'Little Zizou' - a comic insight into the world of Parsis (preview)

New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) After penning award-winning scripts like "Salaam Bombay!", "Mississippi Masala" and "The Namesake", writer-photographer Sooni Taraporewala has donned the director's hat for her self-written maiden venture "Little Zizou" - a rib tickling take on the Parsi community.

"Parsis have a culture just like anybody else. I chose to set my debut film within the Parsi world because it is so fascinating and so rarely seen," Taraporewala told IANS in an e-mail interview from Mumbai.

"It is a world I am very close to, I am very familiar with and I am confident about depicting accurately," she added.

Produced by Dinaz Stafford, Vandana Malik and Taraporewala herself, the film stars Boman Irani, Sohrab Ardeshir, Imaad Shah, child actor Jahan Bativala in an ensemble line-up of 34 actors, most of whom are Parsis.

Bollywood actor John Abraham also makes a cameo in the film.

Releasing Friday (March 13), the 101-minute film is a Hindi, Gujarati and English amalgamation and has already done the festival circuit and won acclaim in the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council (MIAAC) Film Festival, New York, the Asian Festival of First Films, Singapore, to name a few.

Set in Mumbai, "Little Zizou" is a comedy about two Parsi families in conflict - one headed by a religious hypocrite Khodaji (Sohrab) and the other by a reforming journalist Pressvala (Boman).

The story is told by Khodaji's 11-year-old football-crazy son Xerxes or Little Zizou (Jahan), as he is fondly called, who wants his dead mother to bring the legendary French footballer Zinedine Zidane (Zizou) to Mumbai.

His older brother Artaxerxes or Art (Imaad) is a starry-eyed cartoonist with wild fantasies that come to life in surprising ways.

The brothers love to hang out at Pressvala's place, the publisher of a liberal community newspaper and their father's archrival.

Art burns with unrequited love for Pressvala's oldest daughter, while Xerxes incurs the wrath of the younger daughter, who resents the attention her family showers on the motherless kid.

Fireworks fly when Pressvala writes a biting critique of would-be prophet Khodaji that gathers wide public reaction.

As the two households intermingle, what unfolds next is hilarious.

Considering Taraporewala's previous record and her forte at offbeat subjects, the film might not appeal to the mass audience but could offer a pep pill for niche viewers.

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