Language : Kannada.
Release : 2013.
Starring : Ninasam Satish, Sruthi Hariharan, Sanjay, Achyuth Kumar.
Directed By : Pawan Kumar.
Written By : Pawan Kumar.
Music By : Poornachandra Tejaswi.
Before I could start reviewing the movie, hats off to Pawan Kumar, for coming up with a concept of crowd-funding a film, and taking the road seldom traveled and coming out successfully with a brilliant suspense thriller while giving the Kannada Cinema a long awaited shot in the arm, by breaking away from the usual plots revolving around the “Machete”, and trying to regain the lost glory that Kannada Cinema once had.
The protagonist Niki(Ninasam Satish) is an usher in an old theater run by his uncle Shankranna(Achyuth Kumar). Suffering from insomnia, he stumbles upon a pill “LUCIA”, which lets him sleep while inducing a dream about him being a film star. Smitten by the beauty and charm of his dream, Nikki takes the pill on a regular basis to live in a world of Illusion. It is during this time frame that he gets to meet the lovely Shwetha(Sruthi Hariharan) and a one-sided love crops up inside him, and ultimately crawls into his other world, just like the way all the people surrounding him crawling into his dream. Slowly another track unravels, and runs in parallel to reality. Gradually the line between illusion and reality begins to disappear and ultimately leads Nikki to a dilemma about reality and illusion and the consequences of his choices!
Pawan chose the unconventional route of crowd funding for an equally unconventional movie like Lucia. Being frustrated for not getting the producers to fund his movie, Pawan used social media to the brim, to make his ideas a reality. I have been following him throughout the process of the movie, and I really have to say, not for a single day did he make the his supporters wrestles. Always updating about the day’s shooting with constant uploads of snaps and videos on a daily basis and sometimes on an hourly basis. In one instance, when the location planned for the shoot could not be procured to the most weirdest of reasons, he scouted for alternate locations through the very same social media, and to some extent the traditional word-of-mouth!
The casting for the movie has been done to perfection, with Ninasam Satish, making his debut as a lead, has complete control over his characters i.e. the down on luck usher or as a star of the movie industry. Completely contrasting portrayals, while being equally supported by other members of the cast, be it Sruthi or Achyuth Kumar or Sanjay. Although the cast gets complete credit for their performance, there are other aspects which require a greater appreciation than them i.e. the Production Design, the Music and to a great extent The Cinematography.
Made on a budget good enough for a short-film (a little bit exaggerated though!), the production design for Lucia is brilliant. While giving the movie the right kind of tone it needed, with a shoestring budget is a task of immense planning and even greater execution. Making his debut as Music Director, Poornachandra Tejaswi is the find of the year for the Sandalwood industry. Mixing folk with pop with philosophy is easier said than done. Getting Kanakadasa’s lines to be hummed by Non-Kannadigas, while at the same time getting them to dance for “Thinbadda Kammi” and “Jamma Jamma” is a task of great skill. Only time needs to tell, what greatness is destined for him!
The real hero of the movie is Siddartha Nuni, the Director of Photography for Lucia and the eye of the Director. It is he who ensured that the director’s vision has been captured and executed perfectly. Added to this he had to shoot the movie in a semi-professional camera and by looking at the output it would make some the professional cinematographers to run for cover and contemplate over the meaning of the word “SHAME”. Along the way, the filmy couple i.e. Siddartha and Pawan invented a new kind of mount, the camera needed for a unique treatment in the movie. You could get to know the importance of the mount once you watch the movie.
On the whole Lucia is a movie not suitable for the mass audience (which, of course, has been mentioned a million times already), while the plot is brilliant, and the cast and crew complimenting it, it sometimes feels a little overwhelming by bringing in a few unwanted plot points, not only deviating from the main plot, but drags the movie to some extent in trying to bring in a little bit of a commercial stereotype into it.
Pawan Kumar has done the unthinkable and has come out successfully, and now considering to do a lot more movies through Home Talkies and Audience Films, which, by all means, would be the best thing that could happen to the Kannada Film Industry in a long time. While producers could take a cue from this and, could at least make one movie with an off-beat theme instead of going ahead with remakes, which the Kannada audience are being served on a healthy dose, and the sooner this happens the better it is.
1. Music is a strong plus point.
2. Casting has been etched to perfection.
1. Impressive poduction design.
2. A perfect example of new age Cinema taking over the traditional methods.