TIIF: Paka – a tale of revenge between two warring families



Renu Mehta


PAKA, the debut film of Nithin Lukos, is a tale set in Kerala, a story of two feuding families and a young couple that tries to overcome this animosity with their love.  The river is witness to the generations old bloody cycle of vengeance between the two feuding families.   The young couple from the warring families,  Johnny and Anna, try their best to patch up the two families with their love saga, but the hatred within their families is never ending.   The return of Johnny’s uncle Kocheppu from jail and his subsequent disappearance becomes a hurdle in their path of love and forces them onto the path of blood, murder, and revenge. 

“I grew up listening to stories told by my grandmother”, says Lukose. “These were stories of migration, survival, fights for land and wealth which resulted in the family feud while a large number of the population migrated from the south to the north of Kerala in the 1950s. In this film, a family feud resurges from the past when someone comes back from jail after life imprisonment.”

With each generation thirsting for revenge, writer-director Lukose infuses his feature debut with rich Keralite oral tradition from his own childhood.

“I always wanted to make my first Film in Wayanad where I grew up,” he says.  “There is a dangerous river near my place, notorious for its deep trenches. Floods, accidents and murders have pushed people and dead-bodies into the river which only one man in the village can retrieve. He is a middle-aged man named Jose, an outstanding swimmer who knows the river in and out. He is the one who takes out the dead bodies from the river. I grew up seeing this and I shaped the story of the film from my memories. I connected such unique aspects of my hometown to the stories which my grandmother told about family feuds and started writing the story for my first film, and that’s how ‘PAKA (River of Blood)’ shaped into a feature film.”

The majority of the cast in the films have had no previous acting experience.

“We shot it and treated it as an independent film in which 90% of the actors are non-actors from the village and we had a film school crew mostly from my alma mater Film and TV Institute of India. I aspire to tell stories that not only represent and reflect the culture and space I belong to and are also universal.” Co-produced by Anurag Kashyap, the film was presented at the 46th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) that features ten days of international and Canadian cinema with close to 200 films in its Official Selection, events featuring acclaimed industry guests, and TIFF’s Industry Conference.

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