Waiting online movie review - A Heartfelt Masterpiece with exceptional performances from Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin
What is true love? Is it refusing to allow his better half's ventilator to be shut in hopes of a hopeless miracle despite knowing there's no chance of recovery from her coma -
- just to keep her alive and be around her -- or is it accepting the inevitable in letting her go without making her suffer anymore? Is it refusing to give consent to a surgery that might keep him alive post an accident that caused a severe brain injury -- but as a completely dependent person who would never return to his true physical self -- or giving him a chance to live again and be there for him unconditionally irrespective of what the spouse would have wanted her to decide? Sure, there's no definite answer and it's impossible to extrapolate or generalize about what exactly is love when your loved ones are going through a traumatic experience fighting to get back past all the insurmountable odds to live their life again and the one waiting for you to get better is left helpless with nothing much to do other than clinging on to their hopes.
This beautiful tragicomedy directly skillfully by Anu Menon with hard hitting exchanges mirrors that uncertainty so effectively through the eyes of an unlikely friendship formed between two people -- Shiv (Naseeruddin Shah) and Tara (Kalki Koechlin) ? who meets at a hospital waiting for their respective spouses to get better. Happening mostly inside a hospital in Kochi, Shiv has been waiting eight long months for his wife to get out of her coma and Tara has just flown down into Kochi with unimaginable shock from Mumbai knowing that her husband was in a terrible accident that caused him a critical brain injury. How Tara learns to cope up with the unexpected turn of events in her life from Shiv, while he himself is trying his best to not give up on his undying hope, forms most part of the movie. The premise might sound too depressing on paper, but it's unsentimental screenplay never lets itself degrade to a melodramatic soap opera, by bringing in dark humour and tremendously conceived poignant moments that looks straight out of life.
In a pivotal sequence when Tara is clueless on how to handle her helplessness and grief as her spouse is in the ICU, Shiv insights her on the five stages of long-term grief, which are as follows, i] denial (thinking yourself about why this is happening only to you without even bothering about the rest of the world), ii] anger (towards the whole world that's being nice to you for the sake of it), iii] hope (the unintimidated trust for a miracle even when things seem bleak and starts having faith in things which you've never believed in your entire life) iv] depression (when all hopes are lost and you're left with nothing but blank) v] acceptance (the moment you finally do the rightful thing when you have realized there's nothing better you could do but to let go and hope for the best or move on)
The above sequence reflects the whole idea of the movie so well and having gone through the same, I was able to relate and empathize with the protagonists completely. Combined with the powerhouse of recherché talents like Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin as the protagonists, it all becomes more compelling. The way the narrative constantly brings out the generation gap between the two protagonists too was outstanding. Watch out for the hilarious sequence when Tara explains to the clueless Shiv about what exactly is the purpose of using Twitter, which illustrates how today's -- our -- generation is way too dependent on social media.
While Naseeruddin Shah portrays the restrained senior citizen with all its dignity like a cakewalk, Kalki Koechlin portrays the free spirited, reckless young person who is addicted to social media with all the much needed vigour to perfection. The supporting cast too was convincing, especially Rajat Kapoor as the pragmatic doctor of the spouses of the protagonists who delivers a knockout performance.
Overall, this hopeful tour de force directed dexterously by Anu Menon with all the sensitivity that the premise demands -- after a forgettable debut (London Paris New York) -- is a must watch for the lovers of those unapologetic slice-of-life movies laced with humour and filled with poignant upliftedness -- which reminds us yet again that we're not alone in our tragedies -- with exceptional performances and exchanges. Being a sucker for such thought-provoking experiences myself, I loved it and was more than satisfied with its unfeigned conclusion which should reverberate in your minds even after the movie is over.