The Zoya Factor

wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)

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

34 reviewers(?) - 12 yays 16 so-so 6 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Sanjay Kapoor as his real-life niece Sonam’s dad hits all the right notes. But it’s Anil Kapoor who brings the house down with his cameo as himself ‘AK’ mimicking his daughter’s novitine-numbed act so flamboyantly I fell down laughing. This is a comedy that doesn’t eke out its laughs. It earns them.... full review

Thumbs up, by Urmimala Banerjee, Bollywood Life : ...The Zoya Factor is a sweet and cute rom-com. It is the perfect chick flick for the weekend where you can go with your gal pals and drool over Dulquer Salmaan.... full review

Thumbs up, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...Our only grouse from the film is that it's too full of product placements and portions of it feel like showreels for several popular brands. Leaving this aspect aside, this well-written and well-acted film is a paisa vasool rom-com. It'll certainly make you laugh at yourself and just may help you get rid of a superstition or two...... full review

Thumbs up, by Madhuri V, Filmi Beat : ...Strangely while the film is titled 'The Zoya Factor', it's the 'Dulquer Salmaan' factor which works in its favour. If you are looking out for some easy, breezy watch, this Dulquer-Sonam starrer could be your pick for this weekend... full review

Thumbs up, by Vishal Verma, : ...THE ZOYA FACTOR is a charmingly delightful evening, lock your troubles at home and have a nice time with Zoya and the Indian cricket team.... full review

Thumbs up, by Ankur Pathak, Huffington Post : ...Directed by Abhishek Sharma, best remembered for making the satire Tere Bin Laden, The Zoya Factor is a fairly watchable film, the kind of effortless and lowkey movie you’d like to watch on a Sunday night. It doesn’t reach any landmark highs, but neither does it turn into a snoozefest. The best part of the film? It doesn’t pretend to have any lofty ambitions and is instead satisfied with the sweet story it’s telling.... full review

Thumbs up, by R.M. Vijayakar, India West : ...This is a delightful and different film, but nonetheless entertaining for that. A good film has many standout sequences, so does this one.... full review

Thumbs up, by Ambika Sachin, Khaleej Times : ...The Zoya Factor is great for laughs and the movie straddles the superstitious beliefs of an entire nation with a serious discourse on hard work versus luck with great aplomb.... full review

Thumbs up, by Mahwash Ajaz, Masala : ...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.... full review

Thumbs up, by Priyanka Sinha Jha, : ...Sonam Kapoor, as the ditzy Zoya is adorable. Urbane chick flicks certainly suit her and Kapoor is getting better with every film. Her goofy and bumbling avatar works well. In a scene where she meets superstar AK (Anil Kapoor) for an ad shoot briefing, she holds her own and you can see a marked progression as an actress. Leading man Dulquer Salmaan gets ample screen time and he is impressive lending just the right amount of playfulness and romantic intensity. It would be safe to say that while he is already extremely popular in the south, with The Zoya Factor, his popularity is likely to spill over to the Hindi speaking auds as well, especially the women. Their on-screen chemistry only helps the film's cause. Sikandar Kher as Zoya’s brother Zorawar is impressive even in a small role, as are Koel Purie, Angad Bedi and Manu Rishi.... full review

Thumbs up, by Amman Khurana, Times Now : ...The saving grace of The Zoya Factor are the dialogues by Pradhuman Singh Mall, which are mouth-watering. They keep offering you hearty laughter at different junctures of this otherwise bland film. But nevertheless, it does deserve a watch.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sreeparna Sengupta,, Times of India : ...The Zoya Factor is a fun, frothy film that pits superstitions versus strategy and self-belief versus luck. And delightfully uses India’s cricket craze to deliver a thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining film.... full review

So-So, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, THE ZOYA FACTOR is a feel-good popcorn entertainer that works chiefly due to concept, treatment, humour and performances. At the box office, it has the potential to grow dramatically due to a good word of mouth.... full review

So-So, by Anna MM Vertticad, FirstPost : ...So yes, The Zoya Factor trips up on a very crucial front, but where it works, it works well, being funny and thoughtful all at once, in addition, of course, to being an opportunity for over two hours of DQ gazing.... full review

So-So, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...The romance that soars, sours and soars again is also one of the becoming aspects of this film. Unfortunately the overall experience isn’t quite as smooth. Dulquer Salman, in his second Hindi film (after Karwaan) is magnetic and assured as the Captain who believes in skill and hard work. A prettified Sonam, looks a little ill-at-ease in her attempt to shoulder the film on the weight of her dubious charms. The supporting cast is also well on the ball but it’s not enough to strengthen conviction. It’s basically the scripting imbalance that keeps tripping up this faltering entertainer.... full review

So-So, by Neema Pramod, : ...Overall, The Zoya Factor is an endearingly fun film, despite the poor performance by Sonam, and is worth watching once for the premise and the few but good laughs. Though it doesn't do complete justice to its wacky premise, it does enough to keep you amused throughout its 136 minutes. And for the ladies, there is Dulquer Salmaan flaunting his six-packs and his charm like there is no tomorrow.... full review

So-So, by Monika Rawal Kukreja, Hindustan Times : ...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.... full review

So-So, by Lakshana N Palat, india today : ...The Zoya Factor is disappointing, as there was a lot more that could have been done with it. It could have been more entertaining and crisp, or even a wholesome romantic comedy. In the end, it just feels like a lot of watery Maggi without masala.... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...For a rom-com which needs to be light on its feet, hitting fours and sixes as it goes along, the writing is not as supple as it should have been. Too many slog overs here.... full review

So-So, by Uday Bhatia, Live Mint : ...There’s a smarter, sharper film somewhere inside this one, with insightful things to say about fandom and celebrity and superstition. As it stands, however, The Zoya Factor offers little cheer to those invested in the return of the Hindi romantic comedy or the halfway-decent post-Lagaan cricket film.... full review

So-So, by Shalini Sur, Movie Talkies : ...Well I shall suggest that if you are free this weekend and want to enjoy some harmless rom-com with some good company, then you should surely give this film a watch, as it will give you a decent outing. Where it will give you some laughter here and there with it's cheesy funny dialogues, but Dulquer and Sonam will certainly win your hearts. I will give a 3 out of 5 stars to this film.... full review

So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...Given the frenzy surrounding cricket in our country, it’s natural that depictions of the nation’s most loved 11 would be closely scrutinised and any resemblance to the real players would naturally be more than coincidental. In this film, there’s one character who twirls his impressive moustache upwards unmistakably like Shikhar Dhawan. Then, there’s another who flaunts a Sachin Tendulkar-like mop but resembles Roshan Abbas. And that’s the case with this film, it’s almost there but not quite.... full review

So-So, by Nikita Roy, Pinkvilla : ...All in all, the movie impresses despite having a foreseeable plot, with good dialogues, a reasonable length and terrific performances by few. Watch if you are a sucker for rom-coms.... full review

So-So, by Rajeev Masand, Rajeev Masand : ...I didn’t hate The Zoya Factor, and it’s not an unwatchable film by any measure. But it squanders the opportunity to say something about the world we live in, and our reliance on luck as both a crutch and an excuse. The film comes to life in the lighthearted romantic portions between Zoya and Nikhil. I could’ve watched those two for longer…if they’d only shaved off the contrivances.... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, : ...Sonam Kapoor plays, for the nth time, the Queen of Klutz. She is Zoya Singh Solanki, who considers herself unfortunate despite having a loving father and brother, living in a sprawling house with four television sets, and possessing a fashionably mismatched wardrobe.... full review

So-So, by Vinayak Chakravorty, Sify Movies : ...Which brings us to the real winner of the show. Say hello to Dulquer Salmaan, Bollywood's latest exciting import from the South. Malayalam icon Mammootty's son cuts a dapper picture, as the captain of the Men in Blue as well as a loverboy. Here is a star son who seems to have imbibed the right genes. Dulquer Salmaan is quite likely to carry forward his illustrious dad's legacy with aplomb.... full review

So-So, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...Despite the film being a rickety ride and Dulquer Salmaan not being utilised to his best potential, the Malayalam star still ends up playing the most rounded role of the lot. He steals the show with his mere presence that is both intelligent and charming in a believable, non filmi way. He gives the very few and far between dreamy, mushy moments that are a key to any opposites attract love story. Wish there could be more of them here. The look he gives Zoya, suffused with an amused affection, was enough to melt my geriatric, fossilised heart. What to say for the fresh and fledgling ones.... full review

So-So, by Divyanshi Sharma, Zee News : ...Director Abhishek Sharma takes care while setting up the cricketing milieu. The stadium action scenes are well edited (Utsav Bhagat). So what if good cricketing action, going by this film, is only about hitting sixes, the overall impact on the screen should seem engaging to the larger audience.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sameer Salunkhe, cineblitz : ...It is difficult to put together a cricket movie for the complex game that it is. Unfortunately, this is yet another failed attempt to crack a cricket movie. There have been quite a few made on contemporary cricket. Barring MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016) and Iqbal (2005) all others have been works which lack knowledge and detailing. Movies succeed on the suspension of disbelief. Unfortunately, The Zoya Factor didn’t work for me on that front. I left the movie theatre with the question, “Why so much fuss?”... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...This lovely little film thrived on the wryness of desperate adults embracing a child’s psychology. Of men reluctantly coming to terms with the boyishness of winning. The magic lies in the natural doing an awkward fistbump with the shy supernatural. But Sharma’s movie feels overtly supernatural to begin with.... full review

Thumbs down, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, the movie lacks one major thing that matters above all in such films – entertainment! Few earnest performances in cast and crew but nothing that makes the movie worth watching.... full review

Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...To be fair, director Abhishek Sharma is no Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire). Neither is the script Richard Curtis grade (Notting Hill). But Sharma's handled original comedy brilliantly, with solid satires Tere Bin Laden (2010), and Tere Bin Laden: Dead Or Alive (2016) before.... full review

Thumbs down, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...The Zoya Factor could have been a thoroughly enjoyable comedy. It ends up being a scrappy, erratic knock where a few crisp strokes are hopelessly outnumbered by a host of ungainly heave-hos. The film does not hit the sweet spot often enough to translate into either a truly rousing cricket film or a memorably moving love story.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Unimaginative in its creativity and commentary, The Zoya Factor’s biggest casualty is cricket. Characters appear to be physically modelled after Shikhar Dhawan, Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar but to no avail. You’ll see more dynamism and logic in stick figures than the matches played out in the movie.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

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):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

The Zoya Factor - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Running time:
135 minutes

Comments (1)

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Suresh Pillai

Very well written and aptly reviewed....all aspects..

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