PARZANIA, directed by Rahul Dholakia, affects you. Not only does the film unfold the Godhra riots and aftermath on screen, it also narrates the heart-rending story of a Parsi family and how it loses its 10-year-old kid to the riots. The message is clear: The common man is most affected when catastrophe strikes!
The wounds may have begun to heal, but the atrocities leave behind scars that are difficult to conceal. PARZANIA doesn't talk of politicians or the reasons that triggered off the riots. It tells you of a family whose lives go topsy-turvy during the riots.
Allan [Corin Nemec], an American, arrives in Ahmedabad searching for answers, praying to find internal peace and understand the world and his troubled life. Allan has chosen India as his school and Gandhi as his subject. It's here that he meets Cyrus and his loving family.
Cyrus [Naseeruddin Shah] lives with his wife Shernaz [Sarika], son Parzan [Parzan Dastur] and daughter Dilshad [Pearl Barsiwala]. Communal riots break out in the city and the Hindus target this housing colony. In the midst of terror and violence, Parzan disappears. The heart-broken family begins their search for Parzan.
PARZANIA packs in a solid punch in those two hours. The story actually takes off when hundreds of Hindus attack the colony. The helpless residents find themselves in a quandary. From this point onwards, right till the finale, PARZANIA has the power to keep you glued to the proceedings.
Sure, the pace drops in the second hour, when Cyrus and Shernaz begin their frantic search for the missing kid, but the narrative reaches its crescendo during the concluding reels [people testifying before the Commission]. It wouldn't be erroneous to state that the penultimate twenty minutes are the highpoint of the film, especially Sarika's statement to the Commission.
Director Rahul Dholakia has handled the subject material with utmost sensitivity. Also, he has extracted topnotch performances from every member of the cast. Cinematography is of standard. The riot portions [Sham Kaushal] are expertly handled.
Naseer is brilliant in a role that seems right for him, but it's Sarika who outshines everyone. Natural to the core, she displays anguish and sorrow with amazing maturity. The two kids are alright, although the girl gets more scope. Corin Nemec does a fine job. Raj Zutshi makes his presence felt. The actress enacting the role of Nikhat [who's saved by a Hindu] is tremendous.
On the whole, PARZANIA is a well-made film that's targeted at viewers of serious cinema.
Rating:- * * * [critique].