Atul Mongia’s new short film, ‘Awake’ is a spin on the ideal notions of companionship and marriage that is usually seen in mainstream cinema. It depicts a couple in an otherwise conventional marriage, where the husband is paralysed, thrusting the wife into the role of an eternal caregiver. The wife (Sameera) non-chalantly goes about her daily routine, while the husband sits on a wheelchair on one side of the room. At first you of course feel sorry for the wife, and the entire film seems nothing short of an unsettling romantic tragedy. But, on the other hand, there’s also a sense of agency and control that you feel Sameera exerting in the garb of a caregiver, which is more often than not, seen as a selfless job. Halfway through the film, Sameera reminiscences about the past when she sees her husband owning the dance floor at a houseparty, but suddenly the tone of the scene changes. Sameera is loading beers into the fridge and watching Vikram go wild. Her smile disappears. She feels lonely in the crowd. This is not her life, it’s his; she’s just a passenger. It’s a marriage where she has no identity.
Watch the film here.
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