Friday, April 10, 2009

Film Review-The Little Zizou


There was much anticipation about this film directed by Sooni Taraporevala who has been the screen-play writer of award winning movies such as Salaam Bombay and The Namesake. Secondly, the Hindi Film industry has too many talent Parsi actors and therefore this all Parsi film was expected to win hearts with its light humor. It does to a large extent.

The film is a story of a little boy Xerxes Khodaiji (Jahan Bativala) who is a motherless child and is called Zizou because of his admiration for the football star Zinedine Zidane who is nicknamed Zizou. Xerxes is the son of Cyrus Khodaiji (Sohrab Ardeshir) who calls himself the religious leader and healer of all sins of the Parsi community. Xerxes’s uncle Boman Presswalla (Boman Irani) is opposed to Cyrus Khodaiji and publicly announces his dislike. Xerxes has an elder brother Artaxerxes (Imaad Shah) finds peace in caricatures and love in Boman’s elder daughter Zenobia (Dilshad Patel) who however loves Arjun (John Abraham in a special appearance). Liana (Iyanah Bativala) the younger sister of Zenobia hates Xerxes as she thinks her own mom is fond of Xerxes than her.

Cyrus Khodaiji soon with the help of local politicians shuts down Boman’s press. Boman meanwhile suffers a heart attack and suddenly gets unexpected support from some of his community mates and Cyrus has to retreat.

The film takes a cue from whatever is happening in our country today and takes a pot shot at the religious fundamentalism in our society with the Parsi Community in the backdrop which gives the film an added dimension of depth. The mood of the film is lighthearted and subtle in approach. Boman Irani is superb and full of pep. The good humored and affable Cyrus Brocha and Kunal Vijaykar are amusing as well in their short appearances. Liana’s grandmother’s affection with her so-called Majestic hotel which actually is a dilipated sea-facing hotel is full of fun. As all the actors are Parsi’s, adapting the habits and mannerisms required in their roles comes easily. Always the name of the film is adopted from what the movie is based on. But amidst too much focus on the ways and behavior of the Parsi people, the focus on Zizou simply vanishes. The stunning Kamal Sidhu appears only at the end of the movie and doesn’t have much to do.

While Zizou visits neighboring Bangladesh and flies off to his own country without visiting India, Xerxes’s dream of meeting his hero doesn’t come true much to our disappointment. The audience expected much more from the director’s artistic touch but that was not to be.

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