Waiting' Well Worth the Wait
A film starring Naseeruddin Shah is such a rarity now that one can wait for it till eternity
But in this film even his diehard supporters will admit that he has been overshadowed by the young and beautiful Kalki Koechlin. And that’s a compliment very few actresses can get.
That is not the only confusion about ‘Waiting’ produced by Anu Menon Critics are divided on whether to call a film shot entirely in a hospital with two people waiting for their comatose spouses to come out of their status ,a comedy or a tragedy.
The angry young man of the seventies Naseer is cool even though his wife has been in this swanky Kochi hospital for eight months without any signs of revival. But he visits her regularly offers coffee to the nurses with a smile and reads out books to his wife
And then enters Kalki whose newly married spouse is in the ICU having met with an accident. Not used to hearing No in life she creates a ruckus in the serene hospital till she is allowed to see her husband
She is angry that even though she has thousands of followers on Twitter and likes on her Facebook posts not a single of them turned up to be with her in this hour of personal crisis.
The retired professor Naseer who does not know what Twitter is,talks her up telling her that she would get used to this after some time because this is entirely’ your tragedy ‘and no one else is affected by it
The whole film revolves around this beautiful relationship if one can call it so, between a tantrum throwing Kalki and a dedicated husband of 40 years who claims he knows more the comatose patients than all the doctors put together .
The film is laced with very subtle humour most of which goes over the head of the limited audiences who watched the film as they are in English. The film is actually tri lingual Hindi, English and partly Malayalee because the nurses speak that language
While the fate of the two patients in the hospital shows no change even after the first crucial 48 hours, it is the growth of two attendants that is moving.
Like when the first time Naseer says ‘Oh Shit’ Kalki smiles and tells him ‘that sounds odd coming from you.’ He replies ‘Ok so you want me to say Stool will that be better’ such dialogues can only be imagined in a hospital but they do mark a growth.
On the other hand Kalki learns to grow up and conquer the tragedy that has ended her few moths of marital bliss.She learns to become a Zen, as she calls Naseer, for his seemingly calm exterior.
But even he is human. He loses his temper when the doctors team led by another super actor Rajat Kapoor ,refuse to operate on his wife even though he carries reports from international journals to prove that patients in coma have been revived.
On the other hand Kalki is not prepared to permit the operation on her husband as it would turn him into a vegetable status because her husband who has been a gym freak would not like to lead such a life.
There are questions of medical ethics involved .Doctors are looked upon as Gods by the patients and they have to perform that role because God will not take the rounds of the hospitals Rajat Kapoor tells his team of doctors.
And then one night changes everything Tired of fighting doctors and nurses every day the two attendants decide to have a drink and spend the night dining and dancing in his apartment
In the last frame both appear reconciled to the fate the doctors have ordained for them.
They let the doctors decide their fate and live with their memories for ever as the past has gone into a permanent coma.
Or does the director want us to believe that they have decided to permanently delete the past and live with the choices they have?
When the audiences walk out of the theatre some questions remain unanswered. But do all questions have answers?
Anu Menon won the best Director award at the London Asian Film Festival for ‘Waiting’ but it's a film that will get publicity by way of mouth .