Stories of Wayanad, all the way to Toronto film fete

Sound designer-turned-filmmaker Nithin Lukose says his feature debut Paka is heavily influenced by his childhood memories of listening to his grandmother’s stories, his hometown Wayanad and its people.

The Malayalam film, which translates to The River of Blood in English, is set to be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) Discovery segment that will open on September 9.

Nithin, an alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India, got into sound designing after an internship with Oscar-winner Resul Pookutty and worked on films such as Thithi and Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar before taking the directorial plunge.

The 36-year-old said he knew that whenever he would make his first film, it would be connected to the place and people he grew up with.

“In 2019, when I went back home, I got this idea of making a film in my place and while writing also, I felt convinced that my first film should be set in my hometown, among the people, culture and the space that I really know,” the director told PTI in a telephonic interview.

“Then I started thinking about the story I wanted to tell and I spoke to my father and my grandmother. She is 88 and she has also acted in the film. She had told me stories of the past, where a lot of migration took place in Wayanad. I would say it is half real and half fiction. I have shot with people I know like my friend and my cousins,” he added.

Tale of feud and love

The official logline of the film describes Paka as a tale of a river that swells with the blood of two feuding families and a young couple who tries to overcome this hatred with their love.

The story of a family feud instantly brings back the memory of Shakespearean classic Romeo and Juliet, but Nithin said he finds his film closer to the epic Mahabharata and the story of Kauravas and Pandavas.

Produced by Anurag Kashyap and Raj Rachakonda, the film features an ensemble cast that includes Basil Paulose, Vinitha Koshy, Jose Kizhakkan, Athul John, Nithin George, and Joseph Manickal.

Paka had earlier won the best WIP project in the Work-in-Progress Lab of NFDC Film Bazaar 2020.

Exploring roots

Asked about the growing trend of young filmmakers exploring their roots in their debut films, Nithin said that is the very idea of a film school, where people from different cultures and languages converge, learn the craft and go back to make the film.

“I also followed that philosophy. I did not know how much I will be able to express but I knew that it will be truthful in expression as this is something I know personally and this is how I have lived my life. I spent all my childhood there, listening to the stories of my grandmother. It makes the process of filmmaking so interesting and maybe many filmmakers follow that route because they feel this is the right thing to do.”

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 4:33:16 AM |

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