Sooni Taraporewala draws ire of conservative group

In spite of a frown from the conservatives, Sooni Taraporewala has gone ahead and done something that no other director would dare to do. The director has replicated a Parsi fire temple onscreen even though in real-life non-Parsis are not permitted inside one.


Her soon-to-be released film, Little Zizou will show for the first time on the screen how the inside of a fire temple looks like. The film has a sequence that shows Boman Irani and his reel-life daughter Dilshad Patel (both Parsis in real life too) visiting a fire temple and praying.

“For the first time non-Parsis will get to see the interiors of a fire temple and the authentic rituals held inside the fire temple will be shown on screen. It is the first film in India to show a fire temple.”

Sooni Taraporewala, the director of the film, said that she desperately wanted to shoot inside a fire temple but was refused permission. “Though we have extensively shot in baugs (colonies) in and around Mumbai, we didn’t get permission to shoot in the fire temple. Shooting inside the temple is not allowed. So, we had to create a set that was representative of a fire temple,” she said, adding that creating one was a painstaking process.

“Creating an elaborate set like that was ‘painstaking’. Luckily both the people in the shot were Parsis in real and they were well aware of the rituals. The entire ceremony and prayers that were shown are authentic.”

Original article here.

  • Yezdyar S. Kaoosji

    I compliment Sooni Taraporewalla for the initiative to film the Fire temple and for creating a film that shows the contradictions that the Parsi Zoroastrian community is facing globally. I recently wrote a chapter on “Growing Up a Parsi in Hyderabad” for Syeda Imam’s book “The Untold Charminar”. There is an interesting parallel between filming inside the Fire Temple, and what I wrote wrote about my feelings on prohibiting non-Parsis from entering our place of prayer and worship.

    “A new era, one hopes, is on the horizon when inclusiveness rather than exclusiveness will prevail, and the debate over conversion will become a non-issue. Inter-faith marriages will continue to increase not just among the Parsis but among all faiths of the world. It is happening and will continue to happen as 20th and 21st century mores change and all societies become more homogenous around the world.

    “As a child I often wondered why our ‘ayah'(child care provider)had to sit outside the gate of the Fire Temple when we walked in. As an adult I felt more than insulted that my Bene Israel wife was prohibited from entering the Fire Temple with me, while I could accompany her into any Synagogue. That said, my faith, understanding and love of the religion of Zarathushtra can never be taken away from me or my family, just like my fond memories of growing up a Parsi in Hyderabad.”
    -Yezdyar S. Kaoosji