Written and Directed by Sooni Taraporevala
I cannot forget my days in the Dadar Parsee Youths Assembly High School. Apart from the great school that it was, the beauty of its locality, the Five Gardens is something beyond expression.
Five gardens are not the world’s most beautiful garden, nor are they peaceful with the plenty traffic, pollution and kissing couples all around. Obviously the chaat walas, the horse carts and the toy wala, everyone coexist in harmony and not so harmony at Five Gardens; a place which bears testimony to the history of one of the great communities in India; the Parsees. The Five Gardens is one of the few places in Mumbai where you will find a dominant Zoroastrian population. The Parsees are few in number and mostly the other communities often fail to relate themselves with the Parsees. A major reason to that also is a closed policy of the Parsees. They do not endorse mixed marriages and the right to the entry to their worship place (Agyari) is chopped down even if you are a Parsee and have married a non Parsee. All this makes the community shrink in size and conditions have reached such a horrible extent that in some cases just for the sake of protecting the community to community relation, often closely related cousins marry each other which has led to many biological problems amongst the community.
Coming to the movie, we are talking about Xerxes, played with outstanding maturity by Jahan Bativala, the new child artiste on the block. His elder bro Artaxerxes (Imaad Shah) is into his own weird world of making sketches and is working on a “Flight Simulator” along with two more engineers. Apart from that he runs a very interesting blog. They do not have a mother. Their father is a religious fanatic; who in the name of “blessing does boob pressing” amongst the many other inhuman things he does. Artaxerxes compares him to Idi Amin (the cannibal Uganda president) and Atilla the Hun (leader of the barbaric Hun tribe). Boman Irani is a neighbor who knows this person’s shady ways and wants to expose him through a modest newspaper he runs. With few more characters and a lot of depth to each of them, Little Zizou pulls out a very sensitive tale which makes you laugh, cry and most importantly learn.
More publicized as an All-Parsee film, Little Zizou surely does deal with the life of only this community but the way it has captured the slightest of dynamics of all age groups and lifestyles of the community makes it so human that any other community can relate to it and think of society and its problems in general. Bickram Ghosh, one of my favorite musicians, did not really work hard on the background score. He just pulled of few scores from his superhit Rythym Scape and used them here. More interesting were the ethnic oldies sung in normal voice by Boman Irani with his impeccable dancing. Few know that Boman is a brilliant dancer and has been training Imaad post Little Zizou.
Little Zizou mostly deals with the shady ways of the people in power exploiting religious sentiments. Power and religion often form the perfect cocktail for the con dividers and hence have been heavily mixed from centuries. This small little movie, with a very fresh approach tells you a lot about this cocktail.