|Directed by||Aanand L. Rai|
|Produced by||Gauri Khan
Aanand L. Rai
|Written by||Himanshu Sharma|
|Screenplay by||Himanshu Sharma|
|Starring||Shah Rukh Khan
|Edited by||Hemal Kothari|
Red Chillies Entertainment
Colour Yellow Productions
|Distributed by||Yash Raj Films|
Zero is an upcoming 2018 Indian romantic drama film written by Himanshu Sharma and directed by Anand L. Rai. The film is jointly produced by Rai and Red Chillies Entertainment’s Gauri Khan. It stars Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma. The plot follows Khan as a man of short stature, who falls in love with a superstar played by Kaif. Sharma portrays the character of a girl with intellectual disability.
The film was conceived by Rai in 2012, announced in 2016, and set to be released on 21 December 2018. It marks the second collaboration of the lead trio, the fourth collaboration between Khan and Sharma and the second collaboration between Khan and Kaif. This marks the last film appearance of Sridevi, who died on February 24, 2018, shortly after completing the film.
- Shah Rukh Khan as Baua Singh
- Katrina Kaif
- Anushka Sharma
- Abhay Deol
- Tigmanshu Dhulia
- Javed Jaffrey in a voice-over at a dance competition
- Salman Khan
- Deepika Padukone
- Rani Mukerji
- Alia Bhatt
- Karisma Kapoor
- Juhi Chawla
- R. Madhavan
|“||“Like the way we say that perfect is boring, imperfection is much interesting… Our film is also celebrating the same. The story of the film is celebrating a perfect love story of two imperfect people. Though the protagonist of the film is a dwarf but more than the physical disability of an individual, the story talks about the space of emotional incompleteness of our life.”||”|
|— Aanand L. Rai on the decision to name the film Zero and its implications|
Director Aanand L. Rai conceived the film in 2012 after watching Krrish and drawing parallels of the titular character with that of American superheroes such as Spider-Man, Batman and Superman. He appreciated the achievements of Indians having their own superhero film but felt wary of the outreach, saying, “I loved seeing Hrithik Roshan fly off a 250-feet building, it was brilliantly done, but deep down I felt this wasn’t us. Apart from our mythological demigods, Indians aren’t ready for superheroes, we are still short in height. That’s what made me want to live life from the perspective of a dwarf [[sic]].”
The film was initially titled Katrina Meri Jaan. However, this was later scrapped because the producers thought the title would be too misleading to people and make them presume the film is about Kaif. In between productions, the film underwent through numerous working titles such as Bauaa, Bauna, Butka, Bandhua and Batla. Red Chillies Entertainment registered three names for use as the film’s title. In the end, a unanimous decision was made to call the film Zero.
Bollywood Hungama reported the budget of the film to be around ₹150 crore. Rai refuted these reports and stated that the film did have a big budget, but less than the reported amount. Himanshu Sharma, who wrote the script, confirmed the story to be a romantic drama. He stated that while the story does feature a little person as a character, the plot does not revolve only around that character.
Initially, Salman Khan was approached for the role in 2012. The role then went to Shah Rukh Khan. His casting was confirmed in March 2016. He plays a three-four foot physically challenged man. Rai cast Khan to play the lead role because he needed a big star for the story to penetrate globally. He needed “an intelligent actor, who also can carry that happy-go-lucky attitude,” and he felt Khan possessed those qualities. Rairealised the difference between a six-foot tall person saying “I love you” and a four foot tall person; hence he hired Khan.
Khan is the fifth actor of normal stature in Indian cinema to play a little person after Kamal Haasan in Apoorva Sagodharargal (1989), Johnny Lever in Aashiq (2001), Jagathy Sreekumar in Athbhutha Dweepu (2005)and Anupam Kher in Jaan-E-Mann (2006).
After much speculation, Rai confirmed Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif as the female lead actors in the film in June 2017. Kaif was cast after Salman Khan suggested her. Sharma was reported to play a differently-abled person, whereas Kaif confirmed that she will portray the role of an actress.
Both Sharma and Kaif were offered the role not because of their stardom but because they fit the role according to Rai. According to Kaif, she was offered the film before Khan was cast. She was initially supposed to play herself in the film, but the character was later revised to be a satirical take on herself. She later confirmed that the script and story of Zero had changed over two years, hinting that Khan recommended this.
Tigmanshu Dhulia will portray Khan’s father. He showed interest in the project after hearing about its heavy technical involvements. Khan refrained from signing any other film during Zero‘s production. The film will feature guest appearances by Salman Khan, Deepika Padukone, Rani Mukerji, Kajol, Alia Bhatt, Sridevi, Karisma Kapoor and Juhi Chawla who will portray themselves. This will be Sridevi’s last appearance in a movie as she died before the release.
Filming and post-production
In August 2016, it was said that filming would begin in December 2016. This was later postponed to 2017. Principal photography of the film eventually began in May 2017 in Mumbai. In May, an accident occurred on the set, in which crew members were injured. In June 2017, Khan revealed that only 10 minutes of footage had been completed. Kaif joined the team on 22 September 2017. Sharma started shooting in September. On 8 January, she resumed her shooting after taking a break for a couple of weeks for her wedding. Two days later, Khan was photographed on the sets of the film in suburban Mumbai. The crew took a break during the Makara Sankranti festival.
The shoot was also extended to Bandra, Mumbai. Around January 2018, Kajol completed filming for her cameo.
Visual effects were heavily used to make Khan’s character three feet tall. According to Khan, this was done as “I would have a problem if I have to do it on my knees. I am trying to avoid that part because that looks unreal also, and in today’s time and age, you don’t want to do that.” The makers took inspiration from the technology used in The Lord of the Rings.
The character was shot using Forced Perspective, which according to NDTV,is “a technique that employs optical illusion to make an object appear farther away, closer, larger or smaller than it actually is. It will make SRK look shorter.” According to Rai, the film will use the most visual effects for an Indian film. Most of the film was filmed entirely in Film City.
In February 2018, it was reported that the post-production work of a second teaser was being carried out. From 4-8 April 2018, Khan shot the film’s schedule in Vasai, Mumbai, flying in a helicopter to avoid the traffic. In middle April, the film’s shooting was reported to shift to the United States for a sequence. Some sequences were also filmed in Alabama.
Marketing and release
—Rai on choosing the month of December for releasing the film
The title of the film was announced by Khan and Rai on 1 January 2018 in a minute long teaser posted on Twitter due to robust demand from fans. The video showed Khan in his dwarf avatar singing and dancing to Mohammed Rafi’s “Hum Ko Tum Pe Pyar Aaya”. Although neither Kaifnor Sharma appeared in the teaser video, in one of the scenes, Khan wore a jacket with a collage of Kaif’s pictures imprinted on it. In less than 24 hours, the video garnered over 3 millions views on YouTube alone, and Khan’s announcement tweet had over 30,000 likes.
Red Chillies Entertainment later announced that Zero-related posts had reached over 10 million views, likes and mentions across various social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.Thefollowing day, the first teaser poster with the tagline “21st December 2018 se aapke piche” was unveiled by Red Chillies Entertainment. An Eid teaser was released on 13 June 2018 featuring Shah Rukh Khanand Salman Khan in his Tiger Zinda Hai appearance.
The film’s soundtrack is composed by Ajay-Atul. A song titled “Ishqbaazi”was used in the second teaser. The song is written by Irshad Kamil and sung by Sukhwinder Singh.
- Zero on IMDb