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Waking Dreams (2007)

-Review by Nic Brown-

Everyone has a dream they want to pursue. Some people know that dream from an early age and work towards it. Others may not know what it is right away, but it develops over time. For some though, their dreams are not their own, but the dreams their parents push on them. You’ve seen the boy who plays sports because his dad wants him to be the star quarterback, or the girl who’s in all the beauty pageants while her mom brags and boasts. For those who are living someone else’s dream, it can be hard to know what they really want. That is the case for Latha (Sulekha Naidu) in writer/director Deepika Daggubati’s WAKING DREAMS. Latha is a young college graduate who isn’t sure what she wants to do, but she knows it isn’t what her parents want: for her to enter medical school and become a doctor like her father.

 

Latha has spent the summer after graduating from college dithering around the house and watching Bollywood musicals with her grandmother. It’s not because she’s lazy; it’s because she doesn’t really want to follow the path her parents have laid out for her. Her father, Dr. Sumanth Kumar (Sharat Babu), gave up a career as a surgeon in India to move his family to a small town in Texas where he could practice medicine. Originally this move was only to be for a short while so his wife Rajani (Sakina Jaffrey) gave up her promising engineering job to follow him. Now Dr. Kumar wants his daughter to become the surgeon he was and her mother supports him, more out of respect for him from their culture than because of a real desire to see Latha follow that road.

 

Frustrated that his daughter is doing nothing with her time, Dr. Kumar asks his friend Toly (Navid Negahban) if he can give Latha a job at his company for the summer. Dr. Kumar doesn’t know what Toly’s company does, but he sees Toly as a successful business owner and wants some of that drive to rub off on Latha. Latha doesn’t want the job, but agrees to go in to the office. It isn’t what she expected as she discovers that Toly owns a video game company and his office is home to an eclectic group of programmers all working to develop a new hit video game. Although Latha doesn’t know much about games, she enjoys the environment and soon fits in with everyone, well everyone except her supervisor Rebecca (Megan Ward), who takes every opportunity to make Latha look bad if for no other reason than to make herself look better. Despite Rebecca’s best efforts, Latha is happy with her new job. She becomes close friends with game designer Colin (Jamie Elman) and also pines for Ashwin (Maurizio Rasti) a hot shot programmer who is brought in to replace Colin as lead designer for the new game.

 

Latha begins to find the purpose in life that she’d been missing as she uses her imagination to help Colin with his work on the new game. Unfortunately, her father’s patience with her is running out and just as Latha is about to make a presentation to Toly about her new idea for the game, Dr. Kumar tells the girl to quit her job and work at his medical practice in preparation for medical school, which he enrolled her in. Now Latha must choose between her parent’s dreams and her own.

 

WAKING DREAMS is a romantic comedy set in a small Texas town but with a Bollywood twist. Throughout the film, Latha has vivid daydreams of colorful dance numbers like the ones in the Bollywood films, only featuring her, her family and friends. These dream sequences are some of the best scenes in the film as well-choreographed, stylish mini-operas that tell the story the way Latha dreams it should be, sometimes in stark contrast to what the world is giving her. The story itself, while cute, is not that different from many other films of the genre. However, the film is fun to watch and the characters are interesting. Sulekha Naidu is particularly good at portraying Latha, a girl who is in conflict with her family and herself over what tradition says she should do and what her heart desires. So check out Deepika Daggubati’s WAKING DREAMS, it’s a Bollywood musical deep in the heart of Texas, you don’t see that everyday after all!

www.wakingdreamsmovie.com



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