Film: “The Path of Zarathustra”; Language: English; Cast: Oorvazi Irani, Tom Alter, Rushad Rana, Shishir Sharma, Darius Shroff, Firdausi Jussawalla and Vivek Tandon; Director: Oorvazi Irani; Rating: **1/2
The Parsis have always been an intriguing lot universally and director Oorvazi Irani’s “The Path of Zarathustra” is a well-meaning mystical docudrama that gives a brief insight into the community’s faith, religion and their lost identity.
The first frame of this film is very unique. It begins with a reflection of the water in a well which creates ripples. And what follows will surely create waves. Slow, philosophical, weighty and contemplative, this is a reflective film.
Wrapped with personal issues that include romance, the film is the story of Oorvazi. It is her quest in understanding and deciphering her religion.
It speaks about; the dwindling race – who are “The last of the first believers of the single god”, their idiosyncrasies in preserving their purity and gives a solution to their problems.
After the death of her “Mamavaji” maternal grandfather, Oorvazi inherits a book from him. The book she is told, has all the answers that she is seeking. But to get the answers she has to leave her secluded life in the remote homeland and travel to the city where her aunt, “Sheramasi” and cousin Perseus live.
Here she meets a number of people and she is often reminded, “Message to the keeper of the book someone will interpret it for you”. As the layers of her curiosity unravel, she states that, she “observed the foolish and spoke to the wise”.
With paper-thin, flat characters which seem perfunctory, the performances seem theatrical. Tom Alter as Mamavaji, the director Oorvazi as Oorvazi, Rushad Rana as Perseus, Shishir Sharma as Zurvan and Darius Shroff as the Intellectual and Mazdak though natural, their act seems exaggerated and staged.
Drama seems to be flowing through the narrative script written by the London-based Farrukh Dhondy. Most of the scenes are slow paced yet dramatic. The expositions are verbose and preachy with voice-overs and dialogues like; “Looking for the answer is the answer”, “There is no belief without believers”, “There is no present and history passes into our blood” and “Our choices are our final prophecy”.
But, as every scene meanders, the film is a visual delight. There is a meaning in the composition of Subhadeep Dey’s cinematography. With white, golden and grey hues, light and its rays are used effectively to create a mystical aura in every frame.
Tushar Ghogale’s fine editing of the visuals and layering it with the soothing background score created by Vasuda Sharma elevates the viewing experience.
Overall, the film is path breaking in its own way and worth a watch.