Waiting reminds you of the beauty of human bonding through powerfully emotive performances by Naseer and Kalki.
Theatrical Release: 27 May 2016
What would you do if your significant other is comatose and you are left in the waiting room of a hospital, yearning for them, waiting for them to wake up? This movie asks the difficult question.
The movie explores themes of life, love, longing and acceptance. The direction of Anu Menon brings forth a tale that would make you rub your wet eyes both in sadness and joy, for which she has well received the Best Director accolade at the London Asian Film Festival. This is a refreshing kind of cinema which strays from the usual protagonist-antagonist drama, making the audience feel connected with the story and moved by the expressive dialogues of the characters.
Shiv (Naseerudin Shah) and Tara (Kalki Koechlin) become unlikely friends as Naseer caters to his wife, played by Suhasini Ratnam, who has been comatose for 8 months and Kalki arrives from Mumbai on the news of her husband’s accident in Kochi. While waiting for their partners to respond, they undergo reminiscences of their relationships with their respective partners and this difficult phase that has come to govern their lives.
One of the most memorable exchanges in the movie is when Shiv makes Tara aware of her grief and the stages of denial, anger and depression that she is going through, which unfolds into a beautiful, platonic relationship between the two leads. Where Shiv is worldly and mature and has been married for over 40 years, Tara is a newly married, vivacious and modern woman who gets frustrated and explosive at times. Shiv brings the much needed calm and patience in her life.
The two of them drift apart on the matter of what decision they should make for their partners and trying to figure out if letting go is a better option.
The supporting cast has worked well, particularly Rajat Kapoor‘s pragmatic role as the doctor handling both the cases is worth mentioning. In one of the scenes, he’s seen explaining the method of breaking the sad news to the patient’s family, to his trainees, which makes one feel both anguish and anger.
The film’s gems are its mix and match English and Hindi and a few Malayali dialogues (by Atika Chohan), which are conversational and suits the personality of the characters and of course, the enigmatic performances of the two leads. Naseer impresses with his excellent understanding of the complex situation and his desperation to keep his wife alive even if on life support. Kalki expresses her grief through her kohl-clad eyes which speak more than words can ever do.
As a movie which is not going to be a commercial blockbuster (which it doesn’t intend to be either) as can be attributed by the fact that a famous multiplex in Delhi had only 8 viewers on a first day show, this movie is for those who respect a different kind of cinema which is not run by the glamour of the stars but rather by the power of a good plot line and good acting. It is a movie which is feel-good and melancholic at the same time.
With an understated music by Mikey McCleary and the heart touching lyrics of the song “Zara Zara”, the waiting continues.
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