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‘Paka’ (‘River of Blood’): ‘A home-grown film that is being shown around the world’ (video, Toronto International Film Festival 2021)

It had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and we caught up with debutant filmmaker Nithin Lukose and actors Vinitha Koshy and Basil Paulose…

DEEP in the forest is a river and as one of the opening shots of this film says, ‘it’s thirsty for blood’.
Not far away from this quiet, seemingly idyllic part of north Kerala in a hilly, jungle region called Wayanad, two families are feuding and ready to settle old scores.
Writer-director Nithin Lukose’s first feature film is an absorbing, deftly constructed film which often flips convention and provides a startling commentary on the state of human relations, and the desire for humans to accumulate and dispense power on their own terms.
Selected for the Toronto International Film Festival 2021 (September 9-18), co-festival and artistic director Cameron Bailey called it “riveting” and “captivating” and a real insight into where increasingly (global) tribalism could take us.
In between the feuding families, we find ourselves in the midst of a powerful romance which threatens old certainties and rivalries.
Johnny, played by Basil Paulose, and Anna (Vinitha Koshy) are superb foils and points of calm and sensibility – but how long can they maintain their air of detachment and let their love rise above the fray and stench of blood and the watery graveyard that almost has a call all of its own.
Aided with great performances, from a largely non-professional cast – stand out among them is Jose Kizhakkan, who plays Johnny’s uncle, who returns from prison and is looking to start a new chapter in his life – this is a film that takes you into the heart of a community.
In this video, we talk to Lukose, and actors Paulose and Koshy about the story behind ‘Paka’ and how it was made and what it meant for a very local film (both Lukose and Paulose are from Wayanad) to get global recognition and premiere at one of the world’s biggest and most prestigious film festivals.

Production credits
A Big Talent Media Ltd (UK) Production for
Editing: Natalie Barrass (
Producer/presenter: Sailesh Ram

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture