Waiting review: Naseerudin, Kalki in a charming and warm film
Director: Anu Menon
Cast: Kalki Koechlin, Naseeruddin Shah, Rajat Kapoor
“What is true love,” Kalki Koechlin’s Tara Kapoor asks Naseeruddin Shah’s Professor Shiv Natraj. The question might seem juvenile, but in their situation, the answer will decide their lives.
Is it removing your wife’s ventilator support as doctors say she can’t come back to life after eight months in coma or is it not letting doctors operate on your husband because he’ll end up dependent forever – a choice he wouldn’t like?
And that is Waiting for you, a movie about love, life and their complexities, subtly portrayed on screen by Anu Menon, and brilliantly so.
The movie traces two strangers – Tara and Shiv – who develop a heartwarming bond as they struggle through the long wait for their spouses to recover in a hospital. Directed and written by Menon, the movie is a warm narrative about an otherwise heart-rending situation that Bollywood would love turning into an unending melodramatic trip.
Shiv has been in the hospital for eight months nurturing hopes that his wife, Pankaja (Suhasini Mani Ratnam), will wake up from her coma and lead a normal life with him again. Tara, on the other hand, comes to the hospital after her husband Rajat (Arjun Mathur) suffers a critical brain injury in a road accident.
Shiv and Tara represent two different sides of human nature – while one is hopeful and determined about what he wants for his wife, the other is angry and unsure of what she is supposed to do.
Shiv brings with him age, wisdom and calmness while Tara is youthful, passionate and vibrant. Menon plays upon this disparity with charming dialogues such as: “Malls represent everything that is wrong with us” and “What is Twitter? A notice board”.
In the end, Waiting urges for a life full of faith and laughter against all odds, but it also shows the troughs one must go through, especially when tragedy strikes.
The movie does come off a bit didactic, but those moments are rare. And in an age of fast-moving storylines, this follows a leisurely pace.
Menon captures deep philosophies of life in extremely subtle moments. For instance, an innocent discussion on social media talks of the futility of having 1,500 Facebook friends and 5,000 Twitter followers if not one person is there in times of need. Another such instance is when a senior doctor (Rajat Kapoor) teaches a junior how to deliver bad news to patients.
Watch the trailer
Packaged with Naseeruddin as the adorable old man struggling to understand a younger generation and Kalki as the charming young, energetic woman, Waiting is a delight.
Powerful performances and a realistic approach make this a film you’d want to watch.
The author tweets @swetakaushal