Nithin Lukose’s debut feature as a writer-director in the Malayalam language, PAKA (River of Blood), is to have its World Premiere at the 46th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), held from September 9-18 2021.
The film is selected in the Discovery section, which showcases the first or second feature films of directors worldwide. TIFF will be held in a hybrid way, with both in-person and digital screenings.
Produced by Anurag Kashyap and Raj Rachakonda, PAKA is a tale of a river that swells with the blood of two feuding families and a young couple that tries to overcome this hatred with their love.
The film set in Wayanad of North Kerala, features an ensemble cast including, Basil Paulose (Johnny), Vinitha Koshy (Anna), Jose Kizhakkan (Kochappan), Athul John (Paachi), Nithin George (Joey), Joseph Manickal (Varkey) and is shot by Srikanth Kabothu, edited by Arunima Shankar, and music by Faizal Ahamed.
Excited about the TIFF Premiere, debut filmmaker Nithin Lukose, an FTII graduate and the sound designer of Thithi and Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar says, “I’m delighted and honoured to see my directorial debut, PAKA (River of Blood), at the Discovery Programme of the 46th Toronto International Film Festival.”
He added, “I was fascinated by the stories and myths my grandmother told me when I was young. PAKA is a manifestation of that fascination. The idea was to tell a universal story that can appeal to the global audience while keeping the film rooted in the cultural attributes of the remote village I grew up in and the people I love. It’s a matter of pride that a regional film like our’s is getting a platform through a globally renowned festival like TIFF.”
Anurag Kashyap who boarded the project as a producer during its post-production stage says, “Malayalam Cinema is at the moment leading India on the world stage and I am so grateful to be associated with it in a small way. Paka is yet another powerful debut from a rooted new voice.”
Raj Rachakonda who has written-directed-produced a critically acclaimed and commercially successful Telugu feature film Mallesham (Netflix), decided to produce PAKA. Talking about what prompted him to produce the film, he says, “I decided to produce the script from one of the crew members who helped me make my directorial debut, Mallesham. Of the four scripts narrated to me, I opted to produce Nithin’s, who helped me with sound design for Mallesham because PAKA is a poignant story about people’s simultaneous capacity for love and cruelty that displays great depth and emotion.”
PAKA is about North Kerala, where a serpentine river witnesses the long and bloody cycle of vengeance between two feuding families. Johnny and Anna, a young couple, wish to end the hatred within their families with their love and begin a life together. However, the return of Johnny’s uncle Kocheppu, after imprisonment and his subsequent disappearance becomes a hurdle in their path of love and forces them onto the path of blood, murder, and revenge.