The Zoya Factor: Maiden Sonam ‘Zoya’ Kapoor the lucky charm for Indian cricket team?

Based on author Anuja Chauhan’s book, director Abhishek Sharma’s comedy is built on a fine mix of cricket, love and superstition.

The Zoya Factor (2019)

Talent is essential but you need the rub of the green to go your way too. Most won’t agree, but truth be told many a sportsman have their superstition.  The great tennis player Bjorn Borg sported a beard before every Wimbledon.   Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar always worse the left pad before the right. Australian great Steve Waugh always carried his lucky charm – the grey handkerchief. Former umpire the late David Shepherd of England hopped each time to ward off the Curse of Nelson.  Individual superstitions are fine but some times, sportsmen feel a certain person’s presence can bring the necessary luck. Remember during the 2011 World Cup final, how Tendulkar asked fellow mate Virender Sehwag to not move from his position in the stands as no wicket fell while Sehwag remained seated in that position.

Director Abhishek Sharma’s The Zoya Factor is riding on one such external superstition.  No, it doesn’t involve a cricketer, but a woman, Zoya Singh Solanki [Sonam Kapoor Ahuja] who is deemed lucky for India after she was born on the same day when India lifted it’s first limited overs international World Cup in 1983.  

Now surely Kapil Dev and his devils from 1983 World Cup had no inkling of the birth of Zoya when they beat the mighty West Indies in the final at Lords’, England on 25 June 1983.  It’s Zoya’s father [played by her uncle Sanjay Kapoor] and family who have imposed this lucky charm upon her.

 She’s grown into a pretty lady but cannot work the same charm to save her professional career or change her poor love life. The turnaround though happens when she starts courting the captain of the Indian cricket team Nikhil Khoda [Dulquer Salmaan]. As word is out about Zoya potentially being India’s lucky charm, the woman finds herself in the limelight. However, the uncalled attention also tests the Zoya-Nikhil relationship.

Sharma’s film is based on writer Anuja Chauhan’s 2008 book of the same title.   Remember, India won it’s second One Day International World Cup in 2011. This writer hasn’t read The Zoya Factor, but as seen from the trailer, director Sharma has perhaps built his fictitious story around India’s triumph in the 2011 World Cup. 

The adulation coming the way of Zoya is a stark different to reality.  How often have we seen actress Anushka Sharma being labelled a bad luck for  Indian captain Virat Kohli when she’s witnessed the team lose a game.  Recently, after the shocking defeat to New Zealand in the semi final of 2019 World Cup, there were deplorable reports of a cricketer’s wife overstaying her welcome. Contrary to the poor, chauvinistic beliefs, the Zoya Factor though celebrates a woman’s presence around her man, and his sport.

The Zoya Factor is not just built around the lucky charm, but it will unmask the comedy of errors, the drama of the media, especially the select silly broadcast media that relies on myths to  get eyeballs.  Although, she herself cares two hoots about cricket and this lucky charm thing, but Zoya does appear to be initially basking in her unexpected new found fame.

Sharma’s film comes across as a fine mix of love, cricket and superstition.  Based on the trailer, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and Dulquer Salmaan do appear to have a fine chemistry between them.  The final verdict though will come once the film releases.

Now Zoya’s superstition may be a little over the top especially, since she surely wasn’t the only child to be born on 25 June, 1983. However, it’s her relationship with the Indian captain Nikhil Khoda that gets the fellow cricketers, the gullible media, fans all superstitious.  Things get a little crazy from thereon.

The Zoya Factor promises to be a light hearted family entertainer.  

Will the Zoya Factor really work though? There is a footage of angry fans pelting stones at Khoda’s house. Does that mean the Zoya Factor failed? Too early to say. But we will find out the entire story on 20 September.  Watch the trailer below.  The Zoya Factor is produced by Fox Star Studios.

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