Waiting

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV/online (?)

quick review:

As much about D-day as it is about the smaller things that keep us going. A sweet DVD/TV watch when its out.

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Director: Anu Menon
Running time: 100 minutes
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The concept itself is so human. That of the waiting room in a hospital. That of caretakers waiting with bated breath for someone to care for. And this midst, two people in the waiting room befriend themselves. The most unlikely two people find connection in their grief. In fact, they befriend each other enough to bicker and pick a fight with each other.

I am really looking forward to watch Kalki Koechlin and Naseeruddin Shah together. It so turns out that I am out on a vacation when Waiting releases and will be able to watch it only after I am back, hopefully the following Monday. Yes, the vacation will be fun, but I still am pulled towards feeling a little bad that I am missing it on first day. Yes, I love my job!

- meeta, a part of the audience

As morbid as it sounds, I have instructions on what's to be done if I meet with an accident if I were to go into a coma. Exactly, for the reasons that Waiting ponders over – there is no right or wrong when you are at a point to choose between keeping hope alive and letting go. Waiting takes on both sides without making it heavy-handed or too emotional either. That does create a distance between the audience and the characters but it works for the film. Anything else would have run into the danger of going into cliché territory.

For example, you don't know much about Tara (Kalki Koechlin) or Shiv's (Naseeruddin Shah) relationships with their spouses. You are given glimpses here and there but not enough to make you feel like you knew it. It is more like a given. This causes the distance but if they were to pick the standard montage of sweet 'moments', it would take Waiting into 'typical' category. Else, they would have to spend a lot of time in exposition.

I will take a little disconnect till they figure out a newer way of telling us how good it was for the two couples. They are all regular people who have expected reactions to unexpected situations. No one gets extra character development or such. Interestingly though, a good and important introduction time is used for Tara's feminist side. We don't see that put to use anywhere? Why was it there then? To show us she speaks her mind? Well, we got that and Shiv elaborates on it too. Unfortunately, it comes across as a gimmick to shock.

Beyond that, in it's own sweet-yet-dull sort of a way, Waiting is not out there to create any great impact. There is no “coming-of-age”, there is no big reveal, no attempt at drama. That is why it stands out. A film about death and no drama!

In its larger scheme the film might be about death and dilemmas around it. But, it is also a subtler comment on other life philosophies – every person has to fight their own fight; loners who hate people need company too; fate isn't fair. A dash about our distrust of the medical system is thrown in too.

And then you have the more spelled out ones which I wish had taken a subtler route - like the stages of grief which read out like its Wikipedia page. No, Naseeruddin Shah as reader doesn't help.

Both lead actors are wonderful though, their chemistry feels very real. They are one of the main reasons, the film took me out of 'review' mode and made me forget I was watching a film. That and the soft tone, the smooth texture of the film. Unfortunately, some of the other elements reminded me back into the film world. like Tara's husband's colleague, Girish seemed like a caricature or Tara and Shiv's decisions didn't seem to flow with the pace of the film.

These are little things that take away from Waiting. They make a film that I loved watching while I was watching it not keeping with me for too long after.

- meeta, a part of the audience

18 reviewers(?) - 15 yays 3 so-so 0 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Anna MM Vetticad, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...Waiting is about some of the toughest decisions life can throw at us and about an unusual, heartwarming friendship. It is both sad and amusing, believable, well acted and very well told. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Not since Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox have I seen an Indie film addressing itself to the ageless issue of human desolation and individual grief with such warmth, dignity grace honesty and humour. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Sidhant Shori, Desi Martini : ...Simply put, Waiting is a good film. It’s plot is simple, slightly preachy but hits the audience in the right spot. This is only possible because of the stellar job done by Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin. Their acting truly brings their characters to life. While one may not always agree with them, it's not at all hard to empathize with them. Is Waiting a must watch? Probably not, but if you’re looking for something a little different than your usual Bollywood drama, then this may just fit the bill. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Krish Sripada, Desi Martini : ...With several undercurrents like whether she should call her hospitalized husband's parents who have been hostile because of the couple’s love marriage, the movie casts light on characters beautifully and with it offers a slightly, cynical outlook on the world. Yet, its eventual message is to override that cynicism for one's own sake. It is just as charming as, if not more, than Lunchbox, with two characters playing their roles beautifully. Naseeruddin shows why he is one of the best actors we have ever had, whether it is in his dance, in his grief, in his fortitude or in his dignity. The linen shirts add agree with him elegantly. Kalki, introduced smartly as someone who does a sanitary-napkin ad to use her social-media reach for something good, continues to pick brilliant scripts emerging as one of the most unconventional actresses in Bollywood. A movie worth watching! ... full review

Thumbs up, by Harshada Rege, DNA : ...Watch this sensitive tale for Naseer and Kalki's brilliant performances. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Ushnota Paul, Filmfare : ...Waiting was never about finding out what happens to the ailing spouses but about the journey of the two who patiently waited for them to recover.... full review

Thumbs up, by Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.com : ...Even with bit roles, Suhasini Mani Ratnam (making her debut in Bollywood) and Arjun Mathur come to haunt you. Never have flashbacks been used to tell a story so beautifully. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Sweta Kaushal, Hindustan Times : ...Powerful performances and a realistic approach make this a film you’d want to watch. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Surabhi Redkar, koimoi : ...Waiting is a delightful film that breaks the norms of soppy emotional dramas to present something real. For the stellar performances by Kalki and Naseerduddin Shah, I am going with a 3.5/5 for the film. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Shubha Shetty-Saha, MiD DAY : ...Shah is absolutely brilliant as Shiv. You watch him with awe as he goes around playing the doting husband who puts his life's savings and all his emotions up to save his wife's life. His frustrations, helplessness and hope in the face of tragedy is so palpable that you want to reach out and hug him. We are lucky to have an actor of his calibre in our midst. Kalki is natural and perfectly suited for the role that she plays. But one would have liked a little more sagacity in the way she gets into this complex role. It is to Menon's credit that the peripheral cast is near perfect.... full review

Thumbs up, by Jaidev Hemmady, Movie Talkies : ...Though the climax is slightly confusing as the reasons behind the decisions taken by the lead characters has not been explained properly, 'Waiting' is one touching and pleasant fare. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Waiting is beautiful and believable, a well-chiselled marvel that is watchable all the way. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Menon’s true triumph lies in how she doesn’t vilify a profession or its uncomfortable reality to gather empathy for her characters. Nor does she berate Kalki’s self-absorbed friend (Ratnabali Bhattarcharjee) for excusing herself to attend to her own. They’re just ordinary people caught up in their fast-paced lives. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...Waiting manages to stand on its own emotional ground and gently reiterates the one thing we all know and would have experienced at some point in time: the agonising fragility and precariousness that comes as a package deal with life.... full review

Thumbs up, by Mohar Basu, Times of India : ...However, the writing wears thin in the latter half. Shiv's big revelation was unnecessary and the writers seemed unsure how to end it for Tara. And yet, none of it matters. For Kalki and Naseer's effortless performances, this movie deserves to be watched. ... full review

So-So, by Moumita Bhattacharjee, Bollywood Life : ...Waiting deserves to be seen only for the stellar performances by Shah and Kalki. Rest is forgettable. ... full review

So-So, by RAJEEV MASAND, FirstPost : ...Despite its problems – and there are a few – Waiting is well worth your time. It sags post intermission, and the plotting is weak. But it raises important questions about life, love, and letting go. Plus there are those two splendid performances. That’s plenty to merit a viewing. I’m going with three out of five. ... full review

So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...The film deserves a watch for being one that doesn't try too hard and for its approach to an extreme situation. Sure, there's a lot of sobbing, resentment and much of 'what if' and 'I should have'. But there's also reasoning, acceptance and the ability to envision a life beyond the catastrophic event. ... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

2 readers - 1 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

Want to Watch, by TimELiebe : More Like "Mildly Curious to Watch"

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Arati Thakur : Must watch if you have the philosophical side in you and very well performed by the actors.

So-So, by Fan

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: Lots of abusive language
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A few lip-to-lips.
  • Concept: The decisions that dear ones have to make when a person goes into coma.
  • General Look and Feel: Hospital white. Something very sanitary and yet ominous about it.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Direction:
Story:
Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Dialogues:
Screenplay:
Music Director:
Lyrics:

Waiting - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Director:
Dialogues:
Running time:
100 minutes
Reviewer:
Language:
Country:

Comments (9)

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Fan

Whoever said that watching films on holidays/vacation is banned?

:-)

Just joking. Enjoy your holidays.

@Fan ha ha ha ha ha...actually have done that on some holidays. You wouldn't know though, would you? ;)

This once, Most likely no theaters in the place I am going to :D

Is this another one of those little pictures Naseeruddin Shah does between blockbusters, like Ishqiya...?

@TimELiebe Yep!

Arati Thakur

Loved the movie, music, the actors portrayed the roles perfectly. Great Job!

Fan

After watching the film I am left with a mixed feeling - was it a great film or was it alright. I will settle for alright, even though the first half of the film had me completely immersed into the story and the lives of the two main characters.

Where they lost me was the second half - with the same "waiting" game continuing without any feeling of progressing. I suppose it is part and parcel of the film, to make the audience realize how mundane and dreary the things get once one comes to terms with the reality.

Performances are top notch from Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki.

The subject treated is also nice, how an individual (or individuals) come to terms between the love of a dear + near one; AND the commercial nature of medical care providers (corporate hospitals and insurances). Even though the film was careful to not show explicitly the pure business approach of the doctors and hospitals, as an audience we can connect very well to the fact that the people who are supposed to care for us are taking the maximum advantage of the situation to further their economic goals.

Welcome change to see Kochi (Cochin) as the base of the film instead of the regular Mumbai setting. Would have expected / loved to see a sunset kind of scene along the coast - a la Anand (Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye) with the leading character in a reflective mood.

Overall a nice soft watch, even though could get a bit repetitive in the second half. The "A" certificate is awarded most probably because of too much use of f**k and d**k in the dialogues, plus a last minute sprinkling of a few lip to lip.

Fan

Couldn't help sharing this anecdote that happened to me today.

An acquaintance's close family member is recently admitted to hospital and is currently in critical condition. Hopefully things will improve soon. When I enquired the health of the patient, he told me that the doctors have said that the next 48 hours are critical. If nothing serious happens in the next 48 hours then the danger would be over.

:-8

Those who have watched the film will know why I have shared this anecdote here.

@Fan Hope all's well. Yeah, that is when the waiting begins.

Fan

@Meeta: yes, all's well. Thanks for your concern. I made the remark more for the "next 48 hours" part. I had not realized that it is so common amongst the medical fraternity. I had to suppress the smile when they used the words "next 48 hours are critical".

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