Abu, Son of AdamAbu, Son of Adam is the official entry to the 84th Academy Awards and 2012 Golden Globes is a meditative story about a poor attar (a kind of perfume) seller Abu whose only remaining wish in life is the Hajj pilgrimage, which he strives hard to fulfill. At the verge of the fulfillment, he opts out when he fears that the means is not fully legitimate.

Abu and Aisumma are an aging Muslim couple. Their aspiration is to go for Hajj and they make many sacrifices to achieve this aim. Now in their late 70s, they decide that they will go for Hajj that year. Abu, being a true Muslim, wants to go for Hajj only according to all diktats of Islam. Good-natured people try to help him by loaning the amount, but since this is against the accepted practices of the religion, he refuses to take them. Finally, they are not able to go. On the dawn of the Hajj, Abu tells his wife that they will go the next year. He goes to the mosque to pray on the Hajj morning.

 As Abu and Aisu, Salim Kumar (known more as a comic actor) and Zarina Wahab contribute restrained, yet rich performances that form the heart of this beautiful tale of friendship and hope. Noted cinematographer Madhu Ambat’s extraordinary visuals capture Kerala’s lush natural beauty and also the gloomier, claustrophobic surroundings of Abu and Aisu, all without resorting to either postcard stereotypes or the glamorizing of its characters’ poverty.

Quiet and contemplative, this directorial debut won the Gold Lotus for Best Film at India’s National Film Awards. Steeped in the ambience and beauty of Kerala, yet truthful to its contemporary struggles and issues, Abu, Son of Adam provides a fascinating window into Muslim life and culture in India’s south.

Abu, Son of Adam


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