PAKA (River of Blood) at TIFF

A Film produced by Anurag Kashyap and Raj Rachakonda


(River of Blood)

“Paka (River of Blood) examines what it might take for people to break free of this cycle of generational sin, and whether it’s possible at all.”  –         IndieWire

Toronto, September 15, 2021- Nithin Lukose’s debut feature as a writer-director in the Malayalam language, PAKA (River of Blood), successfully had its World Premiere at the 46th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), to a sold-out first public Screening on September 13th, 2021.

This beautifully shot film is selected to be in the Discovery Section, which showcases the first or second feature films of directors worldwide.

Despite the challenges facing the PAKA team due to the Covid world pandemic, this extraordinarily talented group was able to seamlessly debut the film to rave reviews leaving audiences emotionally moved by its raw authenticity. With travel restrictions changing by the moment and vaccine mandates not yet streamlined internationally, producer Anurag Kashyap and Director Nithin Lukose were unable to attend in person. Thanks to the supportive team at TIFF they were able to Zoom in post-screening for a Q & A session with Raj Rachakonda, in attendance, in person who flew in from the US. 

Produced by Anurag Kashyap and Raj Rachakonda, PAKA is an emotionally driven story of two feuding families that live in Wayanad, North Kerala. When a deep-rooted tragedy triggers a generational feud that spans lifetimes, two families are trapped within the confines of seeking revenge and retribution. Until the forbidden love of Johnny (Basil Paulose) and Anna (Vinitha Koshy), each from the opposing families, attempts to heal the ancient wounds of their family’s dark history with their love, that is divided by a river which flows through the village holding the dark secrets of their dissension.

PAKA won the best WIP project in the Work-in-Progress Lab of NFDC Film Bazaar 2020 and is produced by Studio 99 Films in association with Alif Talkies Productions.

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), part of 46th Toronto International Film Festival. 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 of Gangs of Wasseypur, That Girl in Yellow Boots, critically acclaimed The Lunchbox, and Shahid 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

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. It was my pleasure to work with Nithin on PAKA, it is a poignant story about people’s simultaneous capacity for love and cruelty that displays great depth and emotion.

The film 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.