Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma to Star in Disability-Centric Film 'Zero'


Two of the biggest names in Bollywood are coming together for a new film centered around disability. “Zero” stars Shah Rukh Khan as a little person who falls in love with a celebrity (Katrina Kaif), and Anushka Sharma as a woman with a disability.

Khan shared two promotional images for the film Wednesday on Twitter. In the images, Khan’s character is seen riding on the side of Sharma’s motorized wheelchair and then again next to Kaif, who towers over him. Neither Khan nor Sharma have the disabilities they portray.

This is not the first time Khan has played a disabled character. Khan plays a Muslim on the autism spectrum in “My Name Is Khan” and a man with a terminal illness in “Kal Ho Naa Ho.” Khan is at least the fourth average-height Indian actor to play a little person. The film will use visual effects to make Khan appear shorter. In older Indian films, actors playing little people walked on their knees.

The Indian film industry is the most prolific film industry in the world, producing between 1,500 and 2,000 films per year. Despite the number of films made, disability is not often featured. When disability is featured, similar to the U.S. film industry, portrayals tend to be inspirational and feature able-bodied actors in disabled roles.

When asked by Mumbai Mirror why he wanted to create his “dwarf film,” filmmaker Aanand L Rai said:

I grew up in a simple, middleclass family without a car, airconditioner or five-star dinners, yet I was perfectly happy because happiness, as I’ve come to realise, is a state of mind. You can touch infinity even when you are zero, like Khan saab’s (Shah Rukh Khan) character. December is a month when we celebrate life and what better time for a boy who celebrates that he is physically incomplete and in his incompleteness completes others as he travels from Meerut to New York. There is a beauty in incompleteness we are celebrating.

“Zero” premieres Dec. 21, 2018. 


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