In Little Zizou, a delightful comedy set in Mumbai, acclaimed scriptwriter Sooni Taraporevala [The Namesake, Salaam Bombay! for Mira Nair] tells the story of two Parsi families in conflict: one headed by a religious bigot Khodaiji, the other by a reforming journalist.
It is told by Xerxes [Little Zizou, played by Sooni's son Jahan Batvala] an 11-year-old football-crazy Parsi boy who prays his long-dead mother will bring legendary French footballer Zinedine Zidane [Zizou] to Mumbai.
His brother and he loves to hang out at the home of their father's archrival, Pressvala, the publisher of a liberal community newspaper. There Zizou finds a rival -- Liana [Sooni's daughter Iyanah Bativala] a girl of his own age who resents her mother giving him attention and love.
When Pressvala [Boman Irani] slams the self-appointed prophet Khodaiji, there is public anger against the latter. But Perssvala is also in trouble -- his ailing newspaper is on the brink of closure.
Little Zizou, which is presented by Mira Nair, opens on March 13. Sooni spoke to Arthur J Pais about the film and more.
Little Zizou has been shown at a number of film festivals. Can you share some of the interesting things you have heard from the audience?
During the Q and A at the Museum of Modern Art [MOMA] in New York, Konkona Sen Sharma asked me: 'Where did you find the children?'
I said, 'they are mine...'
An audience member asked Jahan what it was like to be directed by his mother. He said, 'It was great. She was much kinder on set than she is at home.'
The children enjoyed interacting with the audiences. One person asked Iyanah, 'How did you make all those faces at Little Zizou?' She did not hesitate a bit and said: 'Not a problem. It came naturally.'
In the picture: Sooni Taraporevala | Photograph: Farrokh Chothia