The Zoya Factor


Caution: the following post is about the film not the book.

I’m like Zoya who isn’t a fan of the gentleman’s game but unlike her I kept it a secret. For years. It’s a big deal because I’m a natural blabbermouth. When the girls from my colony played cricket I gritted my teeth and did the bowling (and the batting?) like I was interested. To admit to not liking something when everyone around you loves it requires standing out and being comfortable in your own skin. I was an unsure 10 year old, so I went along with the charade.

I went in blind (read without seeing or reading a review) to watch The Zoya Factor (thanks to Cinepolis points). And I was disappointed. The book was dramatic but cheeky in a different way but the film is over the top.

Sonam Kapoor sadly isn’t Zoya for me. She never truly came to life. Where are the cheeks of Gaalu my mind cried. Fans of the book will know what I’m talking about. I had the book Zoya stuck in my mind – an imperfect idiot, ditzy but lovable, misguided but loyal. If you say that about the titular character, you’d think it’s all downhill from there but there’s reason to cheer. Two words – Dulquer Salmaan. Not a single false note by DQ. I was impressed with his acting prowess when I had seen Karwaan but now I’m star struck. The man has an earthiness and undeniable charm which makes him immensely likeable. Our Bollywood actors could take a leaf out of his book on keeping it real.

The film may not have worked for me but thanks to it I got a glimpse of the incredible pressure stars are under, and we sitting at home in our comfy chairs have no idea what it takes to make it under the constant media glare of those under the spotlight.

I enjoyed the one liners mouthed by the commentators (One of them was named Chiki which rhymes with Kiki – the parrot in Enid Blyton’s Adventure series who had the funniest lines!) written by Anant Singh.

I was uncomfortable with the blatant advertising (I’m looking at you Cadbury Silk) in the film but the writer is from the same field, and Zoya works in an AD agency so maybe it’s just me. I have nothing against advertising but when I want to watch a film I want to watch a film.

I enjoyed the Zo-Zo-Zoya slogan. Very catchy. I expected more from Amitabh Bhattacharya who has given us such lovely songs in Lootera and Udaan, to name a few. But the music was disappointing.

Anuja Chauhan’s one liners in the book are gold and The Zoya-Nikhil romance is one of the better done romances IMHO and worked well as a rom-com. Sadly that is lost in the film. The author has been given a writing credit but I failed to see her presence.

Sonam’s Zoya was far too stylish to be a commoner. Too put together. In her defence, she looked the most natural sans makeup when she wasn’t dolled up for the scenes at home. For a character to be reliable she has to, well, also look the part since it’s a visual medium. And that’s not how real life curly hair looks like. Zoya comes across as Sonam (read every girl next door character she has played) that we have been there seen that, and it works against her. Having said that, I kept track of the gorgeous junk (artisan?!) jewellery worn by Zoya but I was always afraid they wouldn’t stand the weight of Sonam’s slender ears.

Watch the film for a super cool Cricket captain, the antithesis to Zoya, who believes in hard work and eschews luck, the film belongs to Dulquer Salmaan and frankly I wanted to see more of him.

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