2021 ‘Paga: River of Blood’ premiered in the “Discovery” section of the Toronto International Film Festival. It was the story of two families who were thirsty for each other’s blood. The film, released on Sony LIV and promoted as Anurag Kashyap produced it, is, therefore, a masterpiece of cinema. Many times it happens that a successful film director, after reading the script or the narration of the writer-director, agrees to be associated with a film. It often happens with Anurag Kashyap that many budding directors take their films to him and ask him to present them. There are two benefits from this, they get the squeeze of Anurag Kashyap’s experience and at the same time, Anurag Kashyap’s name opens many doors for him. Anurag’s name is associated with Paga as a producer, but director Nitin Lukos has no mark of his own in the film. Disappointed after watching the film.
In any village in Kerala, two families do not get along with each other. Thirsty for each other’s blood. A girl from one family and a boy from another family fall in love with each other and think that if they get married, then perhaps the enmity will end. These days the boy’s uncle comes out of jail. The days in the jail were heavy on him and he too now wants to end the controversy. He spends every rupee he earns in jail to buy gifts for his nephew’s wedding. He meets the nephew’s girlfriend and apologizes to her because he goes to jail only for the murder of that girl’s father. He even meets the girl’s family members to talk about the relationship. As soon as the girl’s uncle gets the news, he kills the boy’s uncle with his spoons and throws the dead body in the river. The boy’s grandmother tells her younger grandson to take revenge. The younger grandson goes and starts fighting with a man of that family and only then his elder brother comes to the rescue. Seeing the younger brother being killed, he too becomes uncontrollable and kills the enemy and the corpse is thrown into the river. The wedding gets postponed. The elder brother has to run away. After a long time, he comes home on the days of worship. After the puja, the girl’s uncle kills the younger brother and throws him in the river and in return the boy kills the murderer uncle. In the end, he fills the family photos, weapons in all the sacks and throws them in the river. In the climax, the girl’s brother sits on his grandfather’s chair.
Basil Paulos’s performance as the main character Johnny is good. This is his second film. Basil suits the character of a straight, calm and non-violent lover. As the changes come in his character, his getup also changes. Vinita Koshy has done a few films as his girlfriend, the main one being Operation Jawa. Vinita’s character had very little to do. While scolding his grandfather, his facial expressions look accurate. The two characters that impressed are Jose Kilkkan as the boy’s uncle Kochappan and Arul John as Johnny’s brother Pachi. Actually, the audience of Hindi film has got used to watching movies of Romeo and Juliet’s family fight. Although it is difficult to understand the reason for the family enmity in Paga, it is even more difficult to understand how Johnny and Anna developed friendship or love. Killing in the village is not an easy task and if it is known that there is a murderer, the village boycotts him socially. There are no dialogues at many places in the film. Much is left for the audience to understand. An attempt has been made to create an atmosphere of fear in the film. Looks weird.
The girl’s grandfather has lost one of his sons but his younger son goes against him and goes out to kill him, then the grandfather realizes that this blood-for-blood tradition will one day ruin the entire dynasty, but until then It’s too late. On the other hand, the boy’s grandmother is also taunting her grandson to take revenge by provoking her. When Johnny is cutting the Ferrari, grandmother dies in those days and she cannot even see Johnny. The story is set in a village in Kerala, stemming from the director’s personal experiences. In this both the families are shown Christian. There is talk of peace in Christianity but there is only violence in the film which overshadows all love and relationships. This is the first film of writer-director Nitin, but before this he has been working as a successful sound designer and that is why the sound design of the film is very good. Great to be heard on speakers. The rest of the aspects like the dreaded background music by Faizal Ahmed, cinematography by Srikanth Kabothu and editing by Arunima Shankar, are all good.
What is in disagreement is Anurag Kashyap’s production of the film. There is nothing in this film that should be produced by him. The film has been aired in such a way that the film came into the limelight because of the producer instead of the director. This matter and the matter is somewhat beyond comprehension. Nothing will happen if you don’t watch the film.