Interview with SOONI TARAPOREVALA- Director of LITTLE ZIZOU
Posted by Vivek on November 23, 2008 | 2 Comment
Q) What does it feel like to wear the Directors cap, after donning the Writer’s one for a while?
A) I just joke that I am a 50 year old debutante. I just wanted to try something new and it has been a very good journey directing. I had a wonderful cast and a wonderful crew and a wonderful producer, financiers. I know this sounds mushy, but it was a dream experience for me.
Q) Even the actor cast is made up, primarily of Parsis? What’s the film about?
A) It’s set in contemporary Mumbai, a comedy, but with a serious issue in it’s heart, what is happening to community around the world, the battle between the narrow minded fundamental mindset and the more rational, open mind, that’s the basic issue, but in a comic way. And the story is about two families, one headed by a cartoonish, religious, bigot and the other by a community newspaper publisher and editor. That’s the plot, but there are a lot of other things, there are kids, there are teenagers and the story is told from the point of view of two brothers, one played by Jahan Bativala- little Zizou, and the elder brother played by Imad Shah.
Q) Other than being a Parsi yourself, what prompted you to pick up the subject that you did write and what are the challenges that you faced?
A) I think the subject kind of picked me. For approximately twenty years I’ve been writing scripts commissioned by others and this one was written for me, by me and the subject just appeared suddenly and I wrote the first draft in ten days. It is very organic (the subject) to me. I wrote with many of the cast already in mind, as the script was being completed.
Q) It seems, from the story line, that the film will appeal to both the RI’s and the NRI’s. Your view’s on that?
A) Yes to both, the RI’s and the NRI’s and also people who have nothing to do with India, so hopefully it will transcend, all cultures and people.
Q) A little bit about your journey to where you are now?
A) It’s been an amazing journey that I could never have predicted. I fell into screenwriting by chance. From getting into Harvard, to becoming a screenwriter, to meeting Mira Nair, writing Salaam Bombay…a lot of these things happened to me because of luck and I feel very lucky and I count my blessings.
Q) When is this film going to release commercially?
A) It is going to release in India in March and for the rest of the world we are still looking for distribution and that is what we are working on now. But we do have a website which is http://www.littlezizouthemovie.com/ which has all the information. Everything to do with the film is on the website. It is a fun website.
SHORT INTERVIEW WITH DINAZ STAFFORD- THE PRODUCER OF THE FILM
Q) What motivated you to produce this film…this kind of cinema? Also congratulations on making this kind of film, in the midst of the regular onslaught of Bollywood films that we do get.
A) Actually a core a group of us have been working together for the last 20 years, Sooni, Mira and me…since Salaam Bombay. I was a child psychologist to begin with, then became a part of Salaam Bombay, became one of Mira’s associates, then associate producer for Namesake. We believe in telling good stories, it was a natural progression to want to direct for Sooni. When she expressed a desire to direct a film for the first time, I said to her “we will help you make it, I will produce it.” Mira presented the film and that gave us the exposure, which her name brings. The name of our production company is Jigri Dost Productions. The story is something unique, whacky, good fun and as Sooni rightly after 20 years of writing and coming out with hard hitting films, this is an all out feel good film, which is really funny, but does address an issue.
Q) Does this one have songs? How long is it? And in which language?
A) It is 102 minutes, so good for the multiplex audience. It’s got English, Gujrati, Hindi, Marathi….it’s in the natural language of how it’s spoken in Mumbai. We have a brilliant soundtrack by Bickram Ghosh and we have a song sung by the famous Gary Lawyer of Mumbai. He’s (Gary) also in the film, a guest appearance, he sings a song with Boman Irani, so truly a film out of the mould, every mould, truly unique.