Sunday, September 8, 2013

The 'Lucia' Experience

I have only seen Thamizh, English & Hindi films in theatres before. I have seen a lot of foreign language films relying on my beloved set of friends whose names end with '.srt'! For some reason, never have I seen films in languages of neighbouring states: Telugu & Kannada! I was apprehensive about watching a Kannada film for the first time, in a theatre but going by words of some people who, in my view, have a wonderful taste on films, I had to break my duck and go watch this one. Was it worth breaking the rigid reason-less rules I had set for myself? Hell, yeah!

First things first. The film is experimental from every angle one sees. It is the first crowd-funded mainstream Indian Cinema (funded by about 1300 individuals); It has been made at a budget of about 70 Lakhs rupees. If these are mind-boggling, what is shown in the film is even more so. You are made to dream with the makers.

The film begins with lines from a Kannada poet's philospohical set of verses and at the end of it all you are made to realise, the film couldn't have started more apt!

It is very difficult to give out Lucia's plot without revealing things that, by remaning suspenseful, would make the film an even better one to watch! Hence, I choose the brevity path. The film deals with a guy suffering from insomnia and how he gets introduced to pills that can allow him to cultivate and experience lucid dreams (For more on this, go watch the film or go to wiki). How the dream and real life get dramatically entangled is what gets presented in tremendous style with a classy exhibition of almost all qualities & measures a film can be gauged with.

You get to see a fast-cut, interlaced screenplay with heaps of scenes that give a lot of clue (foreshadowing?, may be!) which you wouldn't be able to connect till all of the suspense is revealed at the end - Quality of a typical thriller which would give one the urge to watch a second time and a delight while doing so! Pawan Kumar, the film's director, I gather from his website, got the urge to make films only later than 2005 (when he mentions he started watching a lot of films) and in about 8 years of following his passion, if he can give this good a film, one can surely expect a lot more gems from him and his talented team. It is evident (and I mean it in the right sense) that he follows a lot of World Cinema and has mixed and matched styles from various such schools at apt places. For instance, the characters of the interrogating officers work as well as they do because they don't go over the top but work the way you see in South American films (those guys show cops best!).

One aspect of the film that stands out is the fact that Lucia despite being a complex narrative, doesn't suffer from a big problem some of the other complex, tough to comprehend, open-ended mindf**k films undergo - Leaving the audience with questions and allow them to discuss things on forums! (I hate such ones like The American Psycho & even Mullholland Dr. to an extent!). The film teases the viewer like anything and ultimately connects all untied ends and trolls the critic in you to perfection. That is the best possible Check-mate a film maker can offer his audiences.To elaborate the point, You find a lot of characters which you could  ,while watching the film, think would be usable in a debate against the film (the tall killer guy and his seemingly irrelevant presence as an example) but with the twist offered and the explanations given, you have no choice but to accept the maker has made that role with purpose!

Coming to the performances of the Cast and crew, the film's technical prowess is evident in both style and efficiency (that has helped this one to be made in a shoe-string budget!) Siddharth Nuni's(who I realised later was in the show with us in PVR today) modern-school camerawork complements Pawan's intentions so well and the music by Poornachandra Tejaswi (aided in BGM by Santhosh Narayanan) is quite impressive. The cuts are classy and combine well with the screenplay.

Performance-wise, Satish - the guy who plays the main role is a revelation! I am not sure if he is a seasoned mainstream actor in Sandalwood! If he isn't yet, he is sure to be one soon! If he doesn't become one - God save the industry! He presents a subtle contrast between the two characters he plays and when he breaks down on the death of his beloved mentor Shankranna and vows to bring back life to the talkies, he brings the raw emotion on to screen brilliantly aided by some wonderful dubbing accent. Supporting him well are Shruthi Hariharan, Shankaranna & the policemen.

If there is anything to talk negative about the film, it could be the build-up given to CBI officer Sanjay whose role eventually fizzles out and makes one feel the initial build-up was unnecessary. Who knows, that could have even been to distract the viewer from what line the film is to take when it gets deep!

There are loads of smartly placed elements that could appease members of 'I-go-to-films-only-to-be-entertained' club as well and I see no reason why this film shouldn't gross some big buck as well!

Given the fact that I have never even watched one Kannada film before, I could be prejudiced in having the view that the Kannada industry lags hugely behind most of the other language industries in India known for their films; One Lucia isn't going to change that view completely but I will think twice before generalising things, for, there has been such a gem somewhere within the industry I have considered low on quality; A gem that, in the best possible way has explained "There is someone with a big dream about your small life!" And there could be many more. We should be glad to welcome them all if and when they arrive!


  1. Excellent review. Are you a professional or what? Very well presented.

    And yeah I know kannada industry lags a lot not only in terms of quality but also because of lack of media support. Lucia gets only 2 to 2.5 stars in many local newspapers saying that the movie is just an attempt to get award!

    I know these reviews by media are just a crap but still there are many people who go to theatre seeing the movie ratings.

    1. Thanks Rahul! No, not a film professional.. I am passionate about films and review them on my blog! Do read the other reviews if they interest you..

      Yes, if the media doesn't support such works, it is a shame! There are a lot of people who go by the newsmedia stars and a 2 to 2.5 rating for Lucia is unpardonably gross.

  2. Thanks Rahul! No, not a film professional.. I am passionate about films and review them on my blog! Do read the other reviews if they interest you..

    Yes, if the media doesn't support such works, it is a shame! There are a lot of people who go by the newsmedia stars and a 2 to 2.5 rating for Lucia is unpardonably gross.

  3. Nice Review Sivaram!! Now onwards I will looks out for your reviews...

  4. Very nice review Sivaram, very apt. Reading that this is your first kannada film, and you like mind fuck movies. I suggest you to watch 'A' and 'Upendra' movies directed by Upendra. You will get English subtitles for them too I guess.