Nithin Lukose’s Paka (River of Blood) is a very peculiar Romeo and Juliet film that’s less about the love between the two and more about the families and the rivalry. The loopy nature of the script takes its own sweet time to make us look from a different perspective about a family feud that has been going on for generations. With emotional intensity getting stronger with each death, Paka is an indulging drama.

The story is set in the backdrop of Wayanad, and two families who have been killing one another for generations are our focus. Anna and Johnny, who loved each other, belonged to these families and wanted peace. But things took an unexpected turn when Johnny’s uncle, who was in jail, returned. How his return disrupts the equation between the families and the repercussion of that on Anna and Johnny’s plan is what we witness in Paka.

It is not a story that wants to surprise you by throwing in something jarring. When one guy is killed, you will know that an equal and opposite reaction will occur. The idea here is to go after the psyche of the characters. We see Johnny as this peace-seeking guy who is mocked by Anna’s uncle as a coward. One thing that connects Anna and Johnny is that they differ from the other hot-blooded relatives. And Nithin gradually shows us how they are dragged into the circus when something personal happens.

For me, that talk between Paachi and his grandmother, which tracks the history of all the violence, drastically changed the movie. Nithin Lukose breaks many stereotypes when he shows us the people who were responsible for all these deaths. Nithin shows us his stand on these killings simply by playing WWE on the radio while the violence is happening. The way he placed the loop was symbolic of how something repeats due to misinformation and negativity spread by others. The cinematography that primarily has static frames was able to build the intrigue the drama demanded.

As Johnny, Basil Paulose delivered a memorable performance. He was able to convincingly portray the two shades of the character and the gradual transformation. Vinitha Koshy relatively has lesser screen time, but she was able to make Anna unique. Nithin George, who was a major disappointment when I saw him in Luca, delivered a great performance here as Joey. Jose Kizhakkan’s Kocheppu also desrves to be mentioned. The rest of the cast has issues in terms of dialogue delivery. But luckily, that doesn’t cause many problems in presenting the drama.

As an off-beat attempt, Paka is an interesting tweak to an existing revenge-drama format. It is a movie that shows the silliness of a grudge and its harsh consequences. If you like layered emotional dramas with nuances and metaphors, Paka has something in it to impress you.

Final Thoughts

As an off-beat attempt, Paka is an interesting tweak to an existing revenge-drama format.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.