It's been over a year that the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Zero was announced and now the trailer is finally out.
The film features Shah Rukh Khan as a person with dwarfism who is stuck in a love triangle between Anushka Sharma, a woman with cerebral palsy and Katrina Kaif, a celebrity...
The three-minute trailer tells us a lot about the plot and what we gather is that it will be just like many fun Bolly flicks before it. The difference? The gimmick that Shah Rukh is playing a person with dwarfism. And that makes us very uncomfortable.
While it's understandable that Anushka Sharma was cast as a person with cerebral palsy because an actual patient has needs a film set can't provide for, this complication doesn't occur in the case of dwarfsim, which is simply caused by a genetic variant. So we can't seem to grasp why SRK was cast in a role that an actual person with dwarfism could've been cast for. Star power? With big names like Salman Khan and the late Sri Devi set to make cameos, they have plenty of that. Pretty sure they could've saved up on the CGI budget as well.
In entertainment, it's unfortunately common for people with dwarfism to be used as the butt of a joke. Rarely do characters like Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones hit the screens and Bollywood had the moment to give someone that very spotlight and they missed it. Having your body transformed by CGI does not show off your acting chops either. So we're uncomfortable with this choice and the more we see it, the more awkward it gets.
Also, while we're at it, using very obvious metaphors and word play related to size is rather tone-deaf and insensitive to the dwarfism community. In an attempt to make the film commercial, it should not pander to the comfort-zone of abled folks. Again, Bollywood had an amazing opportunity and they missed it.
But hey, this was just a trailer, we hope the film serves the purpose better when it releases December 21.