The Zoya Factor movie review: Sonam Kapoor-Dulquer Salmaan film offers feel-good vibes but little else
The Zoya Factor
Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Dulquer Salmaan, Angad Bedi
Director: Abhishek Sharma
When luck is on your side, nothing can go wrong. But it is hard to say what will work as a ‘lucky charm’ for The Zoya Factor. An adaptation of Anuja Chauhan’s novel by the same name, The Zoya Factor, starring Sonam Kapoor and Dulquer Salmaan as lead characters, explores a world that is unreal yet director Abhishek Sharma makes it believable. Though the central premise of the film is thin, it’s the feel good factor that holds your attention. Since it’s a novel adapted for the big screen, you pretty much know what’s going to happen next, but Abhishek has adds quite a few elements that keep you hooked.
For instance, the script incorporates timely and hilarious puns about Ranveer Singh being head over heels in love with Deepika Padukone and the nepotism debate in Bollywood. The references to films such as Dhoom and Baahubali or Amitabh Bachchan’s game show Kaun Banega Crorepati crack you up.
Watch The Zoya Factor trailer here:
The film starts with Zoya Solanki (Sonam Kapoor) being born on the day when India won the cricket World Cup in 1983 and is labelled a ‘gift from cricket gods’ by her father (Sanjay Kapoor). Though considered a lucky charm who can make teams win ‘tosses and matches’ merely by sharing a breakfast with them, Zoya’s personal and professional life is a sob story. She is caught between dating losers and having a deadbeat job as a junior copywriter in an ad agency.
This middle-class Rajput girl from an army household gets an opportunity of a lifetime to work with the Indian cricket team for a shoot. The starstruck Zoya meets the hunk of the team Nikhil Khoda (Dulquer Salmaan), who believes ‘luck has no role to play in success; it’s only an excuse to failure’ and immediate connection is forged.
Things change when Zoya gains currency as a lucky charm and the entire team starts counting on her to win the game. Even the the cricket board offers her a whopping amount to be the lucky mascot for the team. In a fix between dating the team’s captain and her dilemma to take or leave the offer, Zoya goes through a tsunami of emotions.
Watch: The Zoya Factor public review
Dulquer Salmaan, son of legendary actor Mammootty and a heartthrob in Malayalam cinema, delivers a pitch-perfect performance, and is clearly the star of the film. He stands out in every possible way and you register his absence when he is missing on the screen. He’s the team’s skipper who doubles up as a chef and biker when not playing on the field.
Sonam Kapoor is in her element as she plays Zoya, a character that’s clueless about what’s happening in the world and has a perpetual dumb expression. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that it’s a tailor-made role for Sonam where she’s not even required to act and she seamlessly fits into Zoya’s shoes. Between wearing stylish clothes and looking good onscreen, I seriously wonder when filmmakers would start writing intelligent characters for this Kapoor scion. She did prove her mettle with Neerja, so it’s not that acting isn’t in her genes. Guess it’ll take a few more movies to get there.
Surprisingly, Sonam and Dulquer as a new onscreen pair have quite a sizzling chemistry. However, their romance gets a hasty treatment, bracketed as ‘love at first sight’. At some points, the film reminds of you Sushant Singh Rajput’s MS Dhoni: The Untold Story for the way a cricket team’s captain is shown falling for a girl who hates the sport and is ready to walk that extra mile for her.
Among the supporting cast, Angad Bedi as the bad guy of the team has a strong screen presence but gets a half-baked role with little for him to do. Sikander Kher as Zoya’s brother Zorawar delivers some clever comic punches. A 45-second cameo by Anil Kapoor doesn’t go unnoticed. The running cricket commentary by two men -- specially the one doing it in Navjot Singh Sidhu’s style -- keeps the laughs coming.
For a high-on-cricket film, the director and writers have tried hard to make the stadium portions look convincing and they succeed in some places. The players give glimpses of Indian cricketers like Shikhar Dhawan, Harbhajan Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, and you instantly draw comparisons. The scenes where the entire crowd in the stadium is shown chanting slogans ‘Zo Zo Zoya’ looks a bit too much. Even the TV sports journalists have been made to look like funny caricatures as they report animatedly in high-pitched voices.
Brand integration is one thing that this film has in abundance. From Nerolac paints, Cadbury Dairy Milk to Orilite Cement and Pepsi, they get such frequent mentions in the film that Sonam might have had a FOMO for her fashion label and her husband’s shoe line couldn’t make it to this list.
The Zoya Factor’s music isn’t forgettable but could have been better. Lucky Charm at the beginning sets the bar so high that Shankar-Ehsan-Loy themselves would have struggled to keep the momentum going. Tracks like Kaash and Maheroo do register in your mind.
On the whole, the film doesn’t ask you to apply your brains. If you are a cricket fan and enjoy chick flicks, Sonam’s over-the-top act and Dulquer’s good looks will hold your attention. A good watch with your friends where the fun lasts only till the film does.
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