The Zoya Factor

wogma rating: Even the keen, wait for it to come on TV/online (?)

quick review:

Attempts to keep things light, which work at times and don’t at others. A film that wouldn’t kill you if you watched it, but one you wouldn’t miss if you didn’t.

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Director: Abhishek Sharma
Running time: 135 minutes
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Sports
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The Zoya Factor - Preview

A string of atypical Hindi films is not something I will get tired of soon. And this one is atypical within a done-to-death genre, rom-com. The cricket backdrop piques the right amount of interest too. Of course, the trepidation that the theme will fall flat while traversing the length from a trailer to a feature-length film. It still has enough signs of entertaining through the time in the theater.

The Zoya Factor releases on 20 September 2019.

- meeta, a part of the audience

The Zoya Factor wears its main “message” on its sleeve—luck is over-rated. It possibly also wants to say that cricket is over-rated, and the attachment that fans have with the game and the players is overwhelming. Weaving this into a rom-com is a good enough setting that a “boy meets girl” story needs. Unfortunately, both the romance and the comedy don’t work consistently.

I actually appreciated a end-of-the-film, message-y, moralising sermon.

The romantic bits are charming at times but become toxic every now and then with the male lead (Dulquer Salmaan) ordering the lead lady (Sonam Kapoor) around as per his whim. In fact, this Zoya character seems to be bossed around by all the men in her life—father, brother, client, and of course, boyfriend. To be fair though, her lady boss is also condescending towards her. At least that makes her a consistently written character whose random ego makes her stand-up for whatever she believes in, right or wrong.

Also, that makes her the only character, which written with some depth. All the other characters are rather uni-dimensional and some of them disturbingly manipulative. At the risk of exposing my naivete, the politics and rivalry in a national cricket team were icky. That the board could manipulate events the way they like, I could imagine. But, that the players would get each other out because of rivalry (not money), even when the world cup is at stake, seemed a little out there.

Of course, there must be some room for exaggeration in a film, but to even think of that as a possibility—as a fan—sent a creep down my spine. Especially, when the cricket team had a lookalike of Sachin Tendulkar, a Yuvy+Shikhar Dhawan (Shivy, it seems!) combination, a wicketkeeper-captain with a #7 jersey, the creepiness feels very real. Another thing that I hope doesn’t happen in real life are advertisement shoots during tournaments. Yeah, naivete, exposed again. But, if that happens in real life, then I guess I should stop complaining about product placement in films, which incidentally, this film had ample of.

At least, some of the product placement was rather comical here. Intentional or not, I will not know. But, I do know that some of the comedy, like the ridiculous dialogue written for the Hindi commentators, brought many a laugh. Even though they overdid it sometimes by calling a reasonably difficult catch, a halwa (very-very-easy) one. The comedy that didn’t work completely washed that out though. And some might have worked if done better. The comic-strip-like treatment at the beginning like the goddess scenes or the ‘Last Supper’-themed photoshoot, for instance—weren’t consistent and thus lost impact. Same goes for breaking of the fourth wall too. I acknowledge that overdoing it might have killed whatever little effect it had.

The comedy that works though is timed well by Sonam Kapoor. She plays silly and simple-but-right-minded with equal aplomb. Dulquer Salmaan too, carries off a very well-timed preachy speech with sincerity. Yes, you read that right. I actually appreciated an end-of-the-film, message-y, moralising sermon. It helps that it was short and to-the-point.

And yet, as a whole, the film is a mix of hits and misses. It leaves you entertained, but if you were told you could nap instead, you would consider the option.

- meeta, a part of the audience

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1 readers - 1 yays 0 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Suresh Pillai : Keep your expectations out of the theatre and watch ..would be fine

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Sex is implied
  • Concept: A woman’s presence is considered a lucky charm for the men’s Indian cricket team. The team’s captain though wants the team to believe in itself.
  • General Look and Feel: A breezy feel that doesn’t stand out as anything extraordinary.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

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The Zoya Factor - Cast, crew, links

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135 minutes
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