Subah (Awakening)

The main character is Jai, a 17-year-old runner who is dealing with the recent loss of his mother in a car accident while constantly being pushed for an upcoming, crucial race by his disciplinarian father/coach. Due to Jai’s grief, his sense of time is distorted, further aggravated by his seemingly unaffected younger brother and recurring apparitions of his mother.

In the visions, Jai’s mother wants him to continue running and obey his dad. Perplexed by her obsequious nature, Jai takes the reins himself and confronts his father on the day of his final race. Jai runs away from home with his dad chasing him, finally outrunning him and winning the ‘race’. Later, Jai sees an apparition of himself in a bed, ultimately awakening in a hospital to find that his triumph over his father has brought him out of a coma. It was Jai, not his mother, who was in the car accident.

  • Arnav Mangla
  • Arnav Mangla
  • Pankaj Gupta
  • Rashi Gupta
  • Arnav Mangla
  • Shubham Chaudhary
    Key Cast
  • Neel Kamal
    Key Cast
  • Preeti Agarwal Mehta
    Key Cast
  • Saksham Shringirishi
    Key Cast
  • Isabella Granada
  • Aditya Paul Paul
    Music and Original Score
  • Abhiruk Patowary
    Music and Original Score
  • Jack Landon
    Sound Design
  • Anshika Jain
    Production Design
  • Praneeta Gupta
    Costume Design
  • Priya Arora
    Costume Design
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 38 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 1, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    8,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Hindi
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - School of Visual Arts
Director Biography - Arnav Mangla

Born in Delhi, India, Arnav is a writer, director, and editor who has spent much of his childhood traveling to different cities due to his family's business. Growing up in a big family, he was exposed to various cultures and ways of life, which later influenced his work as a filmmaker.

Despite his nomadic upbringing, he always had a deep love for cinema. Being a child of India, a country obsessed with films, he was surrounded by the magic of the silver screen from an early age. His passion for storytelling was further fueled by his interest in using different editing techniques to create a rich and immersive experience for his audiences. He particularly enjoyed experimenting with sound design and quick cuts, using it to heighten the emotional impact of his films.

In addition to his love for cinema, he was also a sports enthusiast. He believed that sports and filmmaking shared many similarities, including the importance of teamwork, dedication, and perseverance. These qualities were reflected in his approach to filmmaking, where he worked closely with his cast and crew to bring his vision to life.

He has written, directed, and edited several shorts before where he has attempted to blend traditional Indian storytelling with modern filmmaking techniques. His films often explored themes of love, family, and identity, which often resonate deeply with audiences across India.

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Director Statement

"How do we forgive our fathers? Maybe in a dream. Do we forgive our fathers for leaving us too often, or forever, when we were little?
- Smoke Signals by Sherman Alexie

This quote was one of the first things that motivated me to explore the relationship between a father and a child for my college thesis.

Subah is a love letter to my family and my culture. I want to depict the various ways of showing love in an Indian family where we get scolded, teased, and held firm and close to express our immense love towards each other without saying ‘I love you’. Pulling from my own experiences, I have learned that the way my family expresses love isn’t necessarily through words but through their actions. Even when we may not get along with our parents or have difficult family situations, we still intuitively believe that things will improve. Family is supposed to be the strongest bond. Hope is also an essential theme in Subah. This theme is central to the story and makes for a compelling narrative. I wanted to portray this internal turmoil through an external activity and that’s why running is so important to the film. It takes both mental and physical effort and serves as a metaphor for Jai’s journey, as he tries to overcome his struggles and find his own path.

This short is dedicated to all the forgotten and overlooked efforts parents shoulder for their children while fulfilling their every dream. And, above all, for me, this film is about learning that things can always be worked out in a family.