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Nithin Lukose's debut film PAKA (River Of Blood) to be premiered at Toronto International Film Festival

The Malayalam film, which is co-produced by Anurag Kashyap and Raj Rachakonda, will be screened in the Discovery section.

Our Correspondent

Nithin Lukose's first film as a writer-director, PAKA (River Of Blood), will have its world premiere at the 46th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which is being held from 9–18 September with both in-person and digital screenings.

The Malayalam film, co-produced by Anurag Kashyap and Raj Rachakonda, will be showcased in the Discovery section, where first or second feature films of international directors usually play. It is the second Indian film in the section after Ritwik Pareek's Dug Dug.

 According to a press release, the film, set in Wayanad, Kerala, 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’s ensemble cast features Basil Paulose, Vinitha Koshy, Jose Kizhakkan, Athul John, Nithin George and Joseph Manickal. PAKA has been shot by Srikanth Kabothu, edited by Arunima Shankar, and features a score by Faizal Ahamed.

Produced by Studio 99 Films in association with Alif Talkies Productions, the feature won the best WIP project in the Work-in-Progress Lab of NFDC Film Bazaar 2020.

Nithin Lukose graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and has worked as a sound designer on films like Thithi (2015), Randuper (2018) and the recent Hindi film Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar (2021).

The filmmaker said he was delighted and honoured to see his directorial debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. In a statement, he said, “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 ours is getting a platform through a globally renowned festival like TIFF.”

Kashyap, who joined PAKA as producer at the post-production stage, said, “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.”

Mallesham (2019) filmmaker Raj Rachakonda said he decide to produce PAKA after Nithin helped him make his directorial debut.

“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,” he said.

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Toronto International Film Festival