Every movie is two movies: one you watch and one you remember. The Zoya Factor proves to be the exception. Its absolute planarity – and terrible execution of everything else – makes it difficult to form a personal perception through past biases, for this is the farthest from any extreme of art. All that on-screen — acting, dialogues, character arcs, music, the vibe — lie on (pun intended) undercooked, over-obvious, and incompetent points across different scales of judgments.
The Zoya Factor is the story of Zoya (Sonam Kapoor) — a young girl at the start of her career — and her divine association with the luck of the Indian cricket team. Also functioning parallelly is her relationship with the dreamy (yet sensible) team captain Nikhil Khoda (Dulquer Salmaan), which now faces crossroads as he doesn’t believe in the Zoya Factor (the phenomenon, not the movie).
A cinematic world for every movie is a default. Even something as inadequate or single-layered as The Zoya Factor gets this privilege for its sheer use of a visual art form. Except that this world moves around a young girl whose intellect can be measured by a ruler. Zoya associates her success with finding a good-looking and successful boyfriend, only to transition herself to being independent… by finding a good looking and successful boyfriend. A fan theory could be she missed school the day concepts like career, balance and decision making was thought.
Ironically, her only character trait convincing enough — utter confusion — wasn’t exactly written into the movie, it was written in Sonam Kapoor’s singularity of tone. The bigger problem was that she failed to inform us what to feel in a movie where, ironically so, emotions are all that is visible and graced. Should I be empathetic for she struggles to find self-worth, or should I feel for her family keeping with a daughter making self-destructive decisions, or should I support the couple in mainframe? It isn’t a dilemma. It is the unsurety in execution.
But none of its incompetencies stop The Zoya Factor from being an entertaining watch. The nature of this entertainment was not intended or planned, but in an alternate universe where The Zoya Factor is a parody of the celebrity culture, faith, cricket and … India, it would be a laugh riot.
For instance, an opening batsman with anger issues bearing a long mustache, an iconic celebration, and named Shivi (Abhilash Chaudhary) reminds us of no one in the current Indian cricket team. Or even the cricket board president, who isn’t a look-a-like. Just in case you can’t get the more ‘difficult’ references, there are Pepsi/Dairy Milk ads inside the movie. Not product placement. Entire ads. In the small probability that your theatre didn’t please you with enough before or in between the film.
Of all the things that convince you that The Zoya Factor refuses to be smart, the most definitive indication is the cricket match simulations. Logic is never the correct word while rating a cinematic concept. But for a movie which flaunts its sensibilities through hard work v/s luck arguments, three sixes in the first three balls, followed by a wicket and then another six is too much to accept, mathematically or emphatically. It isn’t expectations of negligence by the audience, it is an expectation of accepting and ignoring — a pair of acts which become too much work to be performed collectively in a one-hundred-thirty-four-minutes runtime.
A movie about cricket and superstitions could have been an intimate affair in this country, but it chose to depict predictable domains of romance and associated communication which didn’t call for the theme it chose. For the incompetency lay both in intention and execution, it needed a miracle to work. The movie which talked about relying on a definitive divine presence never got its own.