Friday, April 20, 2012

Film: Adaminte Makan Abu Review: Jacob Srampickal S.J. Adaaminte Makan Abu (Adam’s son, Abu) is nominated from India, to the Oscar this year. The movie also won the Swarna Kamal and Rajat Mayur awards. The main actor Salim Kumar, a comedian, who usually essays tragic-comic roles, has played the main character winning the Bharat award. The film received wide critical acclaim, with numerous accolades for its story, direction, cast, bagged awards for cinematography (Madhu Ambatt) and music (Isac Thomas). Even at the most challenging Kerala State Film Festival, awards for the Best Film, Best Actor, Best Screenplay and Best Background Music went to this film. The movie, seemingly a Muslim social, is about a poor family’s struggle to go to Mecca. The story line extols and celebrates the basic goodness in humanity. Written, directed and co-produced by firsttime filmmaker Salim Ahamed, it co-stars Zarina Wahab. Abu and Aishumma, a Muslim couple in their late 70s, live in Kerala’s Malabar. They make many sacrifices to fulfill their life aspiration of going to Mecca for Hajj. Their son Sathar who migrated to the Middle East with his family has virtually discarded his parents. Abu sells attar (a flowerbased perfume), religious books and Unani medicines. Aishumma breeds cattle and hens, helping her husband realize their shared dream. Abu feels as outdated and discarded by a fast-changing world, even as the traditional medicines and books he sells. A school teacher, Abu’s friend, comes to his aid. Hyder, a local teashop owner also empathises with Abu, who in turn is frequently given genuine advice by a saintly Ustad. Good-natured people are willing to offer him a loan, but he refuses the offer as it goes against the accepted religious norms. With his advancing years, Abu’s desperation also grows. Finally, in frustration and distress, he sells his cow and an old jack fruit tree. The manager of a travel agency helps him to get the necessary documents and tickets for the journey. A policeman, who initially rejects Abu’s passport application, becomes quite helpful, once he gets a bribe. Besides Hajj preparation classes, vaccinations, buying new Ihram clothing, Abu pays off even the smallest of his old debts and travels miles to seek forgiveness from Sulaiman, a previous neighbor with whom he once had a fight. The sawmill owner, is willing to pay Abu the cost of the wood, although “it is rotten” because “it is for a noble cause”. Abu refuses to take the money as “it wouldn’t be right” and “could displease Allah”. He would rather give up his Hajj dream. It is unbelievably touching to see poor, simple folk adhering to ethical values, when the whole country is embroiled in massive corruption! The actors’ performances may be labelled simply marvellous. With its honest portrayal of a devout old man’s pursuit of spiritual bliss, the film offers an insight into the social life in the village, reminiscent of rural Kerala in the 1980s with its crop of do-gooders and mystics. The film is indeed meticulously paced and splendidly staged to create a sense of optimism that should keep the human race going in these testing times. To the modern generation used to fast-paced movies this may be slow and even boring, but it is a slice of life, done to perfect film craft. May be, more than blockbusters like My Name is Khan, films like this tend to help build Moslem identities better, globally. One wonders if like his main protagonists, the producer\director fails to find the moolah for the massive propaganda needed to be present at a mega event like the Oscars. Courtesy: Smart Companion

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