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‘Waiting’ review: Kalki and Naseeruddin Shah are brilliant in this poignant tale about grief

Film: Waiting

Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Kalki Koechlin, Rajat Kapoor, Suhasini Mani Ratnam and Arjun Mathur

Director: Anu Menon

What it’s about
Tara (Kalki), a fiercely independent girl, has to rush from Mumbai to Cochin when she gets the news that her husband Rajat (Arjun Mathur) has met with a car accident and is in a coma. At the hospital she meets Shiv (Naseeruddin Shah) whose wife has been in a coma for eight months. The two strike an unlikely friendship. While doctors are urging Shiv to take his wife off life support, Tara is in two minds whether to go ahead with a surgery that may affect her husband’s quality of life to a great extent. The two fight their battles while lending support to each other.

What’s good
When you have performers like Naseer and Kalki half your battle is won. The director (Anu) brings out the difference in their characters and the generation gap between them effectively. In one scene, Kalki rants about how none of her Facebook friends or Twitter followers are there for her when she needs them the most. Naseer thinks for a moment and then innocently asks her, ‘What’s Twitter?’ Tara calls it a noticeboard where people react to your posts. The director subtly points to the false sense of belonging, popularity and friendships that such platforms generate.

Naseer’s Shiv is hopeful to the point of being stubborn. His knowledge comes from reading medical journals, which leave him convinced that his wife will get better. After watching Naseer in Teraa Surroor, it’s a pleasure to see him roll up his sleeves and immerse himself into something that’s worth his calibre. The director offers glimpses of humour in mundane or slightly difficult acts like when a doctor (Rajat Kapoor) teaches his junior the correct posture, expressions and gestures to be used while conveying bad news to the patients. While Suhasini and Arjun don’t have a lot of screen time, they remain with you even after the movie ends.

What’s not
The second half of the movie is rather long with the narrative becoming slightly stagnant. The writing wears thin in parts here. The movie does require you to be patient, but it’s a rewarding experience.

What to do
Watch this sensitive tale for Naseer and Kalki’s brilliant performances.


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