You can’t help but get excited when you see brilliant actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin who gave us masterpieces like A Wednesday and Margarita with a straw respectively, come together in a drama that promised a profound introspection. Well, this is not the first time we saw them work together. They were last seen as co-actors in 2011 in Anurag Kashyap’s heart-wrenching thriller The Girl in Yellow Boots which never made it to mainstream cinema.
They were last seen as co-actors in 2011 in Anurag Kashyap’s heart-wrenching thriller The Girl in Yellow Boots which never made it to mainstream cinema.
Directed by Anu Menon, Waiting attempts to define the fragility of life and our ability to accept the inevitable. Naseeruddin Shah’s wife has been comatose for eight months with bleak chances of ever waking up and leading a normal life. Being a loving husband, he visits his wife every day, staying by her side, reading to her and talking to her about his life. He becomes such a regular presence in the hospital that the staff now treat him with the same reverence as the resident doctors. He asks them about their families and comforts them like a father figure. He symbolises a person who has survived through all the stages of a personal tragedy as he puts it in his own way – “There are different stages to this – Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally Acceptance.” Although he doesn’t want to give up on his wife, somewhere in his heart he has accepted the fact that she may never come back.
“There are different stages to this – Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally Acceptance.”
Kalki Koechlin, on the other hand, is portrayed to be a staunch feminist who has rebelled against her family and married for love. She learns from her husband’s firm that while in Cochin for a sales-pitch, he was in an accident and was severely injured. Devastated by the news, she finds herself late in the night in an empty hospital, helplessly waiting for someone to affirm that her husband will live. As she wanders the deserted corridors, she notices Shah working on some papers in a corner. Assuming him to be a doctor, she joins him at his table hoping for some much needed support. Shah tells her his side of the story and how he has coped with it for almost a year after almost forty years of togetherness. She realises that this stranger may be the only person in the world who would understand what she was going through.
Waiting has bits of profundity and bits of unwarranted comedy. Although it has been promoted as a comedy drama, the integration could have been a lot better. The quips and mannerisms that are aimed at showing the comic aspect of social interaction, end up creating an imbalance in the overall mood of the film thus diluting the intended impact of the situation and the characters. There are several scenes that had no business being in the film like the very first one where Koechlin is showing a sanitary napkin ad which she starred in, to a couple of friends who later make fun of her. Then there was a scene where one doctor teaches how to pretend to be sad and concerned while delivering bad news to patients. Dear makers of the film, we already got that idea clearly enough from the several scenes in which a “fixed script” is repeated by more than one doctor. Such disjointed scenes only project a sense of bad editing and pose a distraction from the central theme, so much so that after repeatedly breaking the mood of the moment, the audience stops caring about the sentiments of the main characters .
At the same time the extent of waiting would not only depend on what you are waiting for but also on the degree of change its absence would bring in your own life. This thin line differentiating unconditional love and self preservation is one of the key elements portrayed well in the film
However, this film has its heart in the right place. The universal truth that everyone is waiting for something is conveyed well. At the same time the extent of waiting would not only depend on what you are waiting for but also on the degree of change its absence would bring in your own life. This thin line differentiating unconditional love and self-preservation is one of the key elements portrayed well in the film. Waiting is a genuine attempt in its genre but lacks the finesse which could have made it a classic!
gobblpoint: Apart from the quirky chemistry between Shah and Koechlin, watch it to explore the uncharted territory of comedy drama in Indian cinema.
Disclaimer: The image used in this post is the sole property of the makers of this film and is not owned by us in any form whatsoever.