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Anuja Chauhan Shares How Her Book, The Zoya Factor, Became a Film 

The latest Bollywood flick, ‘The Zoya Factor’, starring Sonam Kapoor, is based on Anuja Chauhan’s 2008 novel. 

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From coming up with the famous ad slogan, ‘Yeh Dil Maange more’ to penning five bestselling novels, Anuja Chauhan has much to her credit. Her first book, The Zoya Factor, about cricket and a ‘lucky girl’, is now a Bollywood flick.

Talking to The Quint, she shares Zoya’s journey from the book to a movie. Here are the excerpts from the interview.

Was it difficult to write a novel on cricket?

Well, the good part about The Zoya Factor is that it is a first person narrative of a person who neither knows the game nor likes the game. So, I didn’t have to kill myself over the research. But it became quite messy with the movie because in the movie, you had to include the boy’s point of view, who is the captain of the Indian cricket team. So, we needed to make out cricketing bits sharper. Luckily, I had the director with me and some experts, who helped us.

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Does Sonam Kapoor fit image of Zoya you had in mind?

I think she has done a really good job. She does really good homework and her homework is spot on. She has read the whole book, a lot of actresses wouldn’t do that. She put on 10 kg, she has perm, and I think she looks very authentic and it is working very well.

A South Indian actor, Dulquer Salman, is playing the cricket team captain, does he look the part?

So we have had a South Indian captain, we have had Rahul Dravid. I think he did a really good job because if you see Nikhil Khoda, the character in the book, he is brown, he is broody, and there is a lot of intensity there, which I think Dulquer has channelled really well.

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So where you part of the script writing process for the movie?

Yes, after they had worked on six drafts, they contacted me. Director Abhishek insisted that I go through everything. I worked with them on the final two drafts of screenplay and dialogues.

There was a fair amount of changes, because I had issues with some stuff they had done. I felt that they had dumbed down Zoya a lot, and they had made Nikhil very flirtatious.

But everyone realised what I was saying and we were being very constructive about it. There were a lot of arguments, discussions, banged doors and slammed phone calls. But it was all for the betterment of the film, so it was a good process.

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