Tribute to Jewish-Indian Actresses – New Delhi, India - Atlas Obscura

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Tribute to Jewish-Indian Actresses

These murals celebrate the oft-overlooked legacies of Iraqi-Jewish actresses in Bollywood. 


In April 2022, a new set of murals were unveiled in a corner of Block E, Connaught Place, depicting three actresses of Bollywood’s golden age: Pramila, Nadira, and Sulochana. The installation is a collaboration between the Embassy of Israel and the Delhi Street Art initiative, celebrating the 30th anniversary of India-Israel bilateral relations, and an ode to the three actresses who rose from the Baghdadi Jewish community in India.

Ruby Myers, known professionally as Sulochana, was one of the most successful and highest-paid stars in Indian silent cinema, active from 1925 to 1980. She is known for such films as Balidaan (1927), Wildcat of Bombay (1927), and Madhuri (1928). In 1973, she was awarded the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, India’s highest honor for lifetime achievement in cinema.

Pramila was born Esther Victoria Abraham on 30 December 1916 and grew up in the Baghdadi Jewish community in Calcutta. She is best remembered as the winner of the first Miss India pageant in 1947, as well as for being the first major female film producer in India. During her career she starred in dozens of films, performing stunt work and designing her own costumes.

Born on 5 December, 1932 in Baghdad, Florence Ezekiel migrated to Bombay with her family when she was little. Finding herself in the film industry around the age of 10, she would soon adopt the mononym of Nadira and have a breakthrough in India’s first Technicolor film Aan (1952), in which she portrayed a Rajput princess. She soon rose to fame, becoming one of the highest-paid actresses of her time. Her mural is inspired by a scene from the 1955 film Shree 420.

Created by Yogesh Saini of Delhi Street Art and his team, the murals in Connaught Place immortalize these trailblazing women. They may not be as well-recognized these days, but the vivid blue-and-gold murals certainly catch the eyes of local shoppers, and encourage them to learn about their accomplishments.

Know Before You Go

The mural is free to visit.

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April 21, 2023

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