Luca (2019) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


The opening frames of Arun Bose’s directorial debut ‘Luca’ are nothing short of brilliant; a montage of vibrant frames that are pre-emptive of a gala ocular delight to follow. It does live up to those expectations – at least visually – and is a film that is estimably captured on camera, but which falters playing with ideas that keep wavering in intensity and depth.


The opening frames of Arun Bose’s directorial debut ‘Luca’ are nothing short of brilliant; a montage of vibrant frames that are pre-emptive of a gala ocular delight to follow. It does live up to those expectations – at least visually – and is a film that is estimably captured on camera, but which falters playing with ideas that keep wavering in intensity and depth.

‘Luca’ starts off well, and has its protagonist (Tovino Thomas) – a scrap artist and a painter by profession – lying dead in a worn out tub on his front yard. Circle Inspector of Police, Akbar Hassan (Nithin George) is intrigued at the death, and when the post mortem report suggests that Luca has either been poisoned or had committed suicide, decides to solve the mystery himself.

Akbar soon realizes that Luca has been around with a girl from Bangalore, Niharika Banerjee (Ahana Krishna), who had been in the city for her research work. Further queries reveal that Niharika had passed away as well, and that too, poisoned as Luca had been. Confounded by the mystery that surrounds the demise of the couple, Akbar starts leafing through Niharika’s personal diary, hoping to unearth what had actually transpired.

There is promise in this premise, without doubt, and ‘Luca’ has a few moments that make you take note of the film maker at its helm. It is a tested pattern that is employed here without doubt; one that starts off on all the wrong notes before it starts singing a different tune, and as Luca and Niharika discover what it is to fall in love, the film soars up onto the skies.

But it is not, a smooth ride, and the parallel track of investigation and the personal demons that the police officer is battling with, that include an impending divorce from his wife Fathima (Vinitha Koshy) is one that pulls the film down, drowning it in a cesspool of lethargy from which it struggles up every now and then, only to be dragged down again.

On retrospect, this appears downright ironic, since Luca’s tale is one that should inspire Akbar’s, and on screen Akbar’s story takes Luca’s tale down with it, messing it up on several occasions. There is a reference to the sexual abuse that Niharika had had to face during her childhood that is portrayed sensitively, but which is soon followed by a massive desire to further accentuate the horror of it, that is expressed through Aloshy (Anwar Shereef), when you start wondering where exactly an excess of something becomes a liability.

The writing is what makes ‘Luca’ appear as a poor man’s ‘Charlie’, and is marred by dialogues that at times, sound theatrical to the core. Niharika laments of a childhood that she had spent with nameless kids on the streets of Kolkata, Akbar keeps ranting as to how difficult it is for him to move on, while his maid makes an utterance that sends the crowd guffawing away, but for the wrong reasons.

‘Luca’ belongs to the doe-eyed lass that Ahaana Krishna is, and the ebullient performance that she comes up with, that is easily one of the best that we have seen as yet, this year. Tovino is remarkably good and as the vulnerable artist who tries hard to live and love on his own terms does well, and so does Nithin George, while it has to be stated that Anwar Shereef so much deserves better chances and roles.

‘Luca’ is a film that is stunning to look at, and is replete with poetic frames that cinematographer Nimish Ravi has come up with. There is also the fantastic musical score by Sooraj S Kurup, that is in keeping with the mood of the piece.

As a debut feature, ‘Luca’ should be noticed for the very expressive potentials of its director, and Arun Bose is a name that I would tag high up on my ‘Watch-Out-For’ list. Armed with some better writing the next time around, I’m sure Bose would be back, and make up for what ‘Luca’ must have aspired to be, and what it eventually turned out to be.


Verdict: Average


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2 Replies to “Luca (2019) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen”

  1. Here for the first time. Well written review there… and presentation style… also love the clean clutter-free design !
    Best wishes to the team & Keep up the good work.

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