Paka 2022 movies review

A woman’s quavering voice can be heard reciting the Hail Mary, that globally familiar prayer to the mother of Jesus. As the camera enters her room along with her grandson, she effortlessly shifts gears from worship and addresses the boy, goading him to kill their enemies. We don’t see her face, but on the wall beside her bed is a cross, the ultimate symbol of Jesus who was barbarically executed by crucifixion 2,000 years ago. The very same Jesus who said: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you…” The irony is clearly lost on the old lady.

This is writer-director Nithin Lukose’s Paka (River of Blood), in which religion is omnipresent and its followers oblivious to the teachings of their faith.

It is interesting how context can so greatly change the meaning of a film. Here in north India, where the Christian minority is almost invisible in the public realm, where the community was more or less erased from Hindi cinema a couple of decades back – and stereotyped relentlessly up to the 1990s – such Christian imagery in a film would amount to demonising a tiny marginalised minority already under political attack.

In Malayalam cinema though, in which both Muslims and Christians are widely represented, coming as it does from the southern state of Kerala where both communities are comparatively well-off, high-profile and influential, it is possible to see that Christians are not being singled out for condemnation or stereotyping in Paka. The film is, as we are told by text on screen, “inspired by stories heard from my (the filmmaker’s) grandmother”; the characters, hence, happen to be from the community. Paka’s use of religion, therefore, can be interpreted as being both specific to Christianity and symbolic of all major world religions, in particular the disconnect often seen between their teachings versus the actions of their adherents.

Google Drive – Gdtot








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