The Zoya Factor Hindi Movie Review

 There is a distinct Hrishikesh Mukherjee feel to the film. This is a huge compliment to the film director Abhishek Sharma. It is light hearted. Message yes but not preachy.  The cast human, the humour pleasant. No rhetoric, though the film had enough opportunities to slip into platitudes. 

What makes the film very enduring is the fine subtle presence of Dulqeer Salman. The Karwaan actor is out to charm you all over again.  He is so right all the time.  He is the kind of actor who is the slice of life type.  While the likes of Raaj Kumar Rao and Ayushman Khurana have author backed roles that help them leave a lasting impression this guy in both his Bollywood outings has a very normal non heroic role. He manages to carry an effervescent charm and the quintessential factor of Hrishikesh Basu Chatterjee hero. Welcome back to his tribe. 

To the uninitiated the film is based on a book by Anuja Chauhan. I have not read the book but the adaptation makes for pleasant viewing. Do not expect too much from it. It is just sleeper surprise. It deals with what arguably is the nation’s greatest passion: cricket. A near religion to a vast majority as the narrator (Shah Rukh Khan) was point out. The Indian team is on a long losing spree though it can boast of some heroic batters like its captain Nikhil Khoda (Dulqeer) and Robin Rawal (Angad Bedi). Obviously, there is rift between the two. Surprisingly it has not reached either the media or the public and is a well-kept secret. Fortunes for the team change drastically when a team comes to shoot a commercial for a soft drink company.  Zoya Singh (Sonam Kapoor) the lone lady of the three member team is seen as the X factor brining luck to the team. She was born on the day India shocked the cricketing world at Lords and won the Prudential World Cup. Her dad a retired army officer (Sanjay Kapoor – in a back to back Dad avatar) strongly believes that she is a good omen for cricket. In fact, it is her presence that has got brother Zoravar (Sikander Kher) his cricket success in the gullies in his childhood. The word spreads and the team management is willing to employ Zoya as the luck mascot for the team. 

         Nikhil who is a lady’s man tries to woo Zoya. She falls in love with him.  Soon she sees a game plan in the ideas and refuses to be part of it all. However, her repeated presence at the field and the success of the team with a low morale sees her find an illusory space. How India keeps her tryst with victory with the hero not having to have a bruised ego of naming his success to lady luck or the Zoya factor is what the 130-minute film is about.

         Watch the movie for certain interesting cricket parallels: like the India opener Shivi (Abhilash Chaudary) do a Shikar Dhavan, a captain promoting himself up the batting order in the finals against Sri Lanka, a Sachin look alike and happily under played. Watch the movie for the spirit of Sonam is rightly pitched and full of grace. Most importantly watch it for the grace and class of Dulqeer Salman who gives the film the grace and timing that Rohit Sharma gives our batting.

L. Ravichander.

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