Directed by Dr. S. Kokila | Review by Helen WheelsSANJU (SHRUTHI KUMAR) and ARJUN (MUKUND N.S) have just moved into their new apartment, and judging from their interactions with each other, probably have never lived anywhere else together. The couple engages in good-natured teasing, which turns into a battle of wits when Sanju counters her husband’s joke about her housekeeping with jabs about his inflated ego. Their dueling continues as Arjun gets ready to go out of town on business and Sanju expresses her unhappiness about being left alone in unfamiliar surroundings. Once her husband has left; however, Sanju attempts to entertain herself and enjoy her freedom. She is even compelled to clean up the house!
A woman alone in her new apartment. How many stories could we derive from this one idea? In this case, Director Dr. S. Kokila’s sixteen-and-a-half-minute film, “Sound” gives us the makings of a classic ghost story; a things-that-go-bump-in-the-night tale. Many of us can relate to the spooky feeling of being alone in an empty house and hearing noises that we can’t explain. Who knows the true cause? An overactive imagination can run rampant under the right circumstances. Maybe we watch scary movies to counter the superstition inside ourselves. Ghost stories are my personal favorite genre within the scope of horror films. Give me some good paranormal activity over blood and guts, any day. And as far as I’m concerned getting a jump-scare from a ghost story is one of the most fun things about watching movies.
In this scenario, Sanju discovers her apartment’s dark history and the implication is made. This apartment is haunted. We are suddenly aware of every movement that seems out of place. Each sound becomes a potential threat and leaves us concerned for Sanju’s safety. Dr. S. Kokila investigates the psychology of Sanju’s fear through the use of framing. A close-up of her hand holding a knife while she is preparing a meal lets us know that she does have an available weapon. But when the young woman is alarmed by a noise coming from the hallway, she leaves the knife behind, when she goes to investigate. She peers out through the peephole in the door and sees nothing. The hallway is somehow ominous with the tight framing and blueish lighting that fades into black. Who knows what terror lies beyond the distant doorways?
Fear is an interesting phenomenon. It doesn’t have to be rational and everything that happens can feed into that terror of the unknown once it has been established. A knock on the door, a showdown on a curtain, even the ringing of a telephone can be a threat once our fears are activated. If we look beyond the trappings of a ghost story, we begin to see a psychological side to the tale, “Sound”. Although Sanju is fearless in standing up for herself with her husband, she feels vulnerable when he is gone. Dr. S. Kokila’s “Sound’ is a story that seeks to teach us the Fear is a reaction; courage is a choice. In a fictional ghost story, Sanju’s fear may leave her vulnerable to paranormal activity. In truth; in real life, fear of the unknown may keep us from actual living.
Helen Wheels is an independent filmmaker, freelance writer, and visual artist. She has produced, directed, worked as a set designer and scenic painter, and has been an assistant director on dozens of films. Wheels graduated from Shoreline College with an AAAS in Digital Film Production and is continuing toward her MFA in New Media Communications. Known for her eye to detail and advanced research skills, Wheels is currently researching historical events for her latest script and is in the process of developing her online writing business.