Oorvazi Irani’s The Path Of Zarathustra gets a release this Friday, thanks to the undying efforts of the team and great support by PVR Director’s Rare to back another indie film. The film focuses on the dwindling state of the Parsi community in India, definitely a rare issue touched and raised by its makers. Produced by SBI Impresario, a company owned by Oorvazi’s father, the film has minimal budgets and thus, no real buzz in the market out there. Yet, it has managed to secure around 4 odd screens in Mumbai and is also releasing in other important cities (Delhi,Pune, Ahmedabad, Bangalore). The Path Of Zarathustra is a well-intentioned film no doubt, focusing on a community that the Industry has only used for caricatures, but despite being sensitive to our times, it ends up being a little misfired in its own right.
The films centers around Oorvazi (played by Irani herself), a young woman born in the faith of Zoroastrianism, who sets out on a journey from a remote village post her grandfather’s (Tom Alter) death. Her grandfather hands over a book to her, the contents of which are unknown, but once read by the right person, they are supposed to reveal the truth behind the preachings of the prophet, Zarathustra. As she goes along, she falls in love (once again) with Perseus (Rushad Rana),her cousin and gets visions of people who were executed in the past due to their radical thoughts about the faith and religion. The film takes a philosophical route to expose the historical growth of the religion and places Oorvazi at its centerpiece to create exposition. Irani uses a largely mundane voice over ridden approach to explain a lot of things to the uninitiated but it is her direction that falls a bit short in creating the right amount of drama to hook you on, coupled with her below par performance. Recently, a film like Ship Of Theseus had similar undertones when it questioned the philosophy of religion and life, but contrary to SOT, The Path Of Zarathustra struggles to hold your interest.
However, there are some things to rave about here as well. The film has its heart at the right place and dives into the issue straight up, doling out enough details for anyone to catch on. It also explains the reasons behind the diminishing of the community and offers possible solutions for the same. Towards the end, the film’s climax does talk effectively of a school of thought that most other religions propagate and is the right way for any race. The film has been splendidly shot by Subhadeep Dey, capturing the best of frames at the best of locations. The film’s music by Vasuda Sharma is a let down while Farrukh Dhondy’s screenplay could have done with dialogues which ring more true with real people. One must applaud the brilliant production design of the film and despite minimal resources, Irani and her crew have mounted the film pretty well.
On the whole, The Path Of Zarathustra is a little mixed bag of a film, albeit highly topical and relevant. The film has a limited release and one can hope that the word goes out and people come out to fill those screens. The film itself is not the best it could have been but then, how often do we get a film that talks about a community that is majorly ignored? With a runtime of about 79 minutes, it wont hurt you to catch it sometime this weekend.
Rating – 2.5/5