Hero or Zero? Shah Rukh Khan eyes movie hit as dwarf
Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who plays a dwarf in his latest film, is seeking a hit after an underwhelming run at the box office.
Opening in India today, Zero sees the Hindi movie icon miniaturised with special effects and caught up in a love triangle alongside a wheelchair-bound Anushka Sharma.
Director Aanand L. Rai believes he brought the larger-than-life actor out of his comfort zone to play a character who is 90cm tall, saying: "This kind of story about a man's journey and his love story needed someone like him. By casting him, we challenged Mr Khan to show us what he could do."
Zero sees Sharma play a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) scientist with cerebral palsy, while Katrina Kaif portrays a Bollywood actress with a drinking problem.
Khan's Bauua Singh is struggling to find a wife because of his height but develops close bonds with both women.
It is Khan's first movie since Jab Harry Met Sejal bombed last year, and his Raees (2017) and Fan (2016) also didn't do as well as hoped.
The 53-year-old's last blockbuster was Dilwale in 2015, and with Zero reported to cost a hefty two billion rupees (S$39 million), it may be starting to prey on his mind.
"If people feel that Zero is very important for me, it's their feeling," Khan told the Hindustan Times in a recent interview.
"God forbid, if this film doesn't work, what will happen? Maybe I won't get work for six months or 10 months, but if I believe that my craft and art is good, I will continue to get work."
Critics say Khan - a ubiquitous presence in advertising - has struggled to find a new niche for himself with age, pointing out that playing the romantic hero alongside much younger actresses can jar with audiences.
His Zero co-stars Sharma and Kaif are 30 and 35 respectively. - AFP