Filmmaker Oorvazi Irani describes her upcoming film, The Path of Zarathustra, as one which probes the Parsi identity in today’s day and age, where its numbers are fast dwindling. With just 1,50,000 Parsis living in the word today (a little over 60,000 of them in India itself), the film’s protagonist (played by Oorvazi) sets on a quest to discover the dispensation of her ancestors, which preceded and perhaps also influenced faiths like Islam and Christianity.
The director, who is Parsi herself, says, “We are a small community but in a way this film tries to show that the problems faced by us are universal. Like surviving in developed countries without letting go of our past, at the same time now more Parsis are marrying outside their community and there is also a section of the people who are quite radical about how they observe their faith.”
Oorvazi insists that her film is not about Parsi characters but Zoroastrianism, which led to their existence. She is also visibly dismayed that Mumbai being home to many of the country’s Parsis, the Indian film industry often resorts to stereotypes while introducing them as characters. Or worse still, there is no space for them at all.
“I understand that although the film is a creative medium, it is still a business proposition for many who have invested in the project. There is a notion that if a film is made about a lesser known subject it won’t do well. But I firmly believe, any film which has an interesting script and authentically depicts the origin of its characters is bound to do well,” she adds.
Oorvazi, also an acting coach, and an entrepreneur decided to also essay the role of the central character as it would be an artistic extension to her involvement in the film which she has also produced.
She says, “Having a female protagonist helped me treat the already dynamic script (written by veteran author Farrukh Dhondy) with a certain kind of softness. There is also a feminist element to it. An international critic who has seen the film commented that it is not apologetic about having a woman as the central character which was one of my key intentions while delivering on this project. A woman today, is at par with a man in every aspect, so she can also be an automatic first choice for a lead in a movie.”
The Path of Zarathustra, which explores the humanistic aspect in Zoroastrianism, wants to urge its viewers to keep the flame (within them) alive. Oorvazi too, practices what she preaches and she envisions a future which pushes her creative acumen forward, so as to teach, act, and hopefully direct many more films which she feels could connect with the audience, at a deeper and spiritual level.
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