A young couple, Ashwin and Shivada, move into a new home after getting married. They are strongly intimate and absolutely in love with each other. Shivada is haunted by dreams and hallucinations, and like her late mother, she also has some apparent mental illness. She is attracted to whatever that is pink and increasingly finds it difficult to distinguish between reality and illusion. She is strongly pulled towards the surreal world by visions of her mother.
The couple's lives are torn apart due to Shivada's problems and we come to know the reason for what she's going through as the film wears on. The evil force in the tale is Lilith (in Jewish folklore, Lilith was a female demon and the first wife of Adam), which possesses Shivada and threatens to ravage the entire world. In the end, it is love and God which triumph, with the promise of a new beginning in a new year, and also an extension to this tale.
Zero belongs to Shivada Nair and she plays a very difficult, intense role in a most convincing manner. It must have been really demanding for her, both physically and mentally, and she deserves a lot of acclaim and awards for what she has done. Ashwin is earnest as the unflinching husband, who stands up to the evil possessing his wife. He scores strongly in the pre-interval scene when Shivada visualizes Ashwin in different moods, all over their home. But bad make-up lets him down in the second half towards the end. JD Chakravarthy gets a cool part as a mysterious man with supernatural powers. Ravi Raghavendra as Ashwin's concerned dad and Thulasi as the friendly neighbor complete the support cast and they do justice to their roles.
Composer Nivas Prasanna is the soul of the film with his splendid melodies and out of the world re-recording. His music adds so much to the viewing experience and gives massive impetus to the film's content. Some seriously good work this. The VFX and the visuals by Babu Kumar as a whole are of a very high quality. The film's story has massive visual scope and the team has delivered big on this front. Also, great work by editor Sudharshan in handling such a complex narrative, which has many elements.
All the extraordinary scenes when Shivada is in a possessed state have been shot in a terrific, innovative manner by the team. The scene when she goes after a pink bulb fixed in the ceiling is astounding.
Zero is definitely meant for a mature, thinking audience. It is a high-concept film and isn't for the regular entertainment seekers who dig into horror thrills. Be patient and soak in this experience, which runs for close to 150 mins. Of course since it's a fantasy ride, one must suspend disbelief and just watch the director's ambitious vision translate on to the screen. Zero is definitely a labor of love.