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April 25, 2022 10:12 am
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Israeli Embassy in India Unveils Art Mural Honoring Jewish Indian Actresses

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

A new mural unveiled by the Israel Embassy in India in collaboration with Delhi Street Art. Photo: Twitter/Israel in India.

Israel’s embassy in New Delhi, India, unveiled on Monday a street-art mural marking 30 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries and paying tribute to three famous Indian-Jewish actresses.

The Israel Embassy in India collaborated with the Delhi Street Art initiative to create the mural honoring Pramila (a stage name for actress Esther Victoria Abraham), Sulochana (Ruby Myers) and Nadira (Florence Ezekiel). These actresses, all of Iraqi-Jewish descent, “made a mark in the early years of Indian cinema,” a plaque near the mural reads.

The artwork outside New Delhi’s Connaught Place was unveiled by Israeli Ambassador to India Naor Gilon and Meenakshi Lekhi, India’s minister of state for external affairs and culture.

Pramila won the first Miss India pageant in 1947. The actress and model, who was born in Kolkata, starred in about 30 films as a stuntwoman. She also became the first female film producer in India after founding the Silver Films production company with her husband, and used her influence in the industry to push other women to take on acting roles, according to the Hindustan Times.

Sulochana, one of the most successful silent film stars in India, started her career in 1925 in “Veer Bala,” the Indian publication noted. By the mid-1930s she was one of the highest-paid female actors in India, according to the Hindustan Times. In 1973, she was awarded the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, Indian cinema’s highest honor.

Nadira was most famous for her film performances during the 1950s and 1960s. She rose to fame playing a princess in the 1952 film “Aan” and won a Filmfare award, India’s version of the Academy Awards, for best supporting female actor for her role in the 1975 film “Julie.”

At the mural’s unveiling ceremony, Gilon said, “Today we are revealing this mural reminding us of the work of three extraordinary actresses from the Jewish community in India, and in doing so we are also revealing another layer of the unique cultural connection between India and Israel.”

“We hope that passersby in this corner will be inspired by these characters, women from a small community who have paved a path for other women to be bold and fearless, and left a mark on what is today the largest film industry in the world, Bollywood,” he added.

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