HYDERABAD : The hauntingly melodious Telugu single No Home by Adesh Ravi on the plight of migrant workers in the Covid-19 lockdown will move you to tears. Released on April 17 on Ravi’s FaceBook page, the lament which features a video with pictures of workers, both old and young, walking on the highways in the scorching heat, and sitting helplessly by the side of roads has gone viral. Right from the first few lines – Pilla jella intikada etla unro, Na musali thalli emi vetti saadutundo, Puta puta chesukoni batiketollam, Puta gadva intha dooram vachinollam – the song strikes the right chord, that of deep anguish.
A notable feature of this heart-rending song recorded over three days on Ravi’s mobile phone is that it has no music. Ravi, 44, who hails from Ramakrishnapur, Mancherial district, has written and sung the song. Speaking with TNIE, he said, “Pain comes out best in the depth and modulation of the voice, and I did not want to dilute it with music.”
The other aspect of the song is that it is written in first person. “I wanted the lyrics to be as if a person who is in that situation, walking thousands of kilometers to go home is singing it, so where will they have music,” asks he. Ravi, who has worked as a sound engineer in Tollywood for the past 13 years was pained by the plight of the migrant workers walking in thousands just to go back home and be with their families. He says, “I saw the pictures and videos on social media, of people leaving Hyderabad to go to Nirmal and Adilabad on foot as there was no transport.
I felt acutely sorry towards these helpless people.” He says, “Everyone is only focusing on their own problems – washing hands, staying home, building immunity-- but no one was highlighting the problems these hard working people were facing.” He adds, “My aim was to create awareness on the problem of migrant labourers, and I am happy that through my humble effort, NGOs and the public came forward to help them.” He adds emphatically, “Poverty is their biggest problem, they do not have time to worry about Coronavirus.”
Though the song is in Telugu, in the local dialect, Ravi says he has got calls and messages even from people in Bihar and Rajasthan. Feeling touched, he says, “pain has no language barrier.” Ravi studied law at Osmania University, and then did a course in sound engineering from ASCI college and says he has grown up with music. With a leaning towards philosophy, he is inspired by Socrates, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud and Buddha’s teaching, and credits them for shaping his “thoughts to write this soulful song.” Having been associated with many music directors in Tollywood, Ravi who has a recording studio in the city, says his aim is to direct movies. — tamanna@newindianexpress. com @tamannamehdi