Rating 3.5/5 Stars
Sonam Kapoor’s great at one thing: it’s choosing her men. I mean onscreen of course. Whether it’s Abhay Deol in Aisha, Fawad Khan in Khoobsoorat or now Dulquer Salmaan in The Zoya Factor. Not only does she seem to rule the ‘chick flick’ genre in Bollywood, Sonam gives the audiences a new heartthrob every few years. I’m not complaining. And in the movie, The Zoya Factor, Dulquer has won our hearts and how.
Voiced over by Shah Rukh Khan (goosebumps galore), The Zoya Factor tells the story of Zoya Solanki. Zoya is a ‘middle class girl’ (how do middle class girls have such great skin, I’d like to know) who is a junior copywriter at an ad firm. One catastrophe leads to another opportunity and Zoya ends up meeting Nikhil Khoda, the captain of the Indian cricket team. Zoya also becomes, by a stroke of luck, a lucky charm for the Indian team as she catapults into happening yet bizarre situations.
Based on the book, The Zoya Factor, by advertising expert Anuja Chauhan, you can tell that there are enough brands in the film to keep the producers happy. Soft drinks, chocolates, paints – it’s all there. The film’s tapestry is not very different to the Indian Cricket Team’s jersey with product placement in all the strategically opportune places. While some of the advertising does get in the way of actual storytelling, the film stays on point with punchy dialog and some genuine chemistry between Dulquer and Sonam.
Zoya Solanki’s character often breaks the fourth wall and speaks to the audience, explaining her dilemmas in a funny/relatable way. However, there’s not enough depth given to Zoya’s character and she often seems flighty and silly and smart only in passing. Sonam does her best to make Zoya endearing but eventually the scenes where she shares screen space with Dulquer is where most of the magic happens.
Dulquer will charm you despite how unlikeable his character is. He adds a lot of light and ease to what is an uppity sort of a dude thereby making the audience want to root for him and Zoya. He’s impressive and kind at the same time, a rarity and a tricky balance to foot. Dulquer is the kinda hero you’d want to be cast in a major motion picture in Hollywood doing a tough and gritty role with plenty of humanness and pathos.
Angad Bedi as Robin, the conniving teammate is playing a cliched role and you just have to take it on face value. Notably hilarious are the cricket commentators who make Katappa and Ranveer Singh references when India is losing/winning the matches.
The music is fairly forgettable (except maybe for the cheerful introductory track, “Lucky Charm Chahiye”) but the dialogs aren’t. Director Abhishek Sharma is smart enough to know that he’s making the film for eye-candy and sanitizes the world around him to make it perfect without nauseatingly peachy.
Perhaps what is most endearing about the film is the kind message of it all: don’t rely on jingoism or silly charms and superstitions or even hate to win or play the game. Play the game because you love the game and enjoy the game itself. Watch the film for some enjoyable laughs, cute moments, and perhaps a lovely date night.
Watch the trailer here.