John Abraham was always meant to be in my film: Sooni Taraporewala

March 13th, 2009 - 3:27 pm ICT by Sampurn Wire  

Harvard educated Sooni Taraporewala who has written scripts of acclaimed films such as Salaam Bombay and The Namesake amongst few more is turning director with Little Zizou. Here is talking to her about her directorial debut venture -

About turning director: I didn’t always want to be a director. The first film I wrote was 20 years ago. So if I wanted to direct, I wouldn’t have waited so long. It just happened by chance. When I was writing this story, I could relate to the subject, the characters, the setting very closely. So I thought I would keep this script for myself and started writing the story keeping myself as a director in mind.

Directing one’s own script: I can’t say whether it is easier directing one’s own script. I feel it depends on person to person. There is no blanket rule as such. It depends on your rapport with the director. But for this particular script, I strongly believe I am the best director.

Little Zizou: I do not follow an outline or a blueprint while writing films. It always starts with the germ of an idea. For years I have been witness to the battle between the Parsi fundamentalists and the liberals. I have tried to capture that in my film. Little Zizou is a comedy film throughout and I have tried to address the Parsi internal conflict on a lighter note. But it’s also not a sports film. Just that Zizou loves to play football in the film. He is a motherless child and believes that his mother is an angel helping her from above. His keen wish is that his idol, the world famous football player Zinedine Zidane visits Mumbai.

Parsi setting: I won’t deny I was in my comfort zone my selecting a Parsi setting. At the same time I feel, the world hasn’t seen much of the Parsi community onscreen. As a Parsi, I felt I could best represent the Parsi community and its concerns.

An all Parsi cast: I think that would add conviction to the characters. But then you also have Imaad Shah who is not a Parsi and playing one in the film. His father Naseeruddin Shah has been known as the only popular Parsi face of Hindi cinema. So it was interesting to direct him in a Parsi role.

Child actor as the main protagonist: I think a child protagonist is my USP. I am pretty decent at delving into a kid’s psyche. I enjoy writing about children perhaps because I haven’t grown up myself.

Child or an adult: I wouldn’t be the right person to answer that. I have directed my own kids (Jahan and Iyanah Batiwala) in Little Zizou so it was easier for me. I faced no problems at all. We improvised a lot on shoot and it was a wonderful experience.

John Abraham’s cameo: He has not been added to the cast for commercial viability of the project. His character was always there in the script from the start and it was very sweet of John to do the film.

Mira Nair’s response: Mira Nair is the presenter of Little Zizou and was associated with the project from day one. She has been of great support and has loved the film. I would also take this opportunity to make a special mention of my partner Dina Stafford and my crew, who most people overlook. They have added a lot of love to this sweet little film.

What next: I have always been unplanned in life. So let’s see where life takes… -Sampurn Media

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