Ever since he started using a drug that causes lucid dreaming, Nikhil lives 2 lives: in the real world he is an assistant in a small theater in the suburbs of Bangalore, in his dreams he becomes a successful actor. In both worlds he seeks the love of beautiful Swetha. The unconventionally constructed film tells about the relativity of human happiness and the strength of (not only) film imagination.

Trailer Lucia with English subtitles.

2013 – 135 min – psychological thriller
Directed by: Pawan Kumar
Cast: Sathish Ninasam, Sruthi Hariharan
Language: Kannada
Subtitles: Czech, English
Format: BluRay

Indian cinema as a whole is often criticized for succumbing to a certain standardization and reluctance to experiment. Commercial films are trying to adapt to the expected preferences of paying spectators, while “independent” films dependent on State subventions must conform to the narrow-minded conception of the Ministry of Information. But the Kannada language drama Lucia defies the established customs of Indian film culture on several levels – funding, approach to the film form and viewer response.

Young director Pawan Kumar is one of the first Indian filmmakers to manage financing the entire project through crowdfunding, which also gave him a great deal of creative freedom – he wasn’t driven by the need to make a profit and therefore didn’t have to make concessions to the majority.

Lucia has quite a classic story, love between people from different social classes, but it is largely original in the storytelling. We follow the fight of young Nikhil for lovely Swetha’s heart in two versions – one shows the reality and the other Nikhil’s vivid dreams, supported by a special drug. Although Nikhil is a poor help in a cinema in the one version, and a popular actor in the second, both versions of the story are linked through numerous parallels. Even the initially distinct differences between reality and dream (shown using black and white) begin to fade over time.

Kumar doesn’t only focus on human relationships in his film, but he also sets the theme of the film itself as a medium through which people can bring their fantasies to life and which directly affects their lives. It is certainly no coincidence that the main character works in the film industry in the real world as well as in his dreams, and one of the supporting characters basically dedicates his life to making his own movie. Even the central theme is a reference to film-making: lucid dreaming is a state where a person can consciously control and stage its dreams, just like a director on set.

Indian film scholar M. K. Raghavendra points out that with its numerous pertinent allusions, Lucia can especially amuse those viewers who are familiar with the conventions and stereotypes of Kannada (sandalwood) cinematography.

Author: Miroslav Libicher

About the director

Pawan Kumar started his career in storytelling the year 2000 through theatre. He was a actor/writer/director for about 7 years before making his foray into Films. Like everyone else, he started by making short films and learning through them. He got to collaborate with Yogaraj Bhat, and write two films which were commercial Hit. After his debut Film Lifeu Ishtene, he started Audience Films, a company which would make films through Crowd Funding. Lucia is the first Kannada film to be entirely crowdfunded and a commercial success.

Filmography of the Director

Lucia, feature film – Writer, Director, Actor (2013)

Lifeu Ishtene…!, feature film – Writer, Director, Actor (2011)

Blind Date, short film – Director (2010)

Pancharangi, feature film – Story, Screenplay & Actor (2010)

Manasaare, feature film – Screenplay & Actor (2009