Why 'Zero' is vital for Shah Rukh Khan's career

Biswadeep Ghosh
Biswadeep GhoshDec 14, 2018 | 20:12

Why 'Zero' is vital for Shah Rukh Khan's career

More than 25 years after his debut in Hindi films, however, his appeal remains undiminished.

Shah Rukh Khan (also known as SRK) is a megastar like few others. The charismatic actor is not the man behind the biggest blockbuster in Bollywood’s box-office history.

More than 25 years after his debut in Hindi films, however, his appeal remains undiminished.

Aging star

Aamir and Salman, the other two like-aged Khans in their 50s, continue to be his main competitors even today.


Famously consistent, Aamir was recently seen in Thugs of Hindostan, a badly made box-office turkey.

Salman’s Race 3, while being panned, was a mediocre commercial performer. Tiger Zinda Hai, which had preceded Race 3, earned more money than any film in SRK’s career.

That’s why Aanand L Rai’s romantic comedy Zero is an important film for SRK. The film’s trailers suggest that the actor has occasionally stepped outside his comfort zone. He has walked down this path in recent years, choosing characters and films that reveal his desire for pushing the envelope.

SRK’s films have always been backed by good promotional strategies.

SRK has stepped outside his comfort zone for this film. (Photo: Twitter)

Zero is no different. His character of Bauua Singh, a short man from Meerut, has been popping up in all forms of media. He is even present on Twitter. It has been reported that Singh has to choose between a NASA scientist with cerebral palsy and an actress in a love triangle. Bauua has walked into our lives, in short, heightening our expectations from the film. SRK’s stature makes him relatively immune to the possibility of being assessed in terms of his last film.


SRK has always chosen diverse characters. (Photo: Poster of Raees)

Having dealt with serious competition for the most part of his career, he would like to add a feather to his cap by eclipsing the record of Aamir’s Dangal, Bollywood’s highest grossing film.

Zero, in other words, could well be the film the actor has been waiting for.

As of now, it has given rise to enough curiosity to have a big first day before word-of-mouth reports and critics’ views impact its commercial fate.

Flagging career

The actor, who had moved away from anti-hero roles to play the romantic hero in the mid-1990s, has shown a preference for diversity in recent times.

In Rahul Dholakia’s crime drama Raees, he played the character of a man who gets involved in illegal liquor trade in Gujarat. Shrewd and capable of killing, he is of the view that no profession is good or bad.

A gripping film with fine performances by SRK and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Raees was a commercial success without becoming an all-time blockbuster it could have been.

Fan was a modest commercial success, making one wonder why it failed to attract more footfalls. (Movie still: Twitter)


Working in a badly scripted romantic comedy like Imtiaz Ali’s Jab Harry Met Sejal was a decision that backfired. The story of a meeting of a tourist guide and a girl who has lost her engagement ring, which leads to love, the cliché-laden film impressed nobody.

Jab Harry Met Sejal tanked, an outcome few had expected before its release.

The actor also stepped into the shoes of a supporting character by playing a psychologist in Dear Zindagi, Gauri Shinde’s endearing coming-of-age film. It revolves around the life of a young cinematographer, who shifts to Goa because of a personal setback and dissatisfaction with work.

It is in Goa that she seeks out a psychologist, hoping to find a cure for her insomnia.

Themes of abandonment, romance, loss, and rejuvenation merge in the film, which derives its charm from the chemistry between Alia Bhatt as the cinematographer and SRK.

It was a typical multiplex film, which didn't disappoint its limited audience.

Dear Zindagi was not a potboiler. It satisfied the audience it was meant for. (Photo: Twitter)


The actor played a double role in Fan, a Maneesh Sharma directorial.

One of the characters is a superstar, and the other, a lookalike fan who is obsessed with the former. The film has several pluses, including a well-crafted plot, good direction, and SRK’s convincing performance(s) as the star-struck youngster and the superstar.

The film was a modest commercial success, making one wonder why it failed to attract more footfalls. Let there be no doubt that SRK continues to cast a spell on his fans.

Zero’s trailers and songs suggest that it is a viewer-friendly film. Because of the well-executed promotional strategy and the SRK factor on its own, the film should take a solid start.

Will it be another Thugs of Hindostan, or will it send records flying like Dangal or 2.0?

Forecasters of doom may not be convinced that Zero has what it takes to be a winner. SRK devotees will insist that it will be one of the biggest blockbusters of his career.

One can only know how this film will fare for sure after the first day of release. Everybody is waiting for that big day, including Shah Rukh Khan.

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

Last updated: December 14, 2018 | 20:12
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