regressive generalizations. It actually makes a case for dignity of women, even the ones who are courtesans and prostitutes. That’s subversion. And the subversion is carried forward by a brilliantly engaging script to boot.

      Like

      • But Saket, have you EVER, NEVER, come across such folks who are FAR MORE brilliant than one could ever be, and end up on SHAADI.COM matrimonial ads? I have, being the dumb f!@# that I am….

        Like

        • you EVER, NEVER, come across such folks who are FAR MORE brilliant than one could ever be, and end up on SHAADI.COM matrimonial ads?

          It is possible for her to show up in a matrimonial site. That’s not what I’m objecting to. It’s what happens in the second half that makes Aafia a complete fool. After a traumatic experience where her groom leaves her on the altar, she’s still looking for validation from a man. A different one this time around (Madhavan) and poor guy, he suffers the same fate that she had to suffer at the hands of Bauaa Singh. The scientist with a brilliant mind gives up on an intellectually equal partner to wait for Bauaa Singh. For 15 years. How sweet…and seriously messed up!

          Bauaa Singh is messed up because he’s from Meerut. What excuse does Aafia have? That she’s half Afghanistani? Afghanistan being such a socially backward place and all, we shouldn’t look at a half-Afghani girl by imposing our moral codes on her behavior?

          And what about Babita Kumari? The teary-eyed mess who’s half-suicidal because some Kapoor left her. She’s damaged, done for, in this lifetime, apparently because she’s lost the love of her life.

          Seriously, WTF Himanshu Sharma. What the actual F!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Actually the last question shud be directed at yourself, saket. Ppl in real world are more fucked up than that, act in stranger ways..and here you are giving morality lessons to movie characters!

            All these questions have answers, but it brings down the level of sensibility, to have such unimaginative discussions about a movie which shud have been something that sets you free from such everyday constraints. I hope you wud go through all these once again after this phase is over!

            Like

          • Ppl in real world are more fucked up than that, act in stranger ways..and here you are giving morality lessons to movie characters!

            I’m hardly giving morality lessons. I’m pointing out flaws, serious flaws, in the script. Forget logical consistency, I’ve clearly mentioned that these are just logical flaws, there are deep rooted problems in Zero’s worldview.

            Let’s not even call them problems, let’s say they pose convoluted moral and ethical questions for its viewers. And I object to the resolutions, the pat answers the script provides, to those questions. Hopefully, you will get my drift.

            Like

          • ok, but this concern of yours is surprising! one woman jilted by a man, deciding to marry another is looking for validation? why, it is so? this world depends on second chances! if you are a brilliant mind you dont want any company? why is that being called messed up? I even have problem believing this is what you are saying actually..

            btw, them marrying on same day, it was bauaa who asked her to do that..when she asked him if he wud go on the shuttle..it was like a challenge. shaadi karke dikhao, chala jaunga..

            Liked by 1 person

  12. How many barbs you have thrown with sadistic pleasure I know.
    You are a very passionately vindictive and unforgiving person.

    Like

  13. Saket, again, I guess, what are the eyes, the brain, and most importantly, the heart that one accepts or rejects this film..

    All of the twitter shit, I agree with..but you CANNOT hold SRK ransom for that..

    1) How did SRK enroll into a space program? BS..

    2) How did ANOUSHAKA and SRK end-up in zero-gravity? Go figure.. and stretch your romantic muscles…

    3) How did a 6-month visitor visa end up in SRK being a guinea pig for a space program? Ask MELANIA…

    4) But look at the BRILLIANT emotional connect that ANOUSKA has with SRK; it’s a perfect metaphor….

    Like

  14. 1. A world class scientist’s bio on matrimonial office.
    Yes, that’s possible; kindly ask the GODDARD space-center NASA ‘scientists.’
    2. SRK and his spending money like water even though he’s from middle class family.They get US visa from nowhere.
    Well, if that’s one of your main problems, Ayub’s main problems are justified, right?

    4. Every white girl is a bi*ch in US 5. Afia driving wheelchair on highway. “Get your head cleard..”

    6. Afia had to get married on the day he was flying to mars. Couldn’t even wait a single day. “Desi emotions” – Remember 3 IDIOTS?
    7. She got a gun from nowhere and shoots SRK. No case filed against her for attempted murder. – yes, she got a license for carrying a fire-arm, any problem?

    8. How does her speech problem contribute to the movie; It doesn’t; live with it
    9. What kind of dance competition was that? Bauua got invitation from nowhere; RAB NE BANNA DE JODI..

    10. Is she the president of NASA? Everyone follows her commands in NASA, even the police – NO

    11. Why would NASA take audition for mars project? Did they run any background check on Bauua?
    NO, BAUUA just struck lucky; You have a problem? Talk to USCIS..

    12. What kind of visa SRK got? Visit visa? How can you be selected for mars if you have no US residence?
    ASK AANAD RAI; since you have been so logical when talking about Aamir or Salman films..

    13. Baaua suddenly enters the NASA conference where Afia was giving speech? No security to stop him? Just because he’s SRK?
    YES..

    14. How logical is BAAUA in this socio-economic climate? VERY..

    15. Where the hell did Afia’s baby come from and where she/he go at the end of the movie? It came from her pussy; remember the scene where they had sex???

    16. Baaua talk like SRK, a dwarf’s body language like SRK. The hell with Tyrion Lannister;
    Of course; hats off to HOLLYWOOD; or standard

    17. Afia playing important role in the mars project. But she couldn’t care less and went to get married that day. Then she comes back to NASA wearing saree!!
    Yes, where’s the petticoat?

    18. Babita kumari’s team is so protective of her, yet they allowed some stranger Baaua close to her;
    Yes boss, Mama’s basement..

    19. Baaua keeps winning everyone’s heart in NASA, just like old school SRK. How there’s a British Indian girl in NASA?
    Yes, some visa hiccup: What concentration by the way? How did a britisher get a visa to The US? Your ‘RACIST’ arse-hole Churchill might have had something to do with it..’

    20. Baaua can’t speak English at all. Yet finished the extensive mars training with English speaking engineers. Like SRK
    21. Baaua comes back from mars after 15 years (or whatever)!!! Apollo 13 can go to hell. Baaua took advice from Matt Damon on how to plant foods in mars when he runs out of food!
    STICK TO HOLLYWOOD..

    22. Baaua from no where becomes the sidekick of Babita kumari
    There’s something called emotional quotienent; UNDERSTAND that..Your marriage life might be succesfull..

    23. Every white girl throws herself to Baaua. As if There’s no south Asian man in the USA. Seems like Trump’s conspiracy.

    24. Madhavan doesn’t shave and has long hairs. NASA professional attire only applies to others, not a B’wood actor. N/A

    25. What was the bottom line of the movie? No one romances like SRK? A physically challenged woman needs to be rescued and saved? No amount of education is enough unless you have a baaua in your life? YES – Do YOU understand something called EMOTIONAL fulfillment?
    26.“A job at NASA and higher education are not adequate for an physically challenged woman. She needs to be emotionally validated by some Baaua”

    YES

    27. Baaua suddenly says he’s going to mars for India!! What’s up with this sudden burst of nationalism? Doesnt India have its own Mars mission project?
    GET YOUR HEAD EXAMINED..

    28. Whose idea was it cast Tigmanshu as SRK’s dad?
    NOT YOURS; that’s why it worked..

    29. Women are incomplete without men. NASA scientist needs Baaua in her life. Even the hardcore Babita Kumari is fu*ked up without Abhay Deol.

    APPLIES TO BOTH MEAN AND WOMEN..

    30. The love triangle was a Bermuda Triangle.

    OK..

    Like

    • Very weak defense, AnJo. More emotional, than logical…or rational.

      Like

      • Gotcha Saket; But how would you want me to react? As a character, or an observer??

        Like

        • how would you want me to react?

          That is your prerogative. I can only talk about myself. I try to react consistently. If I’m troubled by a subtext, I lay it out in the open. Even for films that I love (RDB is one such example).

          For weaker films, and hotch-potch plots, I have much less patience. Anand L Rai isn’t Godard or Ingmar Bergman. He’s not Satyajit Ray.

          He’s a pretty mediocre director. And I say this after having watched Zero. He’s not a very good story-teller. He doesn’t have any directorial flourishes to stand apart from the crowd.

          And his shtick is getting old. Way too old for someone like me. If I didn’t give a free pass to Hirani for Sanju, can anyone expect me to do a double turn for someone like Rai?

          Like

          • Did nothing in the first half move you?
            Sub text? A half-blind person who’s best-friend who doesn’t consider — or hides an insult — when he jumps on to the bandwagon of a half-blind guy?

            2 imcomplete folks trying to….

            Like

          • Did nothing in the first half move you?

            To be honest, not to a great extent. I found some of the lines funny, some scenes caught me laughing. The scenes in Meerut were even good.

            But the moment Aafia entered in the story, I started to lose interest. Forget the subtext, the scenes themselves became quite jarring. The pen sequence, Aafia asking Bauaa to help her pee, I don’t find any real humor in these sequences. Mere Naam Tu didn’t work for me as I’ve mentioned previously. Not the song itself, but the picturization.

            I’d say it’s a tolerable first half, with a few interesting bits, but nothing that struck me to go WOW.

            The first half of Zero is quite busy. And that helps to cover up some of its idiosyncrasies. For someone like me, who’s not emotionally invested in SRK (or Anushka) the star (or actor), nothing really stood out for me. I’m not suggesting this is HNY kind of a film, it’s certainly superior to that, but it’s not going to amaze a non-fan for any perceptible reason. In perfect contrast to a film like Dil Se for instance. In that film, there’s much to admire, even if I’m not emotionally invested in its lead actors.

            Like

  15. classic!

    Like

  16. Bob cristo Says:

    The point Saket listed from twitter is valid but when someone looks logic in hindi films it makes me laugh.

    1- villagers team defeated britishers in lagaan and film called classic.
    2- Dharam paaji single Handley took Gabbar’s gang in sholay and film called classic
    3- All 3 A donated their blood to nirupa roy in AAA. Nirupa roy got eye sight with the help of sai baba an film is called classic.

    There are many illogical things in these films and many others.

    Like

    • Oh yes, they are.

      But the loose plot points are surrounded by other brilliant moments. Hence the reason no one seems to mind.

      Lagaan is a fantasy, but the build-up, the actual plot works in a consistent fashion. One can say that the film has earned its right to have that final flourish.

      The climax in Sholay is the least problematic in the entire film. But again, the build up, the unforgettably powerful moments in the film mask its weaker ones.

      Where and how does a film like Zero earn those rights? Unless one is emotionally invested in the STARS, (outside of the film, not within it), all these logical inconsistencies strike the viewer as serious WTF moments. And there are plenty to choose from!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. 1. A world class scientist’s bio on matrimonial office.
    Yes, that’s possible; kindly ask the GODDARD space-center NASA ‘scientists.’

    Also, a world class scientist who has solved the tricky path through the 4th and 5th dimensions, but who eventually gets her “maths” wrong

    2. SRK and his spending money like water even though he’s from middle class family.They get US visa from nowhere.
    Well, if that’s one of your main problems, Ayub’s main problems are justified, right?

    Didn’t really get the answer. Does Bauaa really have other magical powers apart from his penchant to slide stars out of their orbits? Can he conjure up Rupees and Dollars at will?

    4. Every white girl is a bi*ch in US

    5. Afia driving wheelchair on highway. “Get your head cleard..”

    Where was Aafia driving?

    6. Afia had to get married on the day he was flying to mars. Couldn’t even wait a single day. “Desi emotions” – Remember 3 IDIOTS?

    one logical inconsistency doesn’t make the other correct. Also, whataboutism

    7. She got a gun from nowhere and shoots SRK. No case filed against her for attempted murder. – yes, she got a license for carrying a fire-arm, any problem?

    She shoots at Bauaa Singh, in an open theater. Out of nowhere. Literally. Is this even a defendable plot point?

    8. How does her speech problem contribute to the movie; It doesn’t; live with it

    Not every viewer has to!

    9. What kind of dance competition was that? Bauua got invitation from nowhere; RAB NE BANNA DE JODI..

    Leap of faith implies one has to reference another turgid movie from the past?

    10. Is she the president of NASA? Everyone follows her commands in NASA, even the police – NO

    I’ll leave this as is. Don’t have much of an issue here.

    11. Why would NASA take audition for mars project? Did they run any background check on Bauua?
    NO, BAUUA just struck lucky; You have a problem? Talk to USCIS..

    Why didn’t Anand L Rai audition for scripts, instead of inserting this plot point?

    12. What kind of visa SRK got? Visit visa? How can you be selected for mars if you have no US residence?
    ASK AANAD RAI; since you have been so logical when talking about Aamir or Salman films..

    Whataboutism, again

    13. Baaua suddenly enters the NASA conference where Afia was giving speech? No security to stop him? Just because he’s SRK?
    YES..

    More importantly, why is Aafia giving a speech to an entirely American audience in Hindi? A similar plot point was heavily criticized in ToH

    14. How logical is BAAUA in this socio-economic climate? VERY..

    Deep answer!

    15. Where the hell did Afia’s baby come from and where she/he go at the end of the movie? It came from her pussy; remember the scene where they had sex???

    Really! The worse-than-Bauaa Singh response notwithstanding, the question is more about the baby being used as a plot device

    16. Baaua talk like SRK, a dwarf’s body language like SRK. The hell with Tyrion Lannister;
    Of course; hats off to HOLLYWOOD; or standard

    Forget being a dwarf, SRK doesn’t even look like someone from Meerut. And Anand L Rai is lauded for bringing the heartland back into focus!

    17. Afia playing important role in the mars project. But she couldn’t care less and went to get married that day. Then she comes back to NASA wearing saree!!
    Yes, where’s the petticoat?

    Perhaps in a sequel, Rai can present an Indian woman getting married in a swimsuit. A lot of meta references will come dropping from absurdism lovers.

    18. Babita kumari’s team is so protective of her, yet they allowed some stranger Baaua close to her;
    Yes boss, Mama’s basement..

    Huh?

    19. Baaua keeps winning everyone’s heart in NASA, just like old school SRK. How there’s a British Indian girl in NASA?
    Yes, some visa hiccup: What concentration by the way? How did a britisher get a visa to The US? Your ‘RACIST’ arse-hole Churchill might have had something to do with it..’

    The worse-than-Bauaa Singh language notwithstanding, the question is more about how these plot contrivances make sense

    20. Baaua can’t speak English at all. Yet finished the extensive mars training with English speaking engineers. Like SRK

    21. Baaua comes back from mars after 15 years (or whatever)!!! Apollo 13 can go to hell. Baaua took advice from Matt Damon on how to plant foods in mars when he runs out of food!
    STICK TO HOLLYWOOD..

    Ask Desi filmmakers to not watch Hollywood first, and second, to not steal from Hollywood

    22. Baaua from no where becomes the sidekick of Babita kumari
    There’s something called emotional quotienent; UNDERSTAND that..Your marriage life might be succesfull..

    It’s a plot contrivance. Looking at that mountain of contrivances, I personally will let this pass

    23. Every white girl throws herself to Baaua. As if There’s no south Asian man in the USA. Seems like Trump’s conspiracy.

    24. Madhavan doesn’t shave and has long hairs. NASA professional attire only applies to others, not a B’wood actor. N/A

    No issues for me either

    25. What was the bottom line of the movie? No one romances like SRK? A physically challenged woman needs to be rescued and saved? No amount of education is enough unless you have a baaua in your life? YES – Do YOU understand something called EMOTIONAL fulfillment?

    Is there only one kind of emotional fulfillment?

    26.“A job at NASA and higher education are not adequate for an physically challenged woman. She needs to be emotionally validated by some Baaua”

    YES

    Wow! This is your actual response?

    27. Baaua suddenly says he’s going to mars for India!! What’s up with this sudden burst of nationalism? Doesnt India have its own Mars mission project?
    GET YOUR HEAD EXAMINED..

    Why? If the film abandons Bauaa’s parents midway and then shows them teary-eyed watching Bauaa sail to the skies, why shouldn’t one question the script’s motivation? And where does the bout of nationalism spring for a mean, self-centred Bauaa? Kuch bhee chalta hai!

    28. Whose idea was it cast Tigmanshu as SRK’s dad?
    NOT YOURS; that’s why it worked..

    consistent snarkiness isn’t a substitute for logical reasoning

    29. Women are incomplete without men. NASA scientist needs Baaua in her life. Even the hardcore Babita Kumari is fu*ked up without Abhay Deol.

    APPLIES TO BOTH MEAN AND WOMEN..

    Not exactly. Kapoor, who dumped Babita, isn’t messed up. And he did the exact same thing that Bauaa did to Aafia. He seems to carry on fine.

    30. The love triangle was a Bermuda Triangle.

    OK..

    This comment was obviously meant in jest. I’d argue that with the amount of meta references that have been attributed to this film, to cover up its flimsy plot, it’s no longer a love triangle, but has evolved into a full circle. A circle-jerk perhaps, but also a metaphor for something that has no beginning, or end.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Saket is on fire.

    Like

  19. “A lot of meta references will come dropping from absurdism lovers.”

    This I want to plagiarise and plant it on BR’s blog.

    If possible all your rejoinders.

    Of course I will not do it.

    Like

  20. 6 mins from zero 2nd half from Christmas!

    Like

  21. Liked by 1 person

  22. IdeaUnique Says:

    ha ha AJ’s review has caused Trumpish fury 😉 ha ha, i think AJ wrote a nice review for the movie and we need to respect that. Just becoz i do not like SRK any more and haven’t seen any of his films off-late, i just can’t disrespect AJ’s pov. but yeah, SRK is an intelligent and street-smart businessman and he should stop taking his stardom for granted now…that DZ (i saw on net) was a wise step and he shd do more films like that now instead of OTT stuff….but for sure, he is in “dev anand” mode of self-destruction now…..

    Like

  23. Saket, again, thanks much for your responses! Great discussion; at least for me it’s been.

    It again throws up a very important point; how do we ‘accept’ or ‘reject’ a film? For me, I just saw the world through Bauua. The head within me was asking all the questions you asked; the logical stuff – but somewhere, the world of Bauua sucked me in. It is him making fun of Aafia’s affliction, it is  his arrogance saying, ‘HAMARE YAHAN PLOT DEKHNE KI THODE HI PAISE LAGTE HAI?’  For me, as an audience, it is my right to scoff at the insensitivity of his thinking, but for him, he has to go through that journey to realize what kind of an arse-hole he has been! KATRINA’s character, if you may, one can look at as someone written only to bring in some sense to Bauua’s world-view. Now here’s a woman who’s loved by millions, so much so that she shows a middle finger — and the crowd reacts! Yet, she fails miserably in getting a decent man in her life! One might be the most brilliant scientist, but one might also be emotionally very weak, because somewhere, these kind of afflictions, lower one’s self-confidence, bring it down: And your weaker moments reveal it. In that scene when SRK tries to run away, she clearly explains to him that we both are, somewhere, ‘shorter’ in the longer version of life, and so we need to work this out. He doesn’t listen. He’s still in his fantasy land and thinks he has a chance with Babita! All the things that happen to him post his running away from his marriage, happen so that his experiences teach him, and that’s what the writers/directors have tried to sell me, and I did buy that.

    I am guessing, the fundamental mistake you made was expecting this movie to be some kind of re-invention for Shah Rukh. No it’s not. This movie is primarily for his fans. But with Aanand Rai at the helm, one was hopeful there would be something for non-fans too, and some parts of the film truly impressed me..

    Like

    • Thanks, AnJo. Same here. Really enjoyed the discussion.

      It again throws up a very important point; how do we ‘accept’ or ‘reject’ a film?

      This is definitely a very important question. A few days ago, I was arguing about pathways or access points to cinema. The acceptance or rejection of a film is closely tied to that. I mentioned that for a vast majority, the access point is via the lead stars, which is certainly not my frame of reference. It’s not even the story for me. It’s the narration, it’s the narrative choices used in a film that draw me in. If a film is not visually appealing, I’m not that interested to begin with. The script, for me at least, is important but it comes down in the pecking order. I’m primarily interested in how a story is told, rather than the intricacies of the story itself.

      One might be the most brilliant scientist, but one might also be emotionally very weak, because somewhere, these kind of afflictions, lower one’s self-confidence, bring it down: And your weaker moments reveal it. In that scene when SRK tries to run away, she clearly explains to him that we both are, somewhere, ‘shorter’ in the longer version of life, and so we need to work this out.

      I’m with you on this, conceptually at least. But Anushka Sharma is no Meryl Streep. Sadly, her inconsistency in enacting a cerebral palsy afflicted person, dilutes the impact of these key moments.

      I will write more later, and explain in greater detail, why exactly Himanshu Sharma and Anand L Rai’s world makes me uncomfortable. It’s about masochism and the inherent threat of violence embedded into the narrative. It’s a consistent theme that runs through both Ranjhaana and Zero.

      Liked by 1 person

    • if it was primarily for his fans, his coming back, two three teary dialogues, opening of arms, and the matter wud have settled..isnt it? hey, I saw some1 commenting right here that it shud bave been the case..and movie wud have recovered costs easily..infact, why make him dwarf even..that too cost money for special effects! keeping it simple, recover money, and be in akshay kumar or ayushman khuirana mould, and get audience say he is mr. reliable or he is such a great actor!

      is the problem with actors or viewers or critics..i wonder!

      Like

      • It is primarily for his fans, because NONE of his trademark mannerisms have been sacrificed, or toned down, a la SWADES or CDI. However, within that STUFFED box, SRK still managed to work; at least for me

        Like

        • mayb, as his fan, and as more familiar with his mannerisms, i think it was. Except a few scenes with aafiya in the beginning he wasnt even charming anybody! and he definitely didnt land on the space shuttle by charming nasa ppl, no!

          Like

  24. @Sanjana – Thanks for the pic.

    Like

  25. typo *Advocacy* – Dont miss the ‘c’ !

    Like

  26. With all due respect to Roger Ebirth, I am not sure IF he got Memento, even after second watching.

    Memento is an infinite loop, a constant search for ‘purpose’ leading to what cynics can term ‘serial killings’. Its not a psycho-analysis of conscious; but the ‘sub’conscious. There is a technical side to it, and a philosophical side too. One may need to watch v carefully, analyze even twice more carefully before coming to ‘any’ conclusion. And perhaps it may not be conclusive (is it meant to be?).

    Real life problems are always open-ended.

    Anyways, time and patience is needed to absorb Memento – that is what i believe Nolan meant when he made that film (which was an unofficial remake of his own Following).

    And time can be as long as 25 years for Yukito’s manga to get a cinematic release. In the indian landscape, Aamir’s MB and Shekhar Kapur’s Paani are similar projects – BUT will they be made? It may require ‘efforts’ that the makers may not be used to.

    *************

    In an interview in 2008, Shekhar had spoken passionately about Paani, “Paani is not just about water shortage. It’s about the callousness of a world, where about three per cent of the populace are haves; the rest are have-nots. And, what a wonderful way to speak of that disparity through the one resource that we’re most squandering away. My first story was about this runaway kid, who sees this big van of water and is asked to pay for it. It struck me then that the first thing about city life is you’ve to pay for the water. Then one day, I went to a producer-friend’s place on the 13th floor and I was told he was bathing. Go down to the ground floor and you pass through the Dharavi slums and you see hordes of women and children queuing up for a bucket of water. To me, water is the basic resource, the next thing to air. Water is already being bottled and sold. Nobody has the right to pollute our water resources. I refuse to drink bottled water. I know it’s the beginning of the process to privatise water. A story developed in my mind. I had to make a film. My film deals with a city of 20 million people polarised by water scarcity. I’ll shoot it in Mumbai. I’m setting it in 2025. That isn’t so far away.”

    **************

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wan-na play?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t think PAANI is happening..SHEKAR KAPUR announcing and making a film have less chances that one catching sight of BIG FOOT

      https://www.deccanchronicle.com/entertainment/bollywood/190417/im-devastated-that-paani-didnt-get-made-shekhar-kapoor-comforts-sushant.html

      Like

      • I dont think anyone gets why Paani doesnt get made. Is it really a question of him NOT getting a producer?

        OR

        Is it abt getting enuf funds with ‘free’dom to follow his vision … Not abt getting some fucking ‘king’dom !!!

        Like

        • U really ‘think’ i believe in ‘boundaries’ ?????????????????

          Like

        • I am not sure, but am merely speculating: Could it be that he has been held down by these big corporates of bottled-water business? After all, what he’s against is the ‘owner-ship’ of a natural resource like water..Why would any water-bottling company be in favor of such a movie?

          Another reason could be, his seriously idiotic choice of an actor like SSR..God help — me at least!! Before this, of course, he had the GREAT Hrithik Roshan…so yes, the cycle of terrific bad choices make sense..

          Like

          • He approached SSR? Thats news for me (at least). I dont think he even met him to discuss his current draft. Time is of essence, and i ‘think’ he just keeps waiting … and waiting. While SSR also keeps waiting for him. What an unnecessary ‘dead’-lock due to Race Conditions. Both are idiots in their own ways.

            Btw, even GREAT Cameron needed Robert to make ABA ready for theatrical release.

            Like

          • Yes, SSR was the one. What can one say!! check out the link I posted..

            BTW, this is something i DON’T want to miss!! Ever!

            Like

          • I only said yesterday to Sanjana, my beta run created such unprecedented and unexpected (in scale) bugs in a production environment, that i had to brainstorm for ages about how to fix it, how to contain the spam (inside and outside). For a long time it seemed like a dead-end from where it cant be resurrected. Ever tried remaking a flop film?

            Like

          • You must know that feeling that when u end up creating crap after quite a bit of blood and sweat, how ‘down’ u feel? Its severe depressive trauma.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Its a done deal then. SK shud get SSR on board to direct him. But YRF is such a poor choice in the first place! They ended up making TOH with Aamir after D3 – the improvement is not enuf. Aamir by himself wud have made a far better film IMHO.

            Liked by 1 person

  27. Liked by 1 person

    • If a movie doesn’t do well by the star still gets appreciated, i find not only his current fans becoming more loving but also his number of fans increasing.

      Like

  28. My Top 10 movies of 2018 ( as per the expectations of folks here)!

    1. Zero
    2. Zero
    3. Zero
    4. Zero
    5. Zero
    6. Zero
    7. Zero
    8. Zero
    9. Zero
    10. Thugs of Hindostan

    Like

    • Okay for the real list.. writing 10 is difficult, so here’s the list of 25 for 2018 movies!!

      1. Tumbbad
      2. Andhadhun
      3. Manmarziyan
      4. Raazi
      5. Badhaai Ho
      6. 2.0
      7. Zero
      8. Mukkabaaz
      9. Manto
      10. Padmaavat
      11. Sanju
      12. Sonu ki Sweety
      13. Padman
      14. Dhadak
      15. Parmanu
      16. Thugs of Hindostan
      17. 102 Not Out
      18. Bhavesh Joshi
      19. Raid
      20. Stree
      21. Gold
      22. Mohalla Assi
      23. October
      24. Soorma
      25. Pari/Hichki

      Liked by 1 person

      • Quite a good list here. Glad you liked Raazi a lot because i had just loved it despite its unrealistic but pleasant political tone of a Pakistani household.

        Manmarziyan – have to really watch it now.

        Zero – i know it is a good movie and will watch it for sure.

        Manto – i actually do not like these genres. Nandita Das is also not my cup of tea (figuratively)

        Raid and Padman – Loved these two and would rank higher.

        Agree on the rest.

        Like

        • Padman is not bad but IMO instead of Balki, it should have been Shoojit Sircar directing the movie. He’s so comfortable conveying hard topics so easily on screen with enough entertainment. Both Vicky Donor and Piku is easy repeat watch whereas Padman 1 time everything was done and missed the boat for great movie. The idea and script was there but direction wasn’t exceptional.

          Like

  29. Watched Zero couple days ago (thanks to An Jo review). Must say the movie is not bad at all and was great to see SRK in his full energy. Nothing more to say besides what most have already said. I thought the movie was very good to brilliant in some parts until last 30 minutes. Instead of NASA, would have been better if the method to get the love back was in another form (join army, or social works or something else). It would be more believable. Mere Naam Tu songs was amazing on screen. So, three things:

    1) I don’t think SRK will be in this biopic of astronaut, zero showed enough of it already.
    2) No I have to see TOH because I’m sure, TOH is not as bad as portrayed in social media.
    3) Khans in particular will have a very hard time going forward because there is a section who wants them out. Any subpar movies of theirs will not do. I think even a decent movie will get killed via social media.

    Watched Andhadhun, absolutely loved the movie. Even the songs were very good.

    Like

  30. Anjo, thanks for letting bygones be bygones. Let us start the new year with such heartwarming gestures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am not carrying any baggage or any grudge. Never had. I am fine with you and everyone here! It’s not healthy to let online stuff affect anybody…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I feel bad after writing something in a moment of emotion. Thats why they say think before you write. It makes my filter coffee more bitter. I am emotionally attached to my online commentators. They have become part of me. My family wonders about my attachment.

        Like

  31. Nice review AnJo, I liked the first half quite a bit too. The second half especially the last 45 minutes are total Chu####a .
    I think the original script was probably not like this, and with SRK coming in as Hero it became Zero.

    Like

  32. I watched Manmarziya as well, it is an average movie and totally deserved the flop status it got at the BO.
    I have never seen an Indian family especially a Sardar family tolerate a boy coming and going at will at his GF’s house like they have shown. And why does the girl have to smoke and drink and have sex to show that she is oh so modern.

    Khapshayp ruined the script IMO. All songs are in Punjabi and are hard to follow.
    Vicky Kaushal ek toh waisey hee extra lagta hai, upar sey usskey baal aisey kaat diye jaisey kissi Chu###e key.
    Abhishekh is totally wasted,( I saw the smoking scene , and found no big deal in it ). Tapsee is really really good.

    Like

    • Recently revisited Black Friday..it was so well made that it still looks fresh..

      I think Kashyap is still a good director but he now makes movies to show off..

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t think he makes movies just to show off. These days he makes genre movies (be it dark, moody thrillers, sports dramas or romantic films) and then plays with genre conventions. He’s interested in subverting genre tropes.

        Whether one is fully invested in his films or not, I think this makes his films quite interesting.

        Like

      • Dev D and GOW are also very well made movie, I think the easy money/ wine/ access/ litfests et all. corrupted him .

        Like

  33. Like

    • Good to know. On this checkout..

      Liked by 1 person

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