Directed by Dhruv Behl | Reviewed by Debopam Deb Roy
In the Blink of An Eye is a Hindi short film written and directed by Dhruv Behl, aka ‘DhruVerse’ in the year 2021. The film shows us the story of a couple whose fragmented relationship starts a chain of incidents that change their lives forever. Set inside an apartment, the camera explores the spatial elements with the help of a number of editing devices like parallel editing, cross cutting, deep focus and shot-reverse shot techniques. The film runs for 23 minutes approximately within which multiple characters get involved in a series of terrifying incidents, including the murder of a young woman. In The Blink of An Eye shows us an example of how things can go wrong when certain complexities develop between two people in a relationship because of lack of communication and trust. In totality, the film quite subtly explores the underlying fragmented world of Arjun (Usman Khan) and Naisha (Dakshi Lamba) beneath a façade of happiness and warmth that the couple share with each other. Apart from the treatment of spatial elements, it is quite inspiring to observe how the film treats its temporal elements as well. The camera movements guide the audience’s vision quite effectively and has true potential in holding the viewer’s attention without any diversion.
Talking about skilled camera work, it is quite interesting to observe how the camera builds up the space inside the apartment and gradually, moves towards establishing the relationship quotient between Arjun and Naisha. In a particular scene where we see the both of them seated in their respective positions, the way the characters are framed is worth analyzing. The camera is placed behind a wooden framework and through its empty spaces, we get to see the two of them. They are seated at a distance apart from each other, both of them occupying separate boxes for the viewer to identify with the characters, while a separate box frames the two glasses of wine kept side by side. The presence of grid lines in this scene is symbolic of their broken relationship whereas both of them are still in love with each other, symbolized by the wine glasses. In this rapidly changing 21st century, there is no room for emotional understanding or stability between two people. People prioritize their own ego instead of trying to lend an ear to the other person for once. In The Blink of An Eye is a reflection of this fragmented nature of society, where a couple fails to put their differences aside and chooses to resort to argument and violence over mutual understanding.
The film starts with Naisha and Arjun arguing over some issue which is not readily made visible to the viewers. Only through the repeated use of flashback sequences do we come to know what the issue is. Arjun decides to bring home a girl whom he had met at a party in absence of Naisha. In the meantime, a montage sequence shows Naisha decorating the room with candles, anticipating Arjun’s return just to give him a surprise on the special occasion of their anniversary. As the doorbell rings, Naisha prepares to wish Arjun, but her excitement wears off at the immediate sight of the girl he had brought along with him. Naisha, unable to withstand the feeling of betrayal, resorts to violence resulting in her immediate death. While Arjun wants to call the police and surrender to the law for the mishap, Naisha does not want to involve the police out of fear of going to jail. Before they further decide upon anything, a man from a different suite comes looking for help as his pregnant wife, who had gone into labour, immediately needs to be taken to the hospital. Coincidentally, he discovers the lifeless body of the girl and tries to run away. The couple, out of fear of being caught by the police, chases after him and knocks him senseless. From this point onwards, the story takes a bitter turn and a series of unfortunate events follow.
The film also deserves credit for the brilliant set design that leaves a haunting impact long after it ends. A space so warmly lit and decorated suddenly turns into a space of horror within a matter of time. The flawless direction and seamless editing do not give the viewer any chance of anticipating what is about to follow. Each frame has been treated with efficacy and the audio tracks used to compliment each scene is equally appreciable. In The Blink of An Eye is one such film that can be watched multiple times and deserves to win a rightful position in the global competition.