Leena Pendharkar’s short film, Awaken, is the story of Rakhi Singh (Parminder Nagra), who finds herself alone in the struggle to care for her aging mother, who has Alzheimer’s. It begins with Rakhi’s mother, Uma (Vee Kumari), in a state of panic at her care facility as she can not remember why she’s there. Because of her mother’s disruptive behavior, the medical professionals tell Rakhi that either they increase her mother’s meds or Uma will need to be moved to another facility.
Deciding her only option is to bring Uma home, Rakhi’s husband tells her that Uma is not welcome there. Rakhi is now on her own to figure out the situation the best she can. Plus, as if things weren’t tense enough, Uma has wandered off.
“…medical professionals tell Rakhi that either they increase her mother’s meds or Uma will need to be moved to another facility.”
Awaken is a pretty straightforward story. Caring for anyone with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or any long-term condition is never easy. The solution is often left to the only family member who cares, but eventually, the burden becomes overwhelming. Worse, the cavalry is not coming to the rescue.
Pendharkar shines a light on the problem of caring for our senior set. She uses the power of short film to place us in Rakhi’s shoes, telling anyone in the same situation they’re not alone. Awaken ends beautifully with a moment of peace and clarity.
"…ends beautifully with a moment of peace and clarity."