Film: Little Zizou
Director: Sooni Taraporevala
Cast: Boman Irani,Imad Shah,Jahan Bativala,Sohrab Ardeshir
Running at: Inox (Forum,City Centre,Swabhumi)
The Parsi Mumbai of Little Zizou is in middle of everything, yet oblivious to the world around .Its radios sing quaint love songs and spiraling highrises hide the quirks of a crazy world where Art,an imaginative youth who fantasises about Russian commandos attacking his father and pursues a dream of building an airplane cockpit in his loft. This is a world,one presumes,untainted by 26/11. A world before the Arabian Sea caught fire. Yet,first-time director Sooni Taraporevala makes a very pertinent comment on a community which is fast disappearing from the face of the world. And she does so by creating conflicts which are resolved in a deft weaving of political events,social commentary and individual catastrophe and redemption
Xerexes (Jahan Bativala),Little Zizou as he wants to be known as,is an eleven year old soccer-mad Parsi boy,who bunks school in alarming frequency and has only one fervent wish,that his idol Zinedine Zidane visit Bombay. Art (Imad Shah),his older brother is an artistic youth who spends days fantasising about ways to kill his father. And for no mean reason. Their father,Khodaiji (Sohrab Ardeshir) is a power hungry,self-proclaimed protector-of-the-faith who herds a groups of blind followers. They are other complications in the tale too; Art is in love with the daughter of Khodaijis arch rival,Pressvala (Boman Irani),quirky,acid-tongued newspaper publisher who leaves no stone unturned to expose Khodaiji. His rubble-rousing ways get him into trouble when Pressvala writes a scathing critique of would-be prophet Khodaiji and public reaction is widespread. Khodaijis sons however,choose to side with Pressvala. Because of this,skeletons tumble out of the family cupboard and Little Zizou learns that there is more to his father than meets eye.
The film,actually,can be called a collection of mini-biographies. Taraporevala depicts individuals and not characters. She never fails to draw a picture of a personality with the most complete details. The characters and their sub-conscious are addressed with equal sensitivity,which make them all the more believable. Take Imad Shahs character for instance,as a troubled youth who seeks refuge in an imaginary world,he has trouble reconciling to reality,but is not necessarily in conflict with it . When he realizes that the girl he loves is in love with someone else,he back outs gracefully,but a frame of a graphic novel (which represents his imagination) depicts the boyfriend as a hulk.
Among all these conflicts in this bitter-sweet tale of thwarted love and ambition,Little Zizous dream of seeing Zidane in Mumbai,is lost. Zidane never really comes down to Mumbai. But then people move on,dont they?