The Zoya Factor Movie Review: An underwhelming take on serendipity that fails to justify its premise

Updated: Sep 20, 2019, 13:48 IST | Vinamra Mathur | Mumbai

Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and Dulquer Salmaan deserved better writing and superior characters

A still from the movie The Zoya Factor (Picture courtesy/Youtube channel of Fox Star Hindi)
A still from the movie The Zoya Factor (Picture courtesy/Youtube channel of Fox Star Hindi)

The Zoya Factor
U; Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director: Abhishek Sharma
Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Dulquer Salmaan, Sanjay Kapoor, Angad Bedi 
Rating: Rating

Abhishek Sharma's The Zoya Factor starts and ends with a voiceover by Shah Rukh Khan. It's so ironic that a film about luck and the charm it accompanied with it never gets lucky enough to become or transform into an engaging film. The trailer pretty much revealed everything one needed to know about this drama-cum-comedy. It's the story of the eponymous character and her multiple (mis)adventures, and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja tries to carry the character and the film with some poker-faced humor and slapstick hilarity.

Most of her scenes involve talking to the audiences, breaking the fourth wall and informing what emotions she's going through every moment. It's the same template the actress and Shashanka Ghosh adapted in Khoobsurat exactly half-a-decade ago. Dulquer Salmaan, fondly known as DQ, plays the kind of a cricket captain whose existence would be impossible in real. He keeps loitering in his hotel lobby and bumping into Zoya, mostly in a lift. He invites her for breakfasts and dinners and even lands up at her house to say sorry. The actor has a commanding screen presence and aura, but the performance isn't, it looks internalised, maybe for more restrain, but you feel nothing when he wins some impossibly complexed matches, and neither pine with him when he faces consecutive defeats.

The film has a winning premise, just like the book it has been inspired by, Anuja Chauhan's The Zoya Factor, but Abhishek Sharma and Chauhan herself, fail to give the same magic and madness to the adaptation. It reeks of redundancy and gratuitousness. Zoya's love for firecrackers, a scene involving old-age romance, Salmaan's rivalry with Angad Bedi, who has issues of his own, all merely skim the surface, never succeeding to care for these characters, let alone rooting. The blame then goes to the weak acting, particularly by the leads, who try everything to make the charm and the chemistry work, alas all in vain.

Watch the trailer of The Zoya Factor here:

Hallelujah! This is one of those rare Hindi films where the product placements don't jar or appear in-your-face. Because Indian Cricket has become a lot more than just playing cricket and practice sessions, we get way too many montages of photo-shoots for commercial ads. It's also ironic Sharma stages these glimpses better than he stages his cricket scenes, so instrumental to the narrative. Forget the stadium, even the locker room screams of artifice, with some gaudily done CGI.

The only things I remember are a Ranveer Singh lookalike in the team who has severe anger management issues, and the cricket commentary. And due credit goes to Pradhuman Singh for writing such sharp lines for both the commentators, this is the flavor and fervor the entire film deserved and needed. Who would have thought cricket commentaries could ever be the highlight of a Hindi film too?

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