Jacobinte Swargarajyam has two Mallu favorites which would naturally make it a blockbuster hit - Nivin Pauly and Dubai. After Bangalore Days, this is another Malayalam movie that made me stop and smell the roses. It is a movie that every Malayalee can relate to. A story of a happy Christian family settled in Dubai. All is well until the global recession hits and the head of the household, Mr Jacob Zachariah gets cheated by a Pakistani colleague. Overnight, the business tycoon has to flee the country leaving his wife and four children behind.
What follows is threats from Mr Jacob's investors and a never-ending struggle to make ends meet by the eldest son, Jerry and Mrs Sherly, wife of Mr Jacob. Being the eldest, Jerry always tailed his father for his various business dealings. However, when his father bids hims a tearful adieu and hands over the responsibility of the family to him, Jerry crumbles.
He seeks refuge in his father's close confidante and friend, Philip Ichayan. He breaks down in front of him and says he has no idea how to overcome the financial mess his father had created. Ichayan drives him on the streets outside his home and points out to a cafeteria in the corner of the street, run by a man named Sherif. He narrates the story of how Sherif started the cafeteria by falling on the feet of many money lenders, how his family had to sleep inside a house without a roof and the many hardships he had to endure to become a successful restaurateur both in Dubai and Kochi.
Ichyan further went on to add that to learn the formula of success, one doesn't have to travel the whole world. You merely need to take a stroll on the streets of Dubai to look at the face of every hardworking Malayalee who does back breaking labour in the scorching sun. He went on to say that there is a popular joke among people, that you will find a Malayalee in the most obscure corners of the globe, starting with the moon, the sea and deserted mountains. This is true, Ichyan tells Jerry, because only a Malayalee has the guts to set up shop in the most strangest of places and transform it into a business empire.
I felt a strange sense of pride in being a Malayalee after watching this scene. I took a moment to think about all my mallu bretheren in Dubai and elsewhere. I also thanked the lord for giving me this carefree life. I could only empathize with what the Zachariah family and innumerable families like theirs had to undergo during the recession.
Jacobinte Swargarajyam is an absolute gem and I pray that if it gets re-made into Hindi, it manages to capture the essence of the movie - the hardships faced and overcome by a God-fearing, close knit malayalee Christian family in Dubai.