(MENAFN- The Peninsula) PK Niaz |
One of the attractions during the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar will be the showcasing of a dhow, marking the glorious seafaring traditions involving Arabs and Indians for ages. The 27 feet-long vessel is a replica of a dhow from early times which is built in the traditional way without using even a single nail or metal piece.
The vessel replica, which is seven feet wide and six feet tall and is being constructed at Beypore, Kozhikode, in the southern Indian state of Kerala, will be a part of International Dhow Festival which will coincide with the World Cup 2022.
Considered as the biggest handmade craft in the world, the Uru in Malayalam language, which means dhow, was used by Arabs for spice trading with Kerala and this was the reason why the Qatari authorities wanted to display it as part of their history and tradition during the dhow festival and the World Cup, says Hashim, managing director of Beypore's Haji PI Ahmed Koya and Company, who is constructing the huge replica.
“It is a matter of recognition for Beypore's centuries-old shipbuilding tradition,” Hashim said.
Beypore has been a centre of dhow making since the 1st century AD. It is said that the ship in which Cheraman Perumal — a King of Kerala - travelled to Arabia to meet Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was built by the carpenters of Beypore.
In his book 'Tariq Al Hind', Al Baruni (972-1048) records that he built a ship at Beypore and sold it abroad.
Now, the construction site of these dhows has become the venue for a movie, Uru, that aims to depict the strong bond between the people of India, especially from the state of Kerala, and Arabs.
Uru tells the history of dhow construction and the affection between Arabs and Indian expatriates. The dhows from Beypore have played a vital role in strengthening Indo-Arab ties.
The film is produced by a long-time Doha resident Mansoor Palloor and one of the actors in the movie, Sathyan Edathodi, had designed a dhow in Qatar, which is said to be the largest in Asia.
A political writer and author, who now lives in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Mansoor Palloor says that 'Uru' depicts how the Indian expatriates embrace Arab culture and feel safe in their 'second home'.
Sathyan Edathodi (left), chief craftsman of wooden dhow, Uru movie director E M Ashraf (centre), and producer Mansoor Palloor.
“The film propagates the love and friendship between Arabs and Indians, especially Keralites. It also shows the real-life experiences of people who return to their homeland after working long years in the Gulf,” Mansoor told The Peninsula in Doha recently.
“We had planned the release in January, but the current pandemic situation delayed our plan and now the movie is scheduled for a March release. Uru is set for a global release with special plans for Qatar,” he said.
Actor Sathyan Edathodi, who designed a dhow in Doha, which was completed six years ago in Beypore, has vivid memories about his Qatari days.
“I worked in a dhow construction field in Qatar when I was 18-years-old. A Qatari, who was working in the military, would come to the site to see my work and was impressed. After that I was entrusted to build Asia's biggest dhow. It cost around rupees 180 to 200m (QR8 to10m). That 275-tonne vessel is the biggest ever dhow fully made and furnished in India, Sathyan said.
The story of Uru revolves around the kindness of an Arab youth to an expatriate, Rasheed, who used to work for his late father. The film begins with Rasheed reaching Beypore with the mission of constructing a dhow for his employer. While overseeing the work, he faces some trouble.
But Rasheed continues his mission even after the death of his employer. The film moves forward showing how his struggles and challenges are resolved.
Veteran Malayalee actor Mamukoya plays the lead role of Sreedharan, the chief carpenter who makes the dhow, with K U Manoj and Manju Pathrose in important roles. Saudi Arabian actor Hassan Al Salman also appears in this movie.
Expatriate journalist E M Ashraf has scripted and directed the movie, which is co-produced by A Sabu and Zubin Edappakath.
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