I decided to start watching more Indian regional cinema lately and this was one of the most interesting ones I came across. The director Pawan Kumar cites Christopher Nolan and David Lynch as inspirations for the film. And the influence is evident, in both the theme and the screenplay, which deeply excited me. Also, not to forget that this movie was crowdfunded with donations from a Facebook page. Had the potential of an indie masterpiece written all over.
For the most part, this is a solid attempt at breaking norms in traditional Indian Cinema. Unfortunately, it is not focused enough to become a revolutionary masterpiece, which it easily could have been. And that makes very little sense to me because it had absolutely no pressure from a studio. This means this is probably the exact movie the director had in mind. In which case there are some big mistakes that cannot be overlooked.
The movie is marketed as this ‘deep dive into a man’s psyche’, especially from the trailer and posters. But it is not really interested in exploring that. What it explores most and what works best is the main love story. There is a side love story as well which happens in the dream but that isn’t nearly convincing. Both characters in the main love story are fleshed out well enough to be remembered as actual people and their relationship feels genuine. Most of my favorite scenes in the movie come from this dynamic and the movie has most of its runtime dedicated to this. But I wish it explored the mind of the protagonist more and his take on life rather than just his relationship with this girl.
The movie is non-linear in its narrative. It starts at a point just before the end which what feels like happened after some big twist. But had the movie not started this way, you could never see the big twist coming. A movie like Fight Club also follows a similar structure (starting at the scene just before the explosions) but never relies on it too much. There is a feeling of unrest seeing The Narrator slowly get unhinged by Tyler Durden and the underground cult that they create. You just feel it could all fall apart at any moment and something is off. Lucia (2013), unfortunately, does not have any of that. There is a lot of character progression that occurs entirely offscreen which is crucial for the big twist. If I did not expect the twist, it would jump on me out of nowhere.
The movie also has songs that, although catchy, add no real value to the movie apart from maybe one that talks about dreams and illusions. And the songs that work the least are the ones used in the superstar’s life. Considering the budget of the movie it really should have avoided showing much superstar glamour because the set design clearly shows the budget was an issue. But the performances from both the leads are fantastic and it made me overlook these production issues.
Lucia (2013) is presented as a psychological drama about dreams but is actually just a good love story with psychological elements sprinkled on top. And just like me, the movie really wishes it were the former but can’t seem to escape some trappings of traditional Indian Cinema.
Read more about how the movie got crowdfunded here.