Reggae Rajahs Member Premiere's 1st Documentary in Delhi This Week

5 June 2012

Most would know Zorawar Shukla a.k.a Mr. Herbalist as an active member of India's first reggae sound system, Reggae Rajahs. Later this week however will see the world premiere of the filmmaker 's first ever documentary titled 'A Prayer for Aliyah'. The 30 minute film will be screened in New Delhi at the Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre at 7pm on Thursday 14 June.

Shukla attributes the subject of this film to a keen sociological interest he has in Indians living around the world: "stories of Indians living abroad have always excited me. When I found out that Israel was one of the only countries in the world that Indians migrate to for purely religious reasons, I became very interested in the Indian Jewish community. The 'lost' history and the secretive nature of the North-East Jews made this particular community a very appealing subject."

This is the first film about the B'nei Menasseh community living in Manipur ever to be made. While the Jews of Cochin, Bombay and Kolkata are well known, the North-East Jews have remained hidden for a number of years. Shukla goes on to explain: "the deeper I got into this story, the more fascinating I understood it to be. Also, filming in such a rough, neglected part of the country itself was unforgettable."

The 7,500 strong community of Jews living in North-East India believe themselves to be a Lost Tribe of Israel. According to Shukla, "having left the Holy Land over 2,500 years ago, they have lost all written records of who they are and only 'rediscovered' their past about 50 years ago. Now, they are practicing strict Orthodox Judaism to prove themselves as Jews so that they may one day return to Israel."

For those who can't make the premiere this Thursday, there'll be a repeat screening at The Attic, 36 Regal Building, Connaught Place on 19 June at 6pm.


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