Percy (1989 film)

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Directed byPervez Merwanji
Produced byPervez Merwanji
Written byCyrus Mistry, Jill Mistry[1]
Kurush Deboo
  • Ruby Patel
  • Hosi Vasunia
  • Sharad Smart
  • Ratan Batliwalla
  • Zenobia Shroff
  • Rajan Bane
  • Tushar Joshi
  • Porus Irani
  • Kyan Bharucha
  • Keziah Elavia
  • Ashdeen Lillawalla
  • Silloo Mahava
  • Roshan Tirandaz
  • Aban Shiekh
Music byVanraj Bhatia
CinematographyNavroze Contractor[1]
Distributed byNational Film Development Corporation
Release date
  • 1989 (1989) (India)
Running time
128 minutes[1]

Percy (Gujarati: પર્સી, Parsī) is a 1989 Indian Parsi Gujarati comedy[2] drama film directed by Pervez Merwanji.[3] The film is about a Parsi boy from Bombay (now Mumbai). The film was well received and won the 1989 Best Gujarati Film Award at the National Film Awards.


The somewhat awkward bachelor Percy Bhathena is 27 years old and lives together with his mother in a residential area of the Parsi middle class. He works in a small Unani drugstore, where he is harassed by a Marathi colleague. His mother goes from house to house and sells homemade sweets and pickles.

Percy learns of her youth love Vera, that she is going to get married. From that moment on, his thoughts drifts into the past, into his childhood. He reflects on his childhood with his religious mother's quarrels, the reluctant and devastated father, his drowned friend Dara and playing with his childhood friend Vera.

Percy proved the misappropriation of funds by colleague and the colleague was dismissed.

Percy finds out an old gramophone of his father which has the music of Swan Lake and he recalls the incident of sudden death of the father. With the music he imagines to dance with the adult Vera, he even buys a dance councilor for his imaginary dance exercises. The visit of Vera's wedding party with his mother leaves Percy unhappy despite the good food.

Percy's solitude finds a comfort in a music society of his Parsi community, which regularly meets with the common listening of records with Western classical music. Percy is studying Edvard Grieg's piano concerto. On his way home to one of the musical adventures, Percy is hit on the street by the former ex-colleague and his friends. The next day, he has to conclude that the drug trade has been subjected to a fire and that he suddenly has no work and no income. He takes his mother's sales trip, but he does not get rid of anything. Without a goal or as an anesthetic, he strays his time in the streets of Bombay and finally lands in the Music Society. There, in a vision, he experiences his childhood friend Dara as an adult man, who urges him not to waste his lifetime and grab the opportunities at the top.

The next day, Percy is unsuccessful in search for jobs, and his mother breaks up on her sales trip. With the death of his mother, desperate Percy stands alone.[1]


  • Kurush Deboo as Percy Bhathena
  • Ruby Patel as Banubai, Percy's Mother
  • Hosi Vasunia as Percy's Father
  • Sharad Smart as Seth
  • Ratan Batliwalla as Dara
  • Zenobia Shroff as Vera
  • Rajan Bane as Ajit
  • Tushar Joshi as Pappu
  • Porus Irani as Percy (teenager)
  • Kyan Bharucha as Dara (teenager)
  • Keziah Elavia as Vera (child)
  • Ashdeen Lillawalla as Percy (child)
  • Silloo Mahava as Homai
  • Roshan Tirandaz as Freny
  • Aban Shiekh as Aunt Sera


Percy is based on the short story by Gujarati writer Cyrus Mistry written in 1976.[4][5] It was produced by National Film Development Corporation. Percy remained the only feature film of documentary and television director Pervez Merwanji, who died two years after its production. Several well-known actors of the Bombay Parsi Theater appeared in the film and he uses the self-irony typical for Parsi plays.[1]


The film was well received by critics. The Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema notes, "The film intercuts his actual experiences with his dreams and fantasies... The two realities are separated and merged mainly via Contractor's masterful camerawork."[1]


The film won 1989 the best feature film in Gujarati award at the 37th National Film Awards "for its searing exploration of the neuroses and the claustrophobic embrace of an ingrown familial culture".[6][7][8] At the 1990 Mannheim International Film Festival, Pervez Merwanji received the Prize for the Promotion of Intercultural Dialogue.[9][4][10]

The film is preserved at the National Film Archive of India.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Ashish Rajadhyaksha; Paul Willemen (10 July 2014). Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema. Taylor & Francis. p. 1994. ISBN 978-1-135-94325-7.
  2. ^ R R Bowker Publishing (1989). Variety Film Reviews. Garland Pub.
  3. ^ a b K. Moti Gokulsing; Wimal Dissanayake (17 April 2013). Routledge Handbook of Indian Cinemas. Routledge. p. 99. ISBN 978-1-136-77284-9.
  4. ^ a b Sara Rai; G. J. V. Prasad (1999). Imaging the Other. Katha. p. 108. ISBN 978-81-85586-92-2.
  5. ^ O. Dwivedi; L. Lau (28 October 2014). Indian Writing in English and the Global Literary Market. Palgrave Macmillan UK. p. 105. ISBN 978-1-137-43771-6.
  6. ^ "37th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  7. ^ National Film Festival. Directorate of Film Festivals, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. 1990. p. 146.
  8. ^ Parsiana. P. Warden. 1998.
  9. ^ "1990 Archiv Das Festival" (in German). 24 February 2017. Archived from the original on 24 February 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  10. ^ Chronik der Stadt Mannheim Archived 2015-07-10 at the Wayback Machine (Eintrag zum 13. Oktober 1990)

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