Sameera , upper middle class, successful photographer, is happily married to her husband Vikram, who is comatose. Despite that she seems very accustomed and normal in her circumstance. But all is not rosy as she slowly feels pressure from friends as well as her own desires. Through the mundanity of an everyday relationship, AWAKE is a bittersweet drama that explores the fine line between love and control.
The film boasts of a solid performance from debutante Ishika Mohan Motwane who is herself a gifted photographer. The camera confidently lingers on her face, capturing her hesitations, suppressed desires and conflicts very well. Same can be said about all the performances in the film. Nicholas Brown, Suhaas Ahuja, Reshmy Kurian and Yudhishtir Urs bring layered subtexts to their characters.
As the story unfolds, we recognise a reversal of power dynamics which has been accidentally enabled by a tragedy.
Director Atul Mongia tells us that :"Sometimes the seemingly happy, complete relationships hide greater loneliness than one-sided, dysfunctional ones. I wanted to explore the themes of love, dependence and control in marriage.
Glimpses into Sameera's life, past and present, bring to mind the power dynamics of ‘caretaking’ and the dark comfort of being depended upon. While dependency which may seem a burden to some, for Sameera, in the power-driven world of relationships, it may be her best chance at freedom."
The film boasts of cinematography by Siddharth Diwan and editing by Shimit Amin. Other key credits in the film include, sound designer Pritam Das, Sagar Desai for music and Aditya Kanwar for Production Design.
A tale of love and control, of freedom and dependancy, Awake is a must watch.
Director Atul Mongia is an accomplished Indian Casting Director, Acting Workshop Director, Writer and Filmmaker who lives and works in Mumbai, India. He started his career with Barry John (theatre director), training under him and later teaching at his acting school for two years in New Delhi. He moved to Mumbai in 2002 and briefly worked with Writer/Director Sudhir Mishra. He conducted independent acting workshops and made indie short films before being called to cast for Dibakar Banerjee’s Love Sex aur Dhokha in 2010. Atul has done casting for about 10 feature films and conducted acting workshops for about 50 feature films and digital series. In addition to being an assistant director on films like LSD (2010), Atul was associate director on Ragini MMS (2011), Lootera (2014) and Titli (2016)