Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Dose of Parsipanu

A day after celebrating Navroz (if I can call that celebrating in the first place; but I'm not sure), I finally caught up with Little Zizou. I just realised that the seating at Sterling Cineplex isn't all that great if you catch a movie in Screens 2 and 3. Screen 1 is the best and the biggest. But for the price of Rs 120, I think it's a steal and one of the best options in South Bombay. And the foodcourt downstairs is an added attraction. Besides Sterling has been one of my old favourites, so I'll continue to visit there. But if you happen to watch movies in screens 2 and 3, and find that the seats are too low and you can't watch the screen properly, do always ask for a pillow. Place it on your seat and then sit on top of it. The management has been very forward-looking I guess and may have well anticipated this problem when they modified the erstwhile single-screen theatre. Such prompt action from the management can turn a disadvantage into a great service opportunity. Good!

Coming back to Little Zizou. I have been a fan of its director Sooni Taraporewala. She is an acclaimed screen-writer, having written the screenplay for much-acclaimed movies like Salaam Bombay, Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake, etc. She is also a damm good photographer; I am the proud owner of her first coffee table book on Parsis - the story told through pictures. Little Zizou is her first film as a director. But I was a wee bit disappointed. I expected much more from Little Zizou, considering Sooni is good at films. The story was way too simplistic and much of the Parsipanu was cliche to me. I mean, how many times must I have heard this debate of conversion, pure blood, etc etc being played out. Maybe I think like this because I, too, am a Parsi. I think that is perhaps why non-Parsis liked the movie alot and Parsis loved it too because it was a movie on, well, Parsis. And despite all the Parsipanu and gheloo-gandu, I think it portrayed the funny side of Parsis, unlike 'Being Cyrus' where the lead protagonist was a negative character. I remember a lot of Parsis did not like that movie because of this. But I think production- and technicality- wise, 'Being Cyrus' was a much more superior movie than Little Zizou.

You'll draw a lot of parallels to plot-lines and sub-plots of the movie - conversion, the question of pure blood, Russians, Scandinavians, whoever running a parallel Zoroastrian movement in their countries converting into Zoroastrians and inviting wrath from conservatives in India, a community newspaper - somewhat like apru Jame-Jamshed - spitting venom at people with different ideologies than that of the paper - to some of the current happenings in the community. But where the movie fails is an absence of a strong story. Good performances and a lot of Parsipanu, though, has found many takers of this film. I too enjoy watching Parsipanu on the big screen, after having endured fake Parsipanu in much-degrading style in many Hindi Bollywood; my blood boils when I see such scenes in such atrocious Hindi movies.

But speaking of Parsipanu, I just got snubbed heavily the first thing in the morning of Navroz by someone in whose house I have virtually grown up. Why? Because I had not had a bath as yet till then. I usually wake up a little on weekends. I consider this to be very rude that people who have had their bath refuse to touch others who haven't had their bath, just so to remain pure and clean. Please! Purity in mind and speech is more important than having luxury baths and hairwashes and wearing designer labels. Isn't "good words, good thoughts, good deeds" the essence of Zoroastrianism? Then from where has this parsipanu come from?

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