Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Little Zizou

Rating : 7/10
Release Date : 20th Mar ‘09
Time : 101 minutes
Director & Writer : Sooni Taraporevala; Music : Bickram Ghosh
Starring : Jahan Batlivala, Imaad Shah, Boman Irani, Zenobia Shroff, Shernaz Patel, Sohrab Ardeshir, Kurush Deboo, Dilshad Patel, John Abraham, Cyrus Barocha, Kamal Sidhu, Tknow Francorsi, Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal, Iyanah Bativala

I love the way comic book illustrations, as seen through the eyes of one of its main protagonists, Imaad Shah, consistently merge in and out of the film. I loved the way the Russians invaded Parsi-land in the opening sequence. I loved the way each character is totally immersed in his/her own world – be it preparing for a new world order, running a small newspaper or building a 747 simulator. And I loved most of all the little eccentricities shown, the kookiness of this sect, kind of the way Parsi’s are stereotyped to be, their own language, their own sayings. And it extends to way beyond the silly shallow ‘eh dikra’ and the dresses most Hindi films have shown so far. And given the reaction of a few Parsi’s sitting near my wife as she watched the film, who were cracking up constantly during the film, this one seems to have hit an authentic sweet spot…

The movie is narrated through Jahan’s eyes, a kid who’s obsessed with Zinedine Zidane (hence the nickname) and football, which he plays either in real life or on his brothers laptop or in cybercafe’s (hilarious scene where he’s playing it sandwiched between two guys surfing porn who keep requesting him to lower the volume as they cant concentrate…). He’s also obsessed with the thought of whether his mother (who died during childbirth) saw him or not and whether she continues to watch over him or not. He’s also rarely in school and milks the fact that he doesn’t have a mom with some kind neighbours, much to consternation of the neighbours daughter.

Jahan’s elder brother, Imaad, the comic book illustrator, is a pretty chilled guy, who cares for his kid brother in a non-intrusive, non-possessive way. And its his obsession to make a 747 simulator, along with two other crazy guys, one of whom is always eating and the other, who is a half Russian / half Parsi, ‘lovingly’ called half baked lemon soda by one member of the fanatical force run by his Dad. Jahan’s and Imaad’s father, Sohrab Ardeshir as Khodaiji II, is probably one of the craziest of the lot, fancying himself to be the next messiah, doing chanting, exhorting his force to spread the word, more blunder than buss and with a devoted secretary (Shernaz Patel), who drinks on the sly, but then as Jahan points out, his father could drive anybody to drink.

Khodaiji’s arch enemy is the full of life Boman Presswala (Boman Irani), who is also the neighbour giving solace to the two kids. His wife Roxanne (Zenobia) is a loving, maternal woman, their house is full of music and love and laughter, and they have two daughters – the elder one is an object of affection for Imaad, while the younger one resents the attention Jahan gets from Zenobia and enjoys putting her little nose in everything. When trouble hits them, with the battle between Khodaiji and Boman intensifying as Boman exposes the nonsense that the group is upto, then its Zenobia who has to try and sort things out with her mom, a Mrs Havisham style character excellently played by Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal.

I can go on and on about the characters, they’re reasonably well fleshed out and they’re fun to get to know. I can go on about the jokes – there’s one a minute – ‘meet Yassir, he’s thin so the opposite of Yassir Ara’fat’’ and even Imaad’s hilarious password for his laptop. Or Jahan’s character descriptions – ‘she was one of those people who hated people but loved animals’. Or the whole ‘PLO : We want you’ ripoff of the Uncle Sam stuff. And the music is lovely, in one sequence Indian classical music is amazingly synched with a football game and in others it provides a little energy to the characters being shown. And, finally, the comic illustrations by Sarnath Banerjee were brilliant – the ones about the Russians, Kamal Siddhu and John Abraham will linger in memory for a while !

Its sweet, its funny, a little bittersweet in parts. As Boman Presswala says in a speech during the film, “these three boys had a crazy dream. Its good to be crazy sometimes and its always good to dream”. I have a feeling this crazy little film is Sooni Taraporevala’s dream and it made for an engaging watch on the big screen…


aanteladda said...

where do you find these films.looking forward to finding this one and seeing it..

Divya Prakash said...

Yesterday i found the CD of this movie although this was surprise as in Indore it's difficult to get the movies ..i was not sure about the movie ,so i did not buy it. I never thought that you've watched it and reviewed it nicely and after reading the description of characters , Now i'm surely going to buy this one.