Happy Rosh Hashanah! Some Famous Indian Baghdadi Jews!!!

Not like there are Rosh Hashanah themed songs available, but I thought it might be as nice a time as any to talk about Nadira and Ruby Meyers.  India’s famous Jewish movie stars!

Ruby Myer/Sulochana was one of the first top movie stars in India, discovered when she was working as a telephone operator.  She was the queen of the early silents, playing the type of modern working urban heroines that matched her life off screen.  When sound came in, she took some time off to learn Hindi (growing up in Pune, presumably she only knew Marathi), and then came back with a bang.  Playing femme fatales onscreen all the way through to the 1930s, and then transitioning to mother and character roles.

 

After Sulochana came Nadira!  Also part of the Baghdadi Jewish population (Jews from present day Iraq who settled in India hundreds of years ago).  Nadira also specialized in a little more modern, a little more wild women.  She was launched in Aan, which is a super super fun fantasy fairy tale romance, in which she plays a fierce Princess tamed by wild rebel Dilip Kumar.

(Such careful flower placement!)

After being the evil temptress to Dilip Kumar, she went on to be the evil temptress to Raj Kapoor in Shree 420, only this time she wasn’t redeemed.

 

Nadira kept working past her “sexy item girl” era, graduating to “spunky mother”, most famously in Julie where she has to deal with her daughter getting pregnant.

 

Besides these two Indian Jewish famous movie people, there is also J.F.R. Jacob who commanded the Indian army during the Bangladeshi war.  And Anish Kapoor, the British sculpture with a Baghdadi Jewish heritage mother who designed Chicago’s Cloud Gate sculpture (or “The Bean”) as seen in this song from Dhoom 3 (it’s the thing that looks like a giant mirrored bean).

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