The directorial debut of actor Adarsh Kumar Aniyal, recited by folklore artist Ambujakshan, Raven is a sharp take on the societal ridiculing of Bahujan Dalit and Adivasi people in Kerala. Described as “the voice of the oppressed, who are being denied their freedom and life by the ruling class”, the video features a series of pointed recitations by a man who says his son, framed in a crime, is missing.
Describing his son as dark and thin, with long, reddish hair and a love for black T-shirts, the old man walks through the roads of Kochi, reciting the discrimination the young man faced. “My son was told, ‘A crow can never be a crane. A millipede can never lie on a bed,’” he begins.
A ballad about the right to expression and dignity, Raven derives its name both from the bird and Ravana, the mythic king of Sri Lanka – often interpreted as a dark-skinned demon, unlike the fair-skinned gods from the north. Speaking to The Deccan Chronicle, Aniyal said, “My grandfather was a folk artist and for Onakkali, he and artistes from Vypin used to play the part of Ravan, while those from Thrissur played the Rama. Naturally, I took a liking to Ravana.”