Equality has been the buzzword for this year as we embraced women rights in various departments, gender equality and now, harping on this note, comes Shah Rukh Khan‘s Zero celebrating the idea of treating people as equals even if vertically, physically or mentally challenged. In the movie, the King Khan of Bollywood plays the character of Bauua Singh, who is shown to be vertically challenged while Anushka Sharma plays the character of a physically challenged NASA scientist with cerebral palsy. Katrina Kaif plays a leading superstar Babita, who is shown battling alcoholism in the movie.
The story of the adventures of this short-on-stature-but-big-on-love guy, on a whole, sums up romancing and celebrating the incompleteness of a person, or so Khan feels. In an interview with The Indian Express, the star reveals more about the movie and hopes that people understand how amazingly special it is to be ordinary. The makers while narrating the story to him wanted to take away his tag of being the epitome of romance and similar tags off his co-actors.
“For instance, Katrina is imposingly known for being a diva or doing dance numbers which are sizzling etc. Similarly, for Anushka, she is a very mercurial actor, I find her like that honestly. You go to that actor and say I am going to make you sit in a wheelchair dealing with a syndrome, but you would still be a heroine and object of romance. So, I think that was very interesting,” shared the actor in the interview.
Essentially, director Aanand L Rai wanted to do something contrary to what they all stood for but still fit into the parameters of a commercial, family film that has all the ingredients. “One thing he was very clear about was that he did not want any of us to search, ask or beg for empathy. (He said) Just let your incompleteness be celebrated. You should not look sad. The whole idea of equality is that you look at any of us, you should treat them as equals. That is a message the film sends,” reveals Khan.
However, playing a vertically challenged man was of hardly any trouble for the actor since the VFX technology came to his aid unlike for Anushka who, Khan told, underwent a whole process of understanding cerebral palsy. “I think she went through a lot of prep. Many times, she would do a scene and her team would look at the monitor, not for how her hair looks like or if the makeup is right but to point out if there is an inconsistency. So, it was an amazing dedication” said Shah Rukh.
Acknowledging himself completely out of the list of exceptionally tall men, Shah Rukh said that his height was looked down upon during his initial days at Bollywood but negativity like that hardly created any impediments in his mind. Apparently, with that thought, he approached his character in the movie too. “I hope people understand it is amazingly special to be ordinary, to be who you are physically, mentally and emotionally. We have tried to cover all three aspects. I think people will come out smiling from the theater,” the actor concluded.
The movie has been directed by Aanand L Rai and written by Himanshu Sharma. It was jointly produced by Colour Yellow Productions and Red Chillies Entertainment’s Gauri Khan. It also marks the last film appearance of Sridevi, who died shortly after completing it. Zero is set to be released on December 21.