A story of grief, fate and life

  • Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin in a still from the film
  • Shah and Suhasini Maniratnam in a still from the film
  • Shah and Koechlin in a still from the film

Two lives, one that has experienced many ups and downs and another that has just started discovering the complexities of life, come together in Waiting to create a heart-touching, emotional journey.

A retired professor, Shiv (Naseeruddin Shah), is looking after his comatose wife (Suhasini Maniratnam) for eight months in a state-of-the-art hospital in the picturesque Cochin.

At the same time, Mumbai girl Tara Deshpande (Kalki Koechlin) is busy showing her feministic video to two of her friends when she gets a call about her husband, Rajat’s (Arjun Mathur) accident while he is on a work trip to Cochin. Fate brings Shiv and Tara together and the similar situations in their lives help them forge a bond that’s deep enough to let them share their innermost thoughts.

Their lives, however, are poles apart. Tara’s selfies on Facebook gets 250 likes, and she has 5,000 followers on Twitter. Whereas, the professor doesn’t even know what Twitter is! Tara has friends who she calls her soulmate but none of them show up in the rough phase of her life. She expects them to come, to be with her, only to eventually realise that it’s her life and she has to fight her battles alone. Shiv, on the other hand, is fighting his own battles quite strongly. He is not expecting anyone to come and rescue him. He is reading up medical journals to find a treatment for his wife of 40 years. Still, amidst all this, he has not stopped living life. He brings coffee for the nursing staff, he mingles with people and goes about his daily chores.

In a very simplistic way, the film compares the relationships of the past and the new-age. Subtlety is the best part of the film. It’s a script that has been well thought through. At no point will you feel that the two main characters are grieving. Yet, you will empathise with them and their helplessness.

The other great thing is the humour. When you are telling a tale of accidents, hospitals and loss of a loved one, it is sadness and grief that grips you. Humour usually falls flat. But director-writer Anu Menon, along with co-writers James Ruzicka and Atika Chohan, has introduced enough situations for the film to be light-hearted throughout.

The two actors, who earlier created magic in That Girl In Yellow Boots, leave you with some important lessons of life as they give powerful performances as grieving spouses. Rajat Kapoor, in the role of a doctor, does complete justice to the role. So do Arjun and Suhasini in their small but impactful parts. Rajeev Ravindranathan as Girish, Rajat’s subordinate, stands out in his two-bit role. He is the one who keeps the humour alive in most parts of the film.

The elusive and touching music by Mikey McCleary takes the film a notch higher. With underplayed lighting and simple camera movement, the cinematography by Neha Parti Matiyani, which remains enclosed in the hospital for most part, looks good.

The film has an open-ended climax, leaving it to the audience to interpret the ending of the beautiful tale about life and learning while living it.

Film: Waiting
Director: Anu Menon
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Kalki Koechlin, Suhasini Maniratnam, Arjun Mathur, Rajat Kapoor
Rating: 3.5/5

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The Week

Topics : #review | #Bollywood

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