The Zoya Factor by Anuja Chauhan – Book Review

Synopsis:

This is the story of Zoya Singh Solanki, a twenty-seven-year old who works in an advertising firm. She was born on 25th March 1983, at the very moment that India won the Cricket World Cup. Cricket being another religion in India, this is a huge deal for the cricket lovers in the country. 

Zoya Solanki hails from Karol Bagh in Delhi from a huge joint family. Her idea of a perfect assignment is working with Shahrukh Khan. She gets a chance to work with him when suddenly her colleague, who covers cricket related stories, faces an emergency. So Zoya has to fill in his place and go to Bangladesh to work with the Indian Cricket team, who is on tour in Bangladesh. Due to this sudden assignment she loses the chance of working in her dream project. Unlike her family members, she is not a fan of cricket and is very disappointed when she has to lose the opportunity to shoot with Shahrukh Khan.

When she is unable to shoot with the Indian Cricket Team due to some reasons, she jokingly comments about how her auspicious moment of birth could prove lucky for the otherwise badly faring Indian team. Incidentally the team wins its match after breakfasting with Zoya, and a few other ‘tests’ (including at IPL games) turn out to prove her a true lucky charm. Now Zoya is officially tagged as the “Zoya Devi” – The goddess of Cricket, she accompanies Indian team for the world cup. This annoys Indian cricket captain Nikhil Khoda, who believes in hard-work and strategy, and not in luck. 

Will Zoya help India in winning the world cup? Will India be able to win without her ? Why is Captain cold heart interested in Zoya when he claims he doesn’t believe in luck ? You will have to read the book to get the answers.

My Take On The Book:

I have read two more books by Anuja Chauhan, “Those Pricey Thakur Girls” and “Baaz”. Personally I don’t enjoy reading her books. Firstly because of their colloquial touch and overdose of local words. Secondly I don’t relish reading comic or humourous books. But when I learnt that the book is being adapted into a movie, I decided to read “The Zoya Factor”.

Now the first thing first. The Zoya Factor is another typical over-the-top ‘Anuja Chauhan book’. The book is very lengthy comprising more than 500 pages which literally drags the story. About 200 pages seemed unnecessary! There were just too many things going on that left me feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. Anuja Chauhan is a seasoned writer and belongs to the advertising agency. So she should have given due consideration to editing the pages to shorten the book length. This would have made the story crisp and interesting.

The book has a very Indian and Delhi feel and the lifestyle of a Karol Bagh joint family has been depicted very beautifully. But again the fact remains the same, it was too lengthy with too much detailing to hold the interest of the readers. 

Another thing that did not go well with my taste was the over usage of Hindi  words. Actually words is an understatement as the book is full of Hindi sentences. ANyone who doesn’t know Hindi will find it very difficult to read this book. 

Anuja Chauhan knows about the love for Cricket that Indians hold.  And she has come up very intelligently with a plot revolving around Cricket and superstition. We all know how superstitious we become while watching or playing a Cricket match and this is exactly where Anuja Chauhan has nailed it spot on. But the characters and execution of the plot diluted the effect. What could have been an interesting page turner turned out to be a fairy tale; absolutely absurd, extremely predictable and rather dragged out. 

The characters are believable but I did not like portrayal of Zoya as a girl who swoons seeing the skipper. Zoya’s character was simply annoying to me. Though she begins as a girl next door but soon develops into a cranky, terribly insecure messed up person.I prefer the female characters in books to be strong who have a mind of their own. Nikhil Khoda, the captain of the Indian Cricket team, seemed like Mr. Darcy of “Pride & Prejudice” to me.  

There are many good parts in the book like the environment and lifestyle of Karol Bagh, many cultural aspects of India, cricket scenes, life of an advertising agency etc. But these should have been cut short to keep the pace fast. The satirical descriptions and the metaphors used are brilliant.  

What I liked?

  • The depiction of Delhi lifestyle especially Karol Bagh, cultural aspects of India, cricket scenes, life of an advertising agency etc. 
  • The satirical descriptions and the metaphors.
  • The plot idea.

What I disliked?

  • The long, unending and lack lusture narration.
  • Zoya’s dumb and superficial  character.
  • The colloquial touch with over usage of Hindi words and sentences.

Pick or Skip?

If you like reading rom-coms then this book is definitely for you. This book is meant for light or time pass reading. However, its length makes it unfit for a timepass read. But if you enjoy reading Hinglish books with lots of quirky and funny scenes, you will like it.

If you are more into serious reading and look for some depth and meaning in a book, then I will not recommend “The Zoya Factor” to you. 

Buy The Zoya Factor from Amazon

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