Director: Rahul Dholakia
Cast: Naseerudin Shah, Sarika, Parzan Dastur
Sitting far away from the riots that occurred in Gujarat, one could only imagine the plight of the people there. Parzania (a true story) gives us the opportunity to witness it first hand on the silver screen.
Parzania tags on the story of a distressed Parsi family caught in the middle of a generated communal conflict between the Hindus and Muslims (the Gujarat riots of 2002).
Parzan (Parzan Dastur), the son of Cyrus (Naseeruddin Shah) and Shernaz (Sarika) is separated from his family when a mob of Hindu fanatics begin burning the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“chawlÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ they live in. With people being slaughtered and torched everywhere, they dart to save their lives. Realising that their son is missing, the search to find him begins. With the police not cooperating and hostility in the area, Cyrus and Shernaz are on the verge of breakdown with nothing to look forward to except for their little daughter, who desires nothing more than her brother to return so she can tie him a rakhi.
Cyrus goes to the extreme of fasting and abstains from sleep, praying for the return of his only son. The commission, reviewing the negligence of the police during the riots, questions the individuals in the area, when a shattered Shernaz accuses the government for the loss of her son.
Each passing day they pray for the return of Parzan, but he still is nowhere to be found.
The film throughout is narrated by Allan (Corin Nemec), who has come to India to study the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“GandhianÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ ideology and sees the religious discord first hand. This interesting form of narrative gives the viewer a third personÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s perspective, enhancing the experience further.
What however is distressing is the fact that this beautiful and heartbreaking film will not get the kind of response it deserves. Emotions will take a backseat for song and dance. Watching the film you are only left with the feeling of hate towards the fanatics who think violence is the answer to every problem, hate towards the politicians who to secure vote banks, take no action and furthermore hate towards the police force who swear to protect but fail to do so.
The performances by all the actors can be described as nothing more than heartfelt. Even minor things like the slapdash camerawork take a sabbatical for a larger, more beautiful reason, that of waking us up to see that it is not only about the riots or Parzan but moreover it is about showcasing what we are heading towards.
What creates the mood for the film apart from the acting is Zakir Hussain and Taufiq QureshiÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s music, which is soulful and strikes a chord of pain.
This movie is a fine Indian example of a neorealist film, that showcases real life but through the sliver screen medium. References of making us conscious that we, as an audience, are viewing a film is seen everywhere right from the obvious, that of Naseerudin Shah working in a theatre to burning film posters of Kabhie Khushi Kahbi Gham. (In one scene there is even a Raj Kapoor film poster with ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Neo realist filmÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ on it).
Parzania is a remarkable and stirring film that leaves you with a teary eye and softened heart.