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Rahul da Cunha: Parsi, present and future

So it’s been a Parsi festival dominated week — Pateti on Tuesday, Navroze on Wednesday and Kodad Saal tomorrow. The announcement last month that the Zarathustrian population had reduced alarmingly to 44,000, caused much consternation.

One senior gent, stating the obvious, wailed, “At one lakh, we were deemed a tribe, at this rate we will dwindle to a team. We will be ekdum extinct.”

A smart a** young ‘un said: “Also the Jiyo Parsi campaign that urged young Bawas to procreate more with young Bawis to produce baby Benaifers and Kaikobads… No improvement.”

A bright young dude piped up, “We need to start archiving the community. Make some films, that will remind generations that we are a community of some gravitas, let’s call the movement FRENI — Films to Remind Everyone of our Naural Immortality’
The community swung into action making feature films, left right and centre.

Just last Friday FRENI had two releases, the first was called Rustom, about a naval officer called Naval who disallows his daughter Katy to marry outside the community. The second is Mohenjo Daruwalla — a historical saga set in 712 BC, wherein a young Persian prince Maneck Daruwalla, lands in the Gujarati island of Sanjan, to discover his Parsi roots. He meets a princess called Nargis Fakhri.

The other exciting release, with Gujarati subtitles, was an action spy thriller Jason Bhonu — Jason Batiwalla is a CBIA agent. CBIA, an off shoot of CIA, stands for Cusrow Baug Investigative Agency.

Batiwalla comes to Mumbai searching for his father’s killer. The CBIA files indicate that his father choked on a chicken bone at a Navjote ceremony 20 years ago. However, an anonymous caller, named Tempton Patrawalla tells him that Jason Sr. was indeed at this Navjote, but the death was no accident — it was in the ‘second sitting’ that he was poisoned — his bottle of Dukes Raspberry was spiked. “Jason, one minute he was telling a non-veg joke, next minute his face was in the ‘patra nu macchi’.” The CBIA operative now has to find out if his father was murdered by the caterer or a cruel assassin.

Other releases this week are a remake of Ben-Hur called ‘Ben-Az’ with an all female cast. The climax has five ladies in a thrilling tonga race down Marine Drive.

The next big release being planned for 2017, is the blockbuster, ‘Lagaan nu Custard’. This is a cricket-meets-cordon-bleu movie. A sort of Master Blaster-cum-Master Chef. Two teams, one an Indian XI face a British XI — the challenge is who makes the perfect custard. The Bawa ‘lagan nu custard’ or the Brit ‘caramel custard’.

The other big release in the pipeline is Baug Marzban Baug, about a Parsi 400 metre Olympic runner who was caught in a scandal — injecting more dhansak into his system than is legally accepted. But he was allowed to board the Rio bound flight for telling the finest Parsi joke ever: ‘Nine out of 10 Parsis are mad. The tenth is a statue’.

Published on MidDay

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