In the post war situation of Sri Lanka, Kokila, a religious Hindu woman in her early fifties, suffers from Bipolar as she cannot come to terms with the absence of her son. As rationality cannot convince her to cope with the loss, and as she shuns the love of her husband and daughter, the two take her to a Shaman through which the Goddess Kali speaks, and she receives good news. Not long after, two CID agents come to their farmhouse, claiming to have been sent by the missing son, Athi. Kokila’s family is excited. They give them gifts and money to give their son. As they visit again and again Kokila’s state of mind progressively heals, but her daughter grows suspicious of the truthfulness of the affair.

Our Deep Analysis Critique Review


The 2017 short film “Trance” written and directed by Gnanadas Kasinathar, is a twenty minutes long short film inspired by stories told by victims of Sri Lankan war. The film is a depiction of the lives in a family who has lost all traces of their son to the war. The film successfully portrays the agony of a mother who has lost her son and constantly hopes for his return. Her pain has made her numb to all feelings and she lives in a world of trance.

The film is well written and well directed and well executed. It does not appear draggy at any point. The director has been able to justly create the sombre mood required for the plot. Every character speaks as required for every scene, neither too less nor too more. He has been able to successfully bring out an above average performance from all the actors, he has justly avoided melodrama and complicated storytelling. The unnecessary use of cinematic techniques such as fade in and fade out has been avoided. To create an ambience of urgency throughout the film change of scene have been cut to cut.

At no point the film fails to convey the seriousness of the matter, and in every way is capable of holding the attention of its audience. Despite all the sufferance, the film does not have a melancholic ending.

The film ends at a somewhat positive note, the ending does not look any way juxtaposed thanks to proper direction.

The screenplay of the film is at par with the international standards which is realistic, eye soothing and uncomplicated. The underlying metaphorical message of the film is relayed in a simplistic manner.

The script uses easy, colloquial language as per the demand of the plot. Lengthy conversations and elaborate display of emotions have been done in a balanced way thereby holding on to the attention of the audience.

There is no apparent directional flaw, jerks in action continuity or any other technical mis match.


The film has been shot in HD and every shot in every scene is well composed. The Director of Photography Siva Santhakumar has done a great job in designing every shot and the cinematography is in harmony with the direction.

Each shot perfectly captures the emotions of the characters, the ambience and the intensity of the scene. The lack of sufficient headspace in many shots have created a feeling of confinement and helplessness as felt by the characters.

The use of simpler cinematic techniques has kept the language of the film lucid and therefore is capable to be received by all kinds of audience.

The use of close up shots have been used in abundance to intensify the mood of the characters and the story, thereby creating a thrill for the audience. The physiological turmoil of the characters have been well brought out by the usage of close shots and tighter frames. Composite shots have been used to establish the scenes as necessary.

Overall, the arrangement and composition of shots in each scene does a just work in bringing out the mood of the characters and the importance of their actions. None of the shots are too long, thereby keeping the scenes compact.

The indoor lighting in the opening scene has been done really well which is at par with international standards. The use of sunlight in the outdoor scenes have done to simulate natural lighting and ambience. Static shots have been mostly used, variation of shots are found throughout the film which is at correct balance with the emotional quotient of each scene.

Few moving shots have been used as per the demand of the script. Summing up, the cinematography creates a standard visual impact and is capable of narrating the story in a manner as deemed appropriate with the crux of the plot.


It is often said that the success of a film is dependent on the effort given on it during its post-production. The editor holds a huge amount of responsibility in making a film worth receiving to the audience.

‘Trance’ is among those few short films whose every step starting from its screenplay writing to direction, from cinematography to editing has been meticulously executed thereby making it an excellent production.  

The film has been edited by Sajeeth Jeyakumar who has done a great job in making it compact, crisp and presentable. Only cut to cut transition of scenes have been used. No other transition techniques such as fade in and fade out have been used.

Scenes are short and there are no unnecessary and draggy points in any of the scenes of the entire film. The use of editing techniques have been such that it successfully establishes the fast pace of the plot.

The visual editing is in correct balance with the audio editing. Music from one scene overlaps to the other thereby creating a bridge between scenes, psychologically as well as visually.

The placements and arrangement of shots are appropriately done leaving no visuals jerks for the audience. The shift from close to composite shots and vice versa is thoughtfully done at the editing table leaving no place for any confusion for the audience.

Overall, the editor has a done a pretty decent job in creating a well-crafted, easily understood and intriguing plot.


Jayaranjinee Gnanadas plays Kokila, the protagonist of the film. Kokila is in a constant battle between the reality of her son who is lost for ever and the hope that her son would return. She is trapped in her own world of make belief, in a state of constant trance.

Jayaranjinee has given out an excellent performance throughout the film. From the opening scene till the end all her expressions are balanced, just as much required for the moment. In these twenty minutes Jayaranjinee has played from fierce to helpless, from confusion to power, from make belief to reality.

Her delivery of dialogues has been well moderated, meticulously avoiding overacting. She carried forward the intense drama through her dynamic acting skills and strong screen presence.

Aloysius Thevanayagam plays the father of the lost boy. He knows his role too well and gives out a flawless performance. He relays just the correct balance of practicality and fatherly emotions wherever required. There is no over acting from his part and he proves his versatility as an actor at every scene.

His expressions are at par with his delivery of dialogues and at no point he fails to prove that he is a natural performer.

Kethuja Ravichandran plays the daughter of the devastated parents who have lost their only son. She has lost her older brother and plays a patient daughter who has dedicated her life for her parents. She is constantly present by her mother’s side and looks after her every need. She is emotional yet practical.

Kethuja has done an excellent performance, justifying her role as a caring, thoughtful and practical daughter. Her performance is natural, well adjusted for the role. She has definitely proved her worth as a young artiste.

All other supporting actors have given out a pretty commendable performance as well, Paskaran Gnaneswaran who plays one of the fake CID men is worth a mention. Apart from that the man you played the love interest of the sister did pretty well too.

Throughout the film there has been no place where the performers failed to impress the audience. All artiste regardless of the importance of their role have shown justified acting skills. There has been no over acting or under acting from any of the actors. All Characters major or minor have given out their best performances. Delivery of dialogues have been well crafted, and properly modulated.

Overall all performers have given their best to make ‘Trance’, a realistic, compact and attention grabbing short film.


Music forms is an important aspect of any film, especially if it is a drama or fiction. Use of proper music and sound effects at correct moment in the plot during the course of the drama makes the story more relatable to audience. Every aspect of a scene cannot be delivered through dialogues, music and sound effects paly an important part in building up the drama in a film.

Matheesan Thanabalasingam has looked after the music department and has done an excellent job. The music in the film is truly impactful and creates athrill for the audience. The film opens with a dramatic suspense music thereby establishing the setting of the film. The opening music creates an ambience of seriousness in the first scene itself and brings out the graveness of the situation.

The use of chanting of mantras of goddess Kali along with the sound of fierce drum beats n various scenes of importance and even in the climax scene creates a dramatic impression on the audience. Not only that the music plays a key role in representing the theme of the film, it helps in creating a bridge between the metaphorical and the apparent dialectic of the film. Along with the protagonist the music of the film takes the audience to a state of trance as well. It creates a portal for the viewers to relate with the state of mind of the lead character.

The overlapping of music of one scene to the next scene have been used a few times in the film, creating a mood of suspense and urgency at the same time. The mental conflict of kokila has been well portrayed in various scene as per requirement.

The use of drum beats has been extensive throughout the film which has been used to represent more than one emotions at the same time or highlight a particular emotion strongly.

To sum up the music and the usage of sounds has been such that it has acted as a buffer in multiplying the impact of the film to the audience.

Overall rating

The 2017 film ‘trance’, written and directed by Gnanadas Kasinathar, is a twenty minutes long film which traces the lives in a family who has lost their only son to the Sri Lankan civil war. The protagonist of the film is the mother of the boy whose has been missing for almost six years.

The story revolves around the mental conflict of the mother who is yet to accept that her son would not return. She lives in her own world of make belief, in a state of constant trance. The film upholds more than one themewhich are religious manipulation, adultery, the helplessness of a family who have lost their son, blind love of a mother for her son and how this love turns into her strength.

The story narrates a journey of a woman who is trapped in a world of confusion from her pain and loss to an expression of strength. Her state of trance leads her and her family into a trap but again she finds strength from being in this state itself. Ultimately she rose from her confusion to fight for the sake of her only son and her family.

The film is not just a story of only one family or one mother but a tale of thousand others who have faced a similar fate as a result of the civil war.

Overall the film is an enthralling watch which is crisp, compact, meaningful and impactful. It is definitely not a onetime watch and a film which could be watched with the whole family.

‘Trance’ is an above average film presented by Scriptnetter in collaboration with Eternal Icon Films which capable of making it audience feel the emotions and impulses of its characters.

‘Trance’ is a film which is definitely worth the attention of the critics. It is creatively profound, has its own artistry and critically sound. It is meant for the niche as well as the mass audience. It is simple yet has a deep inner meaning, wholesome yet abstract. The film is potent enough to grab international as well as local attention at the same time since it generalizes a local issue thereby giving it a space on the global platform.

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