Starring Sonam Kapoor, Dulquer Salman
Directed by Abhishek Sharma
A rom-com that’s intelligent enough to consider its audience intelligent enough to avoid spoonfeeding every morsel of emotion …that’s The Zoya Factor, a delightfully grownup comedy where the laughs are so fluent, they fly.
In Hindi cinema there’s way too much punctuational background music. Happy music for comic scenes, dirgeful violins for tragedy…It’s as if the filmmakers are afraid to let us find our own emotions in the plot.
The Zoya Factor lets go. It allows the characters to bloom and groove to their own beats. There is a quirky cadence to the narrative, which was the mainstay of Anuja Chauhan’s novel. In the film director Abhishek Sharma (Tere Bin Laden) multiplies the quirk-o-nomics by leaps and bounds, rendering the source-material into an endearing excursion with a surfeit of sauce material.
Saucy is indeed how the film comes across. Filled with percolating beans our Zoya, as played the ebullient Sonam Kapoor, is a bit of Lucille Ball and a lot of just any fumbling working-girl who dreams of doing something major with her life. Good to see a female hero who is vulnerable and clumsy.
When we first first meet Zoya she is being dumped by a nerdy dentist boyfriend. From the dentist, this plot with a byte sets off on the wackiest journey I’ve seen any female hero undertake. Sonam plays her goofy character with sincerity and spirit. She stumbles, she isn’t afraid to fall and when she fails she is man….errr, woman enough to accept defeat.
The narrative is baggily engaging, never allowing an over-tight editing pattern to ruin our appreciation of the actor’s attempts to define the unstated near-religious connection of cricket with the Indian psyche.
This brings me to Dulquer Salman as the captain of the cricket team which “adopts” Zoya as their lucky mascot. Dulquer’s reined-in performance works to pan out Sonam’s exuberant portrayal of a girl who is so hellbent on creating a stir she ends up courting chaos.And every member of the cricket team specially Angad Bedi and Abhilash Choudhary, is well played.
It’s good to see Sonam asking her co-star to show her his six-pack. Men have played the field long enough. The dialogues (by Pradhuman Singh) are colloquial and mordant with some of the best lines being mouthed not by the cricketer hero and his confused heroine, but the other actors, some of them like Manu Rishi (playing an unctuous cricketing-board chief) and Sikandar Kher (as Zoya’s protective but bullying brother) are so brilliant they add oodles of oomph and chutzpah to a story that brims with backchat.
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.