|Cast||Salim Kumar, Ramesh Pisharody, Babu Annoor|
“Looks can be deceptive,” stated the character of a lawyer, played by Salim Kumar, rather philosophically, in a film which made him popular 15 years ago. Hence, when you see Karutha Joothan (Black Jew), a film written, produced and directed by the actor, who also plays the protagonist, you tend to leave behind your bag of prejudices about his earlier roles. In less than two hours, it narrates the decimation of a community and its history by our lackadaisical approach to our past through the life of Aron Ilyahu.
A member of a prosperous family and a native of Mala, one of the early settlements of the Jewish community in Kerala, Aron sets out on a year-long journey to record the history of his community. Unfortunately, at the fag end of his trip, to the Jewish settlements across the country, he meets with a near-fatal accident, and goes missing.
Meanwhile, his mother, along with his sister, after a long wait, and coerced by the elders in the community, had to return to Israel, the promised land. However, his mother makes an agreement with the local panchayat to keep the assets till Aron’s return.
After spending a chunk of time in north India, Aron does return to his hamlet, with a deformation, following the accident. Curiously, the villagers, except Beeran, his neighbour and childhood friend, fail to recognise him or they pretend to do so. Most of them have a reason. All his property has been encroached upon, by them, and his ancestral house is now a post office.
A scholar, Aron struggles to find a place to stay. Though Beeran, despite his hardships, tries to lend a helping hand, fate had something else in store for Aron.
A person’s quest to find his lost identity may not be a novel theme on screen. However, a brilliant script, set in a fresh milieu and executed decently, makes the film an experience worth watching. While etching the history in a convincing manner, it never goes above the head of an average viewer. It conveys the life of a man pushed to the wall. Interesting characters, about forty of them, and witty dialogues blend well with the frames.The film throws some questions, and some may be unpleasant, due to its political nature, which might challenge our sense of political correctness. Definitely, the film cries for a universal outlook and shedding the conventional one, which we nurture based on prejudices and generalisations.