What is the movie about?
Cyrus Pithawala (Nasseruddin Shah), a Parsi film projectionist befriends Allan (Corin Nemec) an American on a downward spiral, who is in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, to complete his PhD on Gandhi. Allan becomes witness to the disintegration of the Pithawala family, when Hindu mobs go on a premeditated rampage to kill Muslims in the city. Cyrus' wife, Shernaz (Sarika) escapes with their daughter Dilshad, but gets separated in the melee, from their 10-year old son, Parzan. Cyrus searches futilely for him and finally takes solace in spirituality. Shernaz testifies at the Human Rights Commission hearing, voicing the helpless of being pitted against a blood-thirsty mob even as the police plays mute spectator. She laments not knowing what happened to Parzan and the tragedy of Dilshad being forever emotionally scarred by the violence.
Who is it by?
Parzania was directed by Rahul Dholakia who went on to win the Golden Lotus National Award for Best Director in 2005 for Parzania. Dholakia has been accused of being anti-Hindu, choosing to depict only the carnage by the Hindu mobs, without depicting the violence that the Muslim mobs unleashed. Dholakia went on to face immense difficulties in having the film released in Gujarat.
Sarika, who plays Shernaz Pithawala won the Silver Lotus Best Actress award 2005.
Why should I watch it?
Parzania depicts the psyche of terror. It is based on the true story of a boy called Azhar who has been missing from his Gulbarg Society residence, after a massacre on February 28, 2002, much like what is depicted in the film. The scenes before the carnage are of an idyllic cocooned life. The scenes of the carnage and after focus on the fear, nausea and ultimately, the courage of the victims to carry on.
An edited version of the article was published in Culturama's July 2012 Issue.