Zero begins at the beginning. Right around where the Biblical big bang happened, involving Adam, Eve, the snake and the little-known Lilith. Hence Zero. The filmmakers obviously don’t subscribe to Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution.
Or anything scientific for that matter.
A woman is haunted by voices and visions – especially those from her long dead mother. She sleepwalks into a picturesque land, where she meets her mother and a dozen other sleepwalking women. The mother wants her to stay back, but the haunted woman would rather go back to her loving husband.
The loving husband is a “social-worker” with a rich dad, and he is so blindly in love with the haunted girl that he decides to treat her seemingly serious mental illness using love. Rather than things that people with normal levels of love would do, like consult a doctor.
Meanwhile in the same city there exists a man with an imaginary wife that he calls Andrea. Naturally, he can see spirits. Interact with them. Read minds. And he possesses X-ray vision that helps him see in the dark, through human skin and pretty much anything else.
It is a pity that most horror films are anti-science. They disdain science and scientific theories, and many famous Hollywood horror films – Conjuring, The Exorcist – showcase a specific brand of horror that relies on Christian superstition. But there are some superior exceptions. The Shining treated insanity as an illness. The Malayalam classic Manichithrathaazhu is another brilliant example.
Zero starts off as a movie about insanity.
An accomplished woman, who is a university topper, decides to become a housewife. She has a faulty uterus that cannot bear a child. And a family history of mental illness that makes her father-in-law fear that she too might turn insane. Enough pressure to turn a person crazy.
And then, Zero chooses to take the road more travelled.
The movie is replete with the cliches that the genre demands. The CGI (mediocre), the sound effects(decent). And the lead actress puts in an appropriately hysterical performance. But what scared me the most is the regressiveness that the movie reeks of.
Priya (Shivada Nair, with a prefix ‘s’) is haunted and tortured by Lilith. According to the movie, Lilith is a woman who walked away from God, to live life on her own terms. She decides not to confine herself to the God’s paradise, and find her own happiness. Many academic theories regard her as one of the earliest feminist figures. In Zero, the pink-loving, assertive Lilith is evil because she uses cuss words and sleeps around. She needs to be reined in.
All the non-Indians in the movie, the sleepwalking women and the priests, are white. What happened to all the other races? It’s an important point to note because the movie’s theme pertains to the whole universe. And the final scene in the movie seems to partially validate the recent theory of an RSS leader that Jesus Christ was a Tamil Hindu.
In a particular sequence in the movie, Solomon (X-ray eyes, played by JD Chakraborty) is inspecting a haunted house. The woman of the household treats him with respect, unlike her husband, who is seen reading Karl Marx. He says he believes in no god. Solomon tells him that godless people like him are the cause of all the problems in the world. It’s further revealed that the Karl Marx-reader, the only atheist in the movie, is a womaniser and infidel.
The movie was promoted as a romantic drama and a horror-thriller, but the only romantic element is Nivas K Prasanna’s music. The lead pair, who are in love right from Genesis, lack chemistry; their interactions are stale, their conversations facile.
But why single them out when all the characters are unidimensional and forgettable?
Zero, which appears to be a love child of Sundar C – P Vasu movies and Hollywood’s cliched horror dramas, is as forgettable as its characters.
PS: Half way through the movie, a man from the audience yelled, “Cut it out and take her to a proper doctor!”. Bang on!
The Zero review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.