Based on the sprawling 1991 novel by Rohinton Mistry, this small-scale epic focuses on the Noble family and their day-to-day lives as India lurches towards war with Pakistan in 1971. The Nobles are Parsis, descendents of Zoroastrians who
fled Persia in the 9th century to avoid forced conversion to Islam; they remain a religious minority in primarily Hindu India and prospered under the British Raj many left India with the British. Born to wealth and privilege, Parsi Gustad Noble (Roshan Seth, who bears a striking resemblance
to Dustin Hoffman) supported his parents after they were swindled out of their fortune, and now clings to middle-class respectability by working as a bank clerk. His apparently close-knit family is held together just as precariously, their fraying bonds embodied by the once genteel, deteriorating
housing compound in which they live. Eldest son Sohrab (Vrajesh Hirjee) leaves home after a blowout over his refusal to attend the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology; daughter Roshan (Shazneen Damania) contracts malaria and Dilnavaz (Soni Razdan), Gustad's sensible wife, begins dabbling in
sorcery, convinced by an elderly neighbor that a curse has ignited Sohrab's rebelliousness. Gustad's troubles escalate when he agrees to do a favor for old friend Jimmy Bilimoria (Naseeruddin Shah), who vanished suddenly some years back and now claims to work for the government's secret service.
The favor ensnares Gustad, his friends and his family in a dangerous web of corruption and political subterfuge. A fundamentally decent and loyal man, Gustad is increasingly dismayed by the world's ugliness and perfidy; but his disenchantment makes him rigid and stubborn, as though will alone
could make things return to the way they once were. Screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala's screenplay pares down Mistry's Dickensian novel to manageable proportions, and director Sturla Gunnarsson crams each sequence with subtle, telling detail while avoiding "exotic India" clichés.
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- Released: 2000
- Rating: NR
- Review: Based on the sprawling 1991 novel by Rohinton Mistry, this small-scale epic focuses on the Noble family and their day-to-day lives as India lurches towards war with Pakistan in 1971. The Nobles are Parsis, descendents of Zoroastrians who fled Persia in th… (more)