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About Abu the Son of Adam

Runtime: 101 minutes

Language: Malayalam

Genre: Drama

Abu (Salim Kumar) and Aishumma (Zarina Wahab) are an elderly Moplah Muslim couple living in Kerala’s Malabar region. Their aspiration is to go for Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, and they sacrifice to achieve this aim. He scrimps and saves to achieve his dream of going to Mecca. Their son Sattar has migrated to the Middle East (as a part of the Kerala Gulf boom) with his family and has virtually discarded his parents. Now in their late 70s, the couple save money so they can attend Hajj that year.

Salim Kumar and Zarina Wahab as Abu and Aishumma, holding their new passports

Abu sells attar (a perfume obtained from flowers), religious books and Unani medicines that nobody seems to want. Aishumma breeds cattle and chickens, helping her husband realise their shared dream. Abu feels as outdated and discarded by a fast-changing world as the traditional products that he sells.

A school teacher (Nedumudi Venu), Abu’s friend, comes to his aid at his time of need. Hyder (Suraj Venharammud), a local teashop owner also empathises with Abu who in turn is frequently given genuine advice by a mysterious saint known simply as “Ustad” (Tampi Antony). Good-natured people try to help Abu by offering to lend him the amount but, as this goes against the accepted Islamic practices, he refuses to take anything.

With the advancing years, Abu’s desperation grows. Finally, in frustration and distress, he sells his cow and old jackfruit tree. Abu is helped by the manager of a travel agency (Mukesh) to get flight tickets and other documents for his journey. A policeman (Sasi Kalinga) initially tries to reject Abu’s passport application, but once he gets his usual bribe he becomes quite helpful. The couple begins their preparations which include attending the Hajj preparation classes conducted by the travel agency, being vaccinated for meningococcal meningitis and buying new Ihram clothing. Abu pays off even the smallest of his old debts as part of the preparations and travels miles to seek forgiveness from Sulaiman, a previous neighbour with whom he once fought.

When the passports and the tickets are ready and a bus journey away in Kozhikode, the sawmill owner (Kalabhavan Mani), while handing over the money for Abu’s tree, says that its wood turned out to be rotten and useless. He insists that Abu take the money, however, since his cause is noble. Abu refuses it, saying that it wouldn’t be halal and hence could anger ALLAH. When he is sure that he cannot fulfill his dream, Abu reaches another conclusion — that the tree too had life, and several lives must have died when he cut the tree in front of his house. Abu conjectures that maybe one of the reasons for his not being able to go on the journey. On the dawn of the Hajj, Abu tells his wife that they will go the next year; he plants a new jackfruit sapling and is seen going to the mosque to pray on the morning of Hajj.

Cast: Salim Kumar as Abu Zarina Wahab as Aishumma Mukesh as Ashraf Kalabhavan Mani as Johnson Thampi Antony as Usthad Suraj Venjarammoodu as Hyder Nedumudi Venu as Govindan Master T. S. Raju as Maliyekkal Assainar Haji Jaffer Idukki as Photographer Sasi Kalinga as Kabeer M. R. Gopakumar as Sulaiman Ambika Mohan as Nalini Nisha Sarangi as Rabiya Murali as Ameer Mohamed Mayanad as Kayiti Vinod Kovoor as Moideen Sasidharan Mattanur as Mammunji


Academy Awards (2012)- Indian submission for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

Director: Salim Ahamed

Salim Ahamed is an Indian film director, screen writer and producer. After working for a long time as a travel consultant, he joined as a creative director and script writer in a television channel. His directorial debut, Adaminte Makan Abu (2011), fetched him numerous accolades and was screened at various international film festivals. It was also chosen as India’s official entry to be considered for nomination in the Best Foreign Film category for the 84th Academy Awards. Then he made two movies Kunjananthante Kada (2013) and Pathemari (2015) with Mammootty as the lead. The later won the Best Feature Film In Malayalam award at the 63rd National Film Awards. Salim’s latest film is And the Oscar Goes To…(2019), which tells about his own experiences with production and marketing of his first film.