'Zoya Factor' Review: It takes too many cinematic liberties

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Abhishek Sharma’s The Zoya Factor is based on Anuja Chauhan’s 2008 novel of the same name that tells the story of a girl who becomes a lucky charm for the Indian Cricket team during the 2011 Cricket World Cup. The girl’s name is Zoya (essayed by Sonam Kapoor). She is born the very moment India won the first and the only cricket World Cup in 1983. Due to this uncanny timing of birth her life forever gets connected to the game of cricket. While working as an executive in an advertising agency she gets an opportunity to cover the Indian cricket which is going through a difficult phase of transition. Nikhil Khoda (essayed by Dulquer Salmaan) has replaced Robin Rawal (played by Angad Bedi) as the team captain but he too finds it difficult to turn the tide. Other than the poor form of the players the tussle between Nikhil and Robin is also costing the team dearly.

But in comes Zoya, and suddenly the rub of the green starts going India’s way. The men in blue are quick to realize that every time they have breakfast with Zoya before the match it results in a victory for the team whereas not eating with her results in defeat. The news spreads like wildfire and Zoya suddenly becomes a national sensation. The cricket board offers her a contract to travel with the Indian cricket team during the world cup. But Nikhil doesn’t want to win through luck alone. He also fears that Zoya’s presence will make the team complacent. During his efforts to convince Zoya to reject the board’s offer Nikhil ends up falling in love with her which makes the things even more complicated. What ensues is an absurd chain of events revolving around Zoya, Nikhil, the cricket team, the board, and the millions of fans wishing for a repeat of 1983.
The Zoya Factor suffers from uneven pacing. It is at least 30 minutes too long. The various characters in the movie keep reminding from time to time that cricket by nature is a driven by pure luck and so having a lucky charm like Zoya is the most desirable thing that any team can hope for on a cricket field. Now, it is quite plausible to believe the fans and media propagating this belief. But what’s difficult to digest is a cricket team comprising the most talented cricketers in the country too blindly accepting Zoya as their only hope to win the world cup. What’s even more perplexing is the cricket board’s desperation to have Zoya on board for the world cup. In other words, the film seems to have taken too many cinematic liberties. The only way to enjoy it is to not take it seriously at all.
Rating: 4.5/10
A version of this review was first published in The Sunday Guardian.

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