A pious but penurious couple (Salim Kumar and Zarina Wahab) from a village in Kerala plan to travel to Mecca for the Haj. Abu and Aisu have a son who could have sponsored their journey, but he has turned his back on them. They don’t even own passports. They pull out all the stops, raid an ancient collection of frayed notes, get their documents in order and get set for the journey of their lives. But God has other plans. The Malayalam movie Adaminte Makan Abu is a parable for today’s times. The One Above has ways of testing the faithful, however good they may be. Look hard at Abu and you may just spot the wings sprouting out of his shoulders.
Director Salim Ahamed admirably stretches a fictional short into a full-length movie. Veteran cinematographer Madhu Ambat gives the film much-needed polish and texture. Ahamed layers the simple story with details about life in rural Kerala. Men like Abu, who sells attar for a living, and his friend, who repairs umbrellas, are unable to cope with the demands of modernity. Without making too much of a fuss about the economic changes sweeping across the state, Ahamed makes a case for a return to simpler times. In keeping with his philosophy, the movie’s storytelling style also harks back to the days of parallel films from the 1980s. The story proceeds slowly but surely, but one wishes that there was more to Abu and his wife Aisu than their excessive simplicity and cloying piety.
By Malli Ray on December 09 2011 2.30pm