‘Knock Knock Knock’ Review: The short film taps into a dark obsessive-compulsive world
Raj Krishna and Sudhanshu Saria
Santilal Mukherjee and Phuden Sherpa
Bollywood Bubble Rating
Entropy is the essence of life. No matter how systematic humans like their world to be, it takes universe just one string to pull and all our systems and patterns crumble like a house of cards. Sudhanshu Saria’s 38-minute short film, ‘Knock Knock Knock’ talks about the patterns and how everything in the world is connected through patterns and that nothing is random. The film, a psychological drama-thriller, presents the story of two men separated by age but united by their way of looking and experiencing things.
On a quiet morning, a crossword designer immersed in his own world is disturbed by the young lad as the latter, gets infatuated with his idea of playing with words and finding patterns and visual balance for the young guy himself is someone who lusts after balance in the world around him. The two hit it off and their friendship bridges the gap between their age until the story takes a dark turn and one of them burns the bridge.
Sudhanshu, who has written and directed the film, renders a realistic setting to Darjeeling, unlike Bollywood films that portray just the beauty of the city. He brings in realism to the otherwise quite Darjeeling through his storytelling. The film tries to explore a lot of things, from the budding friendship of two men who share the same sentiments, the co-relation of age and inhibition to socialize, number and pattern OCD to the misfits trying to function in the world of mediocrity and trying to make sense of things around no matter how futile they may seem to them, all this while walking on a tight rope of 38 minutes. While Santilal Mukherjee, the Bengali thespian who plays, Dada has portrayed the character with subtlety and has beautifully brought its inner complexes, debutant Phuden Sherpa who plays the bloke named, Keta falls a bit short in terms of performance as he couldn’t fully grasp the nuances and the mannerisms of his character.
Cinematographer Achyutanand Dwivedi immaculately tells the story with his frames, lighting and colours. He captures and portrays the minds of the film’s protagonists perfectly through their physical accommodation spaces. There’s both a sense of comfort and borderline claustrophobia in the way he captures his characters and their worlds. The sound design feels a bit heightened at places for a subtle film like this but, that’s compensated by the minimal background score of Yash Sahai.
The film uses the obsession & compulsion as a vehicle to drive into the unsettling corners of the mind. Both the characters are obsessed with patterns, loops, numbers and perfection. Keta ravels in the cycle of three; three pairs of footwear, three sets of clothes and the cat tattoo on his leg denoting 9 lives. And then there’s Dada, who jogs in steps of three like a knight on the chessboard, switches the lights in his room on and off in a set pattern and knocks his pen on the café table three times while designing the crossword. While Keta looks at his equation with Dada as a balancing one, for the latter it’s more of balancing in a negative way, in the sense that his uniqueness is being neutralized, making him just another cog in the wheel of this mediocre world.
‘Knock Knock Knock’ is a film that features two protagonists but, soon the mind of one of them turns into an antagonistic Force pushing the film into a dark abyss. Sudhanshu’s storytelling is furnished with brevity and subtexts that may be too personal for him but, for the audience, it may seem a little obscure. He may have closed the loop of the three knocks at the starting of the film with his final shot but, his outlaying and abstract filmmaking may not close the loop of audience’s hunt for an answer. But, then again a good film is that lingers on your mind and becomes a part of your reasoning cycle.