Legend has it that when the Parsis arrived on the shores of Gujarat sometime between the 8th and 10th century, they promised the local King Jadhav Rana that they would sweeten the Indian community as sugar sweetens milk. Qissa-e Parsi explores the history of the Parsi community, and its journey to its present state as they have strived to keep the mythical promise made over ten centuries ago. The film seeks to understand the Zoroastrian faith, and the philosophy to live and laugh and love that is the backbone of the Parsi way of life, and what makes it so endearingly unique and beloved.
A film by Divya Cowasji and Shilpi Gulati
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In tracing the rich history and lives of the Parsis in India, one inevitably ends up in the city of Mumbai. This influential, albeit small community, has helped shape the city of erstwhile Bombay into the metropolis it is today. In turn, the city itself has come to leave its mark on the Parsi identity, with over two-thirds of the worlds Parsi population calling this place home. In addition to this, the film also traces the indelible contribution made by the community to the nation at large, in the fields of business, science, arts, music and theatre.
As the community is plagued with anxieties over its dwindling numbers, the film looks at the current debates on issues of inter-faith marriage. On the whole, Qissa-e Parsi is an attempt to understand a community which has always been numerically small, yet culturally and socially formidable.
About the filmmakers
Divya Cowasji and Shilpi Gulati have been working in the field of documentary film making for the last four years. Trained at the School of Media and Cultural Studies (TISS), their body of work engages with issues of gender, public space and documenting oral histories of minority communities in India. In addition to independent films Inside Out (2010) and Dere Tun Dilli (2012), they have collaborated with NGOs and institutions across the country, generating archival, training and research material which have been showcased as films, audio visual exhibits and online archives. Currently they live and work between Mumbai and Delh