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‘Zero’ Review: Performances outshine the narrative

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Zero

Mumbai, Dec 21: Here is the sad and frustrating irony of “Zero” : Told in the safest (read predictable), most conventional (read lazy, method imaginable), it is a story of a vertically challenged man enacted by a Superstar — whose real life story is much more inspiring than his reel life.

REVIEW: Film: “Zero”

Director: Anand L. Rai

Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Anushka Sharma, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub, Abhay Deol, Sheeba Chaddha, Bijendra Kala

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Standing four feet two inches tall, Shah Rukh Khan as Bauua Singh from Meerut, is no different from being himself — confident, cocky and sarcastically brash.

His main peeve in life is his height but that does not prevent him from aspiring to love the renowned Bollywood actress Babita Kumari (Katrina Kaif).

But then, our hero has a past. Tucked into the recesses of his being, is the love of his life, the astro-scientist Aafia Yusuezai Bhinder (Anushka Sharma). How they meet, fell in love and their romance bloomed, forms the crux of the tale.

While being fumbling and funny, Shah Rukh Khan holds you in rapturous attention with his shenanigans. You could say his personality and his performance are both in an “overall” style.

Anushka shines as the scientist suffering from cerebral palsy. She steals your heart while sitting on a wheel-chair and in command. With grace and strength, she is consistent in her speech and mannerisms.

Katrina is diligent and it shows in her performance. As an eternally sloshed actress disillusioned in romance, she appears like a modern day Meena Kumari.

Zero Poster Shah Rukh Khan

Among the supporting cast are: Tigmanshu Dhulia and Sheeba Chaddha as Bauua’s parents, Bijendra Kala as the match-maker Pandeyji and Mohammed Zeesan Ayub as Guddu Singh the semi-blind, one-eyed sidekick of Bauua. They all have their moments of on-screen glory. Abhay Deol as Babita’s love interest is wasted in a miniscule role.

It is the style of narrative with the emphasis of talking heads like Guddu Singh and Pandeyji explaining and propelling the plot that is dispiriting.

Also, the poorly crafted characters and jump in timelines makes the entire tale so sketchy that you don’t invest in the characters.

The only moment one comes close to the characters is when Aafia tells Bauua: “In the 39 years of your life, did you ever find anyone to look in the eye and talk to the person like a friend.” During this moment, the bond seems platonic yet believable.

Similarly you realise the ruthlessness one witnesses in the film industry after Babita concocts a story about her parents. While her fabricated story is novel and interesting, the trait is expectable and she delivers it convincingly.

The shapelessness (read scenes ending abruptly), and meandering plot (read unnecessary detour from the subject), the narrative at times becomes tedious, especially during the second hour, when patience starts to wear thin.

While nearly all the songs in the film beautifully blend with the narrative, it is the song Issaqbaazi which features Salman Khan, Remo and the choreographer Ganesh Acharya that appear forced.

zero

There are moments when Remo and Ganesh seem unenthusiastic about their involvement.

Overall, while the film opens with an intriguing and engaging scene, the overall packaging despite being fantastical, lacks the punch.

IANS

Entertainment

Everyone said it’s too risky: ‘PM Narendra Modi’ producer

The film “PM Narendra Modi” will be directed by Omung Kumar, who earlier collaborated with Ssingh for biopics like “Mary Kom” and “Sarbjit”.

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PM Narendra Modi film

Mumbai, Jan 16 : Whether it is the National Award-winning biopic “Mary Kom”, a film like “Sarbjit” or the upcoming biopic “PM Narendra Modi”, producer Sandip Singh has always shown interest in stories of an individual’s journey. He says he was told it was a risk to do a film on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but he was convinced it would motivate people to “dream big”.

Expressing his passion towards biopics, Ssingh told IANS here: “Whether it is the story of Mary Kom, Sarbjit or our current prime minister, their stories touch my heart. As a creative mind, we have to understand that the business of films has changed, where the box office collection depends on the story and not the star.

“The last year is proof of that. So, I want to be a part of stories that create an impact on our mind. An individual’s story always inspires me.”

Why did he choose to make a biopic on Modi?

“I wanted to make a film on him because his life journey is really inspirational, but from the time I started pitching the idea to people, everyone said it is too risky to do it because he is a sitting prime minister and people have an opinion on him. For the last four years, I looked for support from the industry and finally, people are on board… I did not give up,” said the young producer.

Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi will play Modi on the big screen.

Initially, there was talk about Paresh Rawal playing Modi on-screen, Ssingh told IANS: “I have heard since 2014 that Paresh Rawal will be playing Narendra Modi’s character in a film based on the PM’s life journey. But we have never approached or met Pareshji regarding that. Having said that, I wish him all the best on his film.”

“There were several reasons why we have chosen Vivek for the title role. Firstly, we wanted to cast an experienced actor and a great performer. Vivek has been working in the entertainment industry for the last 18 years. He is one of those versatile actors who has made his mark in different genres films like ‘Company’ and ‘Saathiya’ with equal ease.”

If experience and acting skills were the requirement, Paresh is undoubtedly a more celebrated actor who has delivered impactful performances in films like “Sanju” and “Uri: The Surgical Strike”.

Ssingh, who has earlier closely worked with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, said: “I wanted an actor who can dedicate a huge time even before the film start shooting. Since the story is capturing the journey of Modiji from the beginning of his life, I was looking for an actor who can play his part from the 20s and 60s with a certain flexibility. That way, Vivek is in the right age, who can play the younger and older parts.”

The film “PM Narendra Modi” will be directed by Omung Kumar, who earlier collaborated with Ssingh for biopics like “Mary Kom” and “Sarbjit”.

As most of the biopics tend to show the central character in a positive light rather than showcasing the criticised side of the personality, will he maintain the level of honesty in the film as a producer?

“Why should I hide any downside of his journey? Ups and downs are a part of our life. We are making the film with integrity and the idea of making it is to open up to people with a story that inspires many people from a humble background to dream big. We will try to tell the story with our heart in the right place.”

Did he discuss it with the PM before announcing the project?

“No, I did not talk to him regarding this… I have spoken to my inner conscious,” Ssingh said.

(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at [email protected])

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Rihanna sues her father

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Rihanna

Los Angeles, Jan 16: Singer Rihanna has sued her own father Ronald Fenty for using her brand name Fenty to launch a business for himself.

In a new lawsuit obtained by tmz.com, Rihanna claims her father Ronald started a talent development company in 2017 called Fenty Entertainment.

The “S&M” hitmaker has already trademarked “Fenty” to use in a number of business ventures, including her well-known Fenty Beauty line. She claims he is profiting off the reputation she has created with the brand.

In the documents, the 30-year-old singer says her father and a business partner falsely advertised themselves as her reps to solicit millions of dollars, including trying to book her for 15 shows in Latin America in December 2017 for $15 million — all without her authorization.

Rihanna claims later her dad even unsuccessfully tried to file a trademark for “Fenty” to use with resort boutique hotels.

She says she has sent multiple cease and desist letters to her father, ordering him to stop capitalising off her Fenty trademarks, but says he has ignored them and continued to make money off Fenty Entertainment.

She is asking a judge to place an injunction on her dad using the name Fenty and for damages.

IANS

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Never seen one wrong thing about Rajkumar Hirani: Arshad Warsi

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Rajkumar Hirani Arshad Warsi

New Delhi, Jan 15: Actor Arshad Warsi, one half of the indomitable Munna-Circuit duo of Rajkumar Hirani’s “Munna Bhai M.B.B.S”, says it is wrong to jump to conclusions about the filmmaker as a #MeToo story has emerged against him.

Arshad, who played Circuit in Hirani’s “Munna Bhai” series, says he has never seen even one thing wrong with the filmmaker.

Asked about a woman’s allegation that Hirani sexually assaulted her during the shoot of “Sanju”, Arshad told IANS here: “For me, to pass any sort of judgement or come to a conclusion is absolutely wrong because I don’t know exactly about the case. I don’t know how much truth is there or how credible this accusation is. Has the proper investigation been done? I don’t know about all that.

“I personally don’t like to jump to conclusions and pass my judgement and suddenly start looking at a person differently. I cannot do that, it’s not right to do that. What I feel about Raju? I think he is a fabulous gentleman. He is a lovely guy. My association with him is so long, and I have never seen one wrong thing about him.”

Arshad, who has worked with the director in films like “Lage Raho Munna Bhai”, said he has never seen Hirani behave inappropriately.

“I have never seen him behaving badly or doing anything incorrect. So, suddenly hearing this, you think, ‘How is this possible?’. I cannot say anything till it is all 100 per cent there… One cannot jump to a conclusion. It is not fair,” added the actor, who was here to promote his forthcoming release “Fraud Saiyyan”.

According to a HuffPost India article on Sunday, the woman claimed that Hirani sexually abused her on more than one occasion over a six-month period between March and September 2018. The 56-year-old filmmaker has denied the allegation.

IANS

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