Film Review: The Zoya Factor; Confused, yet amusing

Film: The Zoya Factor

Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Dulquer Salmaan, Sanjay Kapoor, Sikander Kher, Anil Kapoor, Manu Rishi Chaddha, Angad Bedi, Udit Arora, Koel Purie, Abhilash Chaudhary, Pooja Bhamrrah, Jashan Singh Kohli, Gandharv Dewan, Abhishek Madrecha, Pradhuman Singh

Director: Abhishek Sharma

Rating: * * ½

This confused yet amusing spoof on a fictitious Indian cricket team’s penchant for superstitions and luck is based on Anuja Chauhan’s 1984 novel, The Zoya Factor. The film plays out as a rom-com following Zoya (Sonam), an advertising agent, who usually dates losers and gets rejected by them, eventually finding solace in the arms of the luckless captain of team India, Nikhil Khoda (Dulquer Salman). The movie opens with Shah Rukh Khan’s narration and broadly segues into Zoya’s commentary about her unusual love story.

Her Dad Vijendra Singh Solanki (Sanjay Kapoor) and brother Zorawar Singh Solanki (Sikander Kher) are cricket lovers who constantly wail about the bad run that the Indian cricket team has had of late. The World cup is around the horizon and the team has been steadily losing its preparatory engagements while controversy regarding captaincy struggles between Nikhil Khoda and Robin (Angad Bedi), the dethroned captain has become grist for the gossip mill. Most of the team members have attitudinal issues which get palmed off as superstitious beliefs. Zoya, a junior copywriter with an agency that specialises in getting celebs (Anil Kapoor as one of them is a hoot) to endorse products, enters into this state of unease and promptly bags the romantic interest of Khoda while the entire team looks on her as their lucky charm.

Abhishek Sharma’s faulty narrative loses sight of the main theme – ‘Superstition and luck pitted against hard work’ in its efforts to garner audience amiability through mirthful, irrepressible allegories and humorous asides. The main plot of a young woman as a lucky charm that turns the tide for the Indian team is rather muddled by selective representation and underdeveloped treatment. Much of the cricket that we see here are superstition enhanced moments. Some of the dialogues are entertaining.

The romance that soars, sours and soars again is also one of the becoming aspects of this film. Unfortunately the overall experience isn’t quite as smooth. Dulquer Salman, in his second Hindi film (after Karwaan) is magnetic and assured as the Captain who believes in skill and hard work. A prettified Sonam, looks a little ill-at-ease in her attempt to shoulder the film on the weight of her dubious charms. The supporting cast is also well on the ball but it’s not enough to strengthen conviction. It’s basically the scripting imbalance that keeps tripping up this faltering entertainer.