Children movies and child actors have previously managed to make an impact in the industry and with audiences. Taare Zameen Par is a masterpiece of an example which has been preceded by Blue Umbrella, Makdee and the classic Mr India. Of course, animated Hindi movies are a complete rage with the entire population, my favorite being Bal Ganesh. Anyhow, this year Little Zizou is the first child movie in the offering. The movie has been viewed at a number of film festivals and has been greeted by lots of laughs in the audiences. Sooni Taraporewala has written some of Mira Nair’s most acclaimed movies including Salaam Bombay! and Mississippi Masala. This time round, Taraporewala has put on the directorial cap to create a laughing riot as her debut film. Belonging to the Parsi community, she managed to write the story in 10 days flat. Read on to see if Little Zizou manages to create any pizzazz or falls flat to the ground.
Xerxes (Jahan Batlivala) is a motherless boy who grows up in a predominantly Parsi neighborhood in the busy city of Mumbai. Just like any other child his age, the young boy has dreams and aspirations. Xerxes’ fantasy is to meet his favorite football player Zinedine Zidane, whose name has been “remixed” to give him, and the film, the nickname: Zizou. In true Hindustani style, he believes his mother is watching over him from above and will eventually grant his wish. He is joined by his brother Artaxerxes (Imaad Shah) who is indulging in young romance with his neighbor Zenobia (Dilshad Patel) and helps his odd friends, who are in the midst of creating a time machine. Add to the brothers a little sister Liana (Iyanah Batlivala) and the trio is complete. While she hates Xerxes to the T, she loves stray dogs in crazy amounts. The children’s father, Cyrus II Khodaiji (Sohrab Ardeshir), is the local Parsi healer who is out to disturb communal peace. In complete opposition, Boman Presswala (Boman Irani), is out to expose his hidden agenda through his newspaper (Yes, the Presswala has a newspaper), Rustom-e-Sohrab. Through this controversy, old relationships are broken, secrets exposed and new bonds are formed. John Abraham and Cyrus Broacha add to the Parsi-ness of the film in prominent cameos.
As a Parsi director Taraporewala succeeds and how. Not a lot is known about the Parsi’s but Taraporewala goes ahead to poke fun at her own community in the most nonchalant of ways. A born and bred Parsi herself, this makes it completely legitimate and allowed. She uses clich