Another Take of Jewish Dispossession - Karutha Joothan

The Black Jew

Karutha Joothan (The Black Jew)  is a 2017 Malayalam film written, directed and produced by the National Award winning actor Salim Kumar in which Salim Kumar himself essays the lead character.

A major new Indian from the Deep Dravidian South. Director, Scenario and leading role, Salim Kumar.

This is the story of a Jewish Man from the most ancient Jewish community of India which traces its roots back to the age of the biblical Babylonian captivity. Aron of the northern Kerala town of Mala sets out on a trek across Indian to trace the trail of the most ancient Jewish migration into India.  Along the way, he meets an accident and enters a comatose state.

His family back in Mala gives him up for dead. Mother and sister have meanwhile immigrated to Jerusalem.

His home and properties have been confiscated by the local govt. He was very wealthy. His mansion is now the Mala Post Office. Local people have moved into his former properties. His Jewish identity is questioned to block the restoration if his properties.  His onetime boyhood friend, a Muslim, comes to his aid.... but....

 

Director: Salimkumar /India/120/Malayalam/2017

0W3A2404SynopsisThe film ‘The Black Jew’ deals with the Jewish history in Kerala of 2000 years, mixed with the protagonist’s autobiography. The protagonist shown in the film is Mr.Aaron Eliyahu, a Jew from the village of Mala. This film reminds one of the strong  friendship of the Muslim Beerankunj and the Jew Aaron. It highlights the importance of the demolition of ancient memorials and restructuring new ones upon them for the heirs of a new world. Above all the film sheds light on the impact created by Palestine – Israel conflict on the village of Mala in India. Aaron Eliyahu travels in search of the roots of the Jew tradition of 2000 years in India. In the midst of his search the news of his death in a motor accident spreads. Independent Israel calls for the return of all the Jews to Israel from all over the world. Obeying the command of the Jewish community leader, Veronica; the mother of Aaron, entrusts all her property with the Panchayath (local elders) and she leaves for Israel. When Aron returns to Mala  to his chagrin, he sees his own house converted into the Mala Postal Office and the natives are ensconsed on his property. The film ‘The Black Jew’ reveals the unexpected happenings passing through the three generations of Aaron and Beerankunj.

This story has obvious parallels with Frenc Török's film 1945, which is also a tale if Jewish dispossession.

Salim's Black Jew will resonate with the same audiences that  are currently responding enthusiatically to 1945 in New York and elsewhere.

The international Premier of The Black Jew was held here at the 22nd  Kerala IFF.

 

Director and star Salim Kumar, 46,  is well known here as Both a comedian and serious actor. He is one of the most popular actors of the Malayalam cinema and lives in Mala, the town where this story of the lost black Jews is set.The synagogue s still there, but only a single elderly Jewish family remains in the area.

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