Karutha Joothan Malayalam Movie Review
Two different funeral processions towards the end of "Karutha Joothan" epitomise the power of visual language to sum up the purpose of the film. Perhaps, this scene is the simplest means of conveying the status of a marginalized religion and a mainstream religion in Kerala. In his second directorial, Salim Kumar highlights the largely ignored lives of black Jews, who lived in Malabar and other places. Desisting from the usual practice of depicting Mattanchery Jews in films, Salimkumar tries to unearth the roots of marginalized Jews lived in Mala, Thrissur.
The untold story of these Jews has a riveting history in Kerala that began around 2000 years ago. Salimkumar as Aaron Eliyahu is not just a protagonist but a trope that portrays the derelict state of the community.
When the call from Israel comes, most of the Jews bid adieu to Mala. The journey to Israel is to coalesce with the soul and custom of their motherland. When Aaron sets out for a journey to discover the remnants of his ancestors across India, he loses his mother Veronica (Usha) and sister as they are forced to leave for Israel. After so many years, Aaron finds himself alienated in his own land.
Salim Kumar's effortless acting creates the milieu of pathos for Aaron but its intensity is not suffice to pierce into the emotional senses. As a filmmaker, he also foments a political debate in the film. He has bagged Kerala State Award for Best Story in this film.
Sreejith Vijayan's contribution in visuals is remarkable and it complements the film very well.
Aaron remains to be a mute witness to the disintegration of a culture. More than his personal loss, we are eagerly drawn to the history of black Jews. The appealing narration eclipses the emotional approach.