“What is true love,” Kalki Koechlin’s Tara Kapoor asks Naseeruddin Shah’s Professor Shiv Natraj. The question might seem childish, but in their situation, the answer will decide their lives.
Is it taking away your wife’s ventilator support as doctors states she can’t come back to life after eight months in coma or is it not letting doctors operate on your husband because he’ll end up dependent forever – a choice he would never like?
And that is Waiting for you, a movie about love, life and their complexities, subtly portrayed on screen by Anu Menon, and brilliantly so.
The movie sees two strangers – Tara and Shiv – who develop a heartwarming bond as they struggle through the long wait for their spouses to recuperate in a hospital. Directed and written by Menon, the movie is a warm narrative about an otherwise heart-rending situation that Bollywood would love turning into an unending melodramatic trip.
Shiv has been in the hospital for eight months fostering hopes that his wife, Pankaja (Suhasini Mani Ratnam), will wake up from her coma and lead a normal life with him again. While Tara comes to the hospital after her husband Rajat (Arjun Mathur) suffers a serious brain injury in a road accident.
Shiva and Tara represting two different sides of human nature, she is a feisty, often foul-mouthed, passionate, vibrant, impetuous, flashy, attractive and young, Shiva brings with him age, wisdom and calmness. With charming dialogues such as,“Malls represent everything that is wrong with us” and “What is Twitter? A notice board”, Manon plays upon this disparity.
In the end, Waiting urges for a life full of faith and laughter against all odds, but it also shows the troughs one must go through, especially when tragedy strikes.
The movie does come off a bit didactic, but those moments are rare. And in an age of fast-moving storylines, this follows a leisurely pace.
Menon captures deep philosophies of life in extremely subtle moments. For instance, an innocent discussion on social media talks of the vainness of having 1,500 Facebook friends and 5,000 Twitter followers if not a single person is present in times of need. Another such instance is when a senior doctor (Rajat Kapoor) teaches a junior how to deliver bad news to patients.
Waiting is about some of the toughest decisions life can throw at us and about an unusual, heartwarming friendship. It is sad and amusing, believable, well acted and very well told.
Packaged with Naseeruddin as the adorable old man struggling to understand a younger generation and Kalki as the charming young, energetic woman, Waiting is a pleasure.
Powerful performances and a realistic approach make this a film you’d want to watch.
Director: Anu Menon
Cast: Kalki Koechlin, Naseeruddin Shah, Rajat Kapoor