Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Movies Seen: The President is Coming, Little Zizou

A 2009 satire directed by Kunaal Roy Kapur (his directorial debut) and shot in documentary style. The U.S President is coming to India, and 6 young Indians from different backgrounds have been shortlisted for a competition that will see one of them shake hands with the head of state. As they're put through the rounds, we get a look at at not just their quirks and faults, but their reasons for being there.

Fellow ex-Andrian Anand Tiwari plays money-obsessed Gujju stockbroker Kapil Dev. You might remember him from the Tata Tea Jaago Re campaign. Konkona Sen Sharma plays a very unique Bengali writer/social worker. Namit Das plays the closet homosexual IT guy. Vivek Gomber plays a US-returned accent coach. Ira Dubey (from Chicks on Flicks) plays a rich airhead. Satchit Puranik plays a Maratha traditionalist. Shivani Tanksale and Sherrnaz Patel play PR reps in charge of the competition.

The movie is fun and light. Not a perfect movie, but funny in many many parts. I particularly like that the documentary style narrative is regularly broken up by animation showing the contestants on a  race track. Yes, there are unrealistic parts, but the unique characters with their typical Indianisms kind of make up for that.

A 2009 English, Gujarati & Hindi film directed by Sooni Taraporevala (her directorial debut too), about the relationships between 2 Parsi families in Mumbai. 

Xerxes, or little Zizou, is a football-crazy boy. His older brother Art, a school dropout and artist. Their father Khodaiji is some kind of new-fangled Parsi spiritualist/evangelist, harking back to tradition and advocating the creation of a Parsi army. Then there's the Pressvalas - Boman, who takes pot shots at Khodaiji through his newspaper, his wife and two daughters. The wife looks after Zizou, much to the younger daughter's chagrin, while Art has a crush on the older daughter, who likes someone else. And through all this conflict, we manage to find resolve, closure and a happy ending.

Warm, homely and beautiful. Again, not a perfect movie, you're not sure where the story is going at times, but you don't seem to care, which is why this is highly recommended. The acting seems natural. Boman Irani doesn't disappoint. Watch out for cameos by John Abraham, Kamal Sidhu, Cyrus Broacha & Kunal Vijaykar.


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