For Parsis, By Parsis and Of Parsis

A stellar star cast, a celebrated screenwriter who turns director and some exciting promos convince you Little Zizou is worth a watch. If you’re like me and you grew up in a Parsi locality mesmerised by the dhansaks, gymkhanas and Agiaries, you will certainly be drawn to this film.

The film, largely performed by a Parsi cast, tells the story set within the confines of very real issues faced by the community. We see the stories through the eyes of young Xerxis Khodaiji, who is rather fascinated by the footballer Zidane, talks to his dead mother’s picture and observes the world with a humorous angle.

Be it his father who’s a spiritual healer or the father’s assistant or his father’s arch enemy Boman Pressvala , each character is very ‘Bawa’ and extremely quirky. But the plot is just so fickle that the characters are the only hope you’ve got. That just puts too much pressure on the characters. The story is very random. It doesn’t move for quite sometime and by the interval you give up hope of it ever moving.

That said, the film captures Parsi lifestyles impeccably, but why shouldn’t it everybody’s a Parsi in the film. The performances are awesome and Imaad Shah is fantastic.

Frankly, I enjoyed it the most because  of the familar locales of Dadar Parsi Colony and the little things that made me wonder what being Parsi was all about… So, I’d say watch ‘Little Zizou’ only if you’re a Parsi or have some connections to this adorably insane yet elegant species of people.

PS: Why is the film called ‘Little Zizou’ again, my daft brain didn’t quite catch that!

A Complicated Status

‘Did you check facebook? She’s now listed as single!’

‘Oh I want to know what their scene is. Apparently both of them changed their status to ‘in a relationship’ at the same effin time!’

‘So am I allowed to hit on him if his status message is ‘it’s complicated’?’

Yeah, the above statements are extremely common in most conversations. Facebook is the fastest way of documenting your life and making sure your friends know what really is up with you. It’s probably a good thing according to Ms. PiWi. ‘We knew this couple from college who were so into each other, we knew they’d make it. When I bumped into the guy recently, it was natural for me to ask him about how girl was doing. And he just said they broke up and it was so damn awkward!!’ Ms.PiWi is sure that had he changed his status on FB and had she seen it, this incident would have been avoided! 

Well the relationship status also comes as a life saver when you are fishing for a prospective boy/girlfriend. Says a keen observer, ‘My friend liked a guy at work, they flirted a lot and all until one day she googled him and found his profile on facebook. He was in a relationship and my friend just withdrew from all the flirting.’ Of course, there’s another question that remains unanswered by the relationship status on FB. If someone’s relationship status is ‘It’s complicated’, what does that mean? Is this person in a relationship or out? If they are making it public that it’s complicated have they broken up? If they haven’t said they are single, re they still into the person?

According to some that status comes up when you’re in a place where you’re unsure whether you want in or out of a relationship. Some said that it was that confused stage that comes right before you start or end a relationship.

Basically, it’s complicated when you and the concerned person hit troubled waters. My take is, if your relationship is in trouble, you stay in and work it out or you opt out and choose not to work it out. I can’t understand why there’s the need to have that grey area. Anyway, a relationship status is something meant for the external world, so what are you conveying by putting the trouble in your love life out there, open to public? “I’ve never specified my status on Facebook. I don’t think it’s the kind of information I’d like to give out to all and sundry,” says AB. However, he thinks that people might change their status to ‘It’s complicated’ just to let people know that they are not comfortable talking about their relationship.  

The awkwardness could be because of trouble or uncertainty, that varies case to case. 

It’s not just trouble. It could be lack of clarity, problems that come with long distance, confusion about your or the partners’ feelings, a big decision looming or anything!’ says Mr. Bachna Ae Haseeno, who so far has been brining to my notice a fresh perspective on facebook relationship statuses. He further explains, ‘Assuming the person is a regular on facebook, you need to understand how often their relationship status changes. If it changes a bit too often, assume it is purely for attention.’ That makes me wonder, is putting your relationship status out there every time there’s a minor shift in the dynamics of your relationship just a ploy to get more attention from your partner or friends?

‘I have changed my status for the fun of it and nobody but my close friends gave a shit about it,’ says Mr.Shady. I myself have seen people suddenly ‘married’ or ‘in a relationship’ for the fun of it and I don’t bother commenting, so I understand Shady’s take on it. But Kris thinks a change in a relationship status creates too much chaos. He was in a complicated place for a year but didn’t bother budging from single to avoid the drama. I agree, the last thing you need in addition to your complications are dramatic responses to your status change.

Moral of the story: Think before you take the leap, but think thrice before you change your status.

Drowned In Gulaal!

The timing of Gulaal’s release is just fantastic. Right after Holi and just before elections. Gulaal tells the story of a nobody, Dileep Singh. This nobody is a colourless, passionless character who is a student who looks like a professor. He’s straightforward and never challenges things that happen to him. He takes to the shadows of Rananjay Singh, a hot blood youth who doesn’t fear challenges- a ‘true’ Rajput. As Rananjay steps in to contest for the post of GS, the college turns into a battle field. In the fight for the post, two candidates put everything at stake. It is this fight for power that starts adding colour to our straightforward protagonist.

Gulaal’s story is multi layered and it unfolds itself. But the beauty is in the characters. Every character is complex and alive and it is through them that the story unfolds. The characters create the story and vice-versa, a give and take one rarely sees in Indian cinema. Kashyap’s Gulaal uses characters as a form of telling the story but his characters are also metaphors and symbols. Be it the John Lennon that hangs in Prithvibana’s neck or the dancer/beautician’s obsession with herself, or the Kiran who silently plucks the strings on her guitar as her brother decides the course of her life. Kashyap uses music, lyrics and musical metaphors brilliantly. Of course the neon signs and the psychedelic paintings at Dileep’s residence remind us of Dev D.

When Mr. Kashyap says this is his angriest film till date, you believe it. He uses every possible metaphor to bring out the anger, frustration and disappointment that he feels against the establishment or the system in which people become an establishment. The rendition of ‘Yeh Duniya Agar’ from Pyasa just takes this entire symphony to a climax, where you soak in the anger and you watch it helpless swallow and digest all that comes in its way. It takes me back to the original song, where Guru Dutt dies in a stampede at a function held in his honour and nobody recognises him. And here, we have Dileep, who wonders if he recognises himself as he walks down a street, wounded. It’s a similar ethos, but brilliantly executed in the context of Gulaal.

It depressed me to see an empty theatre on day 4 of this fabulous film. It didn’t deserve an empty theatre, I clapped after the film, for films like these need to be made. Films that use reality to tell a fictional story that is ever so cleverly crafted needs to be seen and appreciated. Overheard after the movie: Dude, Bhojpuri films are not as bad as they’re made out to be. This one was serious and all that! Right! I’m glad the theatre wasn’t as empty as this woman’s brain.

Cheers, Mr. Kashyap!

Cycle Allowed Nai Hai! WTF

I have been a High Street Phoenix loyalist forever. Shopping, eating, timepassing was all done there. And when PVR opened there, despite the high price, I started watching movies there. The fact that it’s a 10 minute drive from my office was cherry on the cake. But not anymore.

I love the environment and my body as much as I Love shopping and watching movies. I cycle to work every day and yesterday, I was stopped by the guard at High Street Phoenix. ‘cycle allowed nahi hai!’
I mean what? If you don’t allow two wheelers, I can understand, but if you allow motorcycles and scooters, you must by all means allow cycles. Why discrimination? I am waiting to get in touch with the managers at High Street Phoenix to find out why this discrimination!

I will give up High street Phoenix but not my cycle. There.

Women’s Day Followed by Barbie Day!

Yesterday was International Women’s Day (8th march) and quite a few people wondered what the relevance was. But that’s not what this post is about. You can read about the origins of International Women’s Day right here.

In short, on this day we remember the women who stood up against oppression, fought for their rights. It’s a day you acknowledge the contribution of these women to the freedom we enjoy today. And yes, one mustn’t dwell in the past too long and therefore, we must also celebrate and encourage the dreams of the modern woman.

I received a long list of SMSs wishing me ‘Happy Women’s Day’ because the message told them, ‘pass this along to every beautiful woman you know.’ To me this is pointless. I haven’t done enough to be celebrated on this day, in fact, I want to do something and say thank you to women like Savitree Phule and Iravati Karve who made sure women in India got a right to education. It is thanks to these women that I can dare to go out there, support myself and look the world in the eye.

So anyway, this whole Hallmarkisation of women’s day was kinda getting on my nerves. Newspapers carried guest columns by women, and yes some of these women were actually women of substance but many of these were socialites, industrialists’ wives. The modern day Indian woman who struggles with a career, home and social pressures got a rare mention.  Her struggle continues, whether or not its 8th of March.
She is given the education and the liberty to work, but time and again she’s also reminded that her responsibilities towards the family are greater. Where does this start?

A small girl proudly displays her ‘bhatukli’, Marathi for toy kitchen sets. She makes her first cup of imaginary tea, and she’s praised. She starts to make believe she’s cooking and serving, and she starts enjoying the process.
Speaking of play, another thing that subconsciously reinstates a woman’s role in her life to come is a doll. The doll, very often brings out a maternal side of the child. They care for it, they dress them up, they cook imaginary food to feed the doll.

I couldn’t help but wonder. In play do we start defining her role for her? That said, seeing one of my toddler friends take keen interest in ‘bhatukli’ despite being boy, made me feel awesome. I relished the tea he served me. So what if it was imaginary, we have a dream!
Being a total tomboy, I rarely played with my tea-set and almost always beheaded my Barbies. But I still enjoy cooking (occasionally :P) and can tackle kids much better than many people my age. So I’m not saying playing with dolls or playing bhatukli make you a better home maker or anything. I’m just wondering if the fact that Barbie’s birthday falls the day after women’s day symbolizes something. What do you think?