The Zoya Factor by Anuja Chauhan
This is a first book by the author, who happens to be from the corporate world and that too from a flamboyant one, and like lot of current authors, she also derives the book out of her professional life and from people around her, in fact she has literally borrowed all the names and surnames also from people around her.
The book makes a fast paced reading, with all the ingredients of a Hindi movie, a romantic story line with a backdrop of world of cricket and advertising, both of which seem to co-exist. It’s a Mills and Boon kind of story, where a average girl’s path crosses with a rich most sought after guy and he falls in love with her, but throughout the book the girl is unable to make out if he loves her or not. And finally in the last chapter and on the last page the boy appears before the girl, this is of course after she has lost all hopes of getting him, and sweeps her away with the sweet nothings.
To this story, add the fact that it is based in India and the rich guy happens to be the captain of Indian Cricket team, now you can not be more sought after than that in this country. And the girl is someone from the author’s world, an ad agency executive who happens to meet celebrities for work, and that’s how she bumps into the Indian cricket team.Top it up with the masala of superstitions that the cricket players are known for and in the protagonist they find a lucky charm. They make way for her to accompany the team for world cup and in turn make her a celebrity in the process. Having been with the company that is associated closely with cricket and world cups, author has been able to capture the madness that cricket evokes at all levels in the country pretty well and something that most readers would identify with.
Except Pepsi that she has disguised as Zing!, most of the other brands, stories, people have been picked up from real life including the ad of an undergarment that is not so great but has a huge recall value. My view is that using lot of current point in time incidents, merchandise makes the book also point in time that ten year down the line may not look very relevant, but at the same time the other view can be that they become the mirror for the current time for future reference. It also captures the essence of Delhi, at attitude of girls who grow up here in the by lanes and then move into so called professional world and keep trying to move between the two identities.
I think Anuja would make an excellent scriptwriter, as she loves to use the colloquial language, does not leave space for any subtle messages and captures feelings and emotions very effectively and can give them witty words. I liked the book as well, though I prefer slightly deeper kind of books. But you have to give it to the author for all the funny one liners that keep popping up throughout the book, after all she is the one to pen down ‘Yeh dil maange more’ for Pepsi.
Recommendation: Light, funny, interesting, one-time read. I would not be surprised if you see a Hindi movie based on this book very soon.
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