THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Poykayil Appachan was a revolutionary Dalit leader and social reformer who hailed from Eraviperoor near Tiruvalla. A poet, he used carefully crafted songs for their social emancipation and also led a Dalit movement. With the cooperation of people from various Dalit communities, he led a movement to uplift Dalits who were subjugated by the upper-caste.
The contributions of Poykayil Appachan have been celebrated through the documentary film 'Roopakam' (Metaphor) directed by Prasobh Divakaran which has been selected to be screened in the Focus category of the 12th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK).
This is Prasobh's first debut documentary film. "This documentary was done as part of our fifth semester. It was my friend, Prahas and Suresh P Thomas, a writer who suggested this topic,” says Prasobh, a student of K R Narayanan National Institute of Visual Science and Arts.
The 20-minute documentary features the scattered sons of the soil - the Dalits, who become slaves in their land facing severe caste discrimination. From this repression arose a new powerful renaissance leader of Kerala, Poykayil Kumara Gurudevan who was popularly known as Poykayil Appachan and Poykayil Yohannan.
The film also highlights how the leader opposed and conflicted with dominant groups demanding social equality, identity and self-respect. “I was able to relate with the theme as I also belong to a Dalit community. This leader had written more than 1,500 poems demanding equality for the Dalits,” shares the filmmaker.
Prasobh said that shooting the documentary let him travel through the life of Poikayil Appachan. “ For the film, I travelled to Eraviperoor, Pokayil Appachan's native place, for research,” he said. Prasobh' documentary will be screened on Monday at 9.45 am at the Nila Theatre.