The movie Waiting has Naseeruddin Shah, Kalki Koechlin, and Rajat Kapoor in major roles. Now, with a star cast like that, it would be safe to assume the movie would be one wow-i-don’t-have-any-words-movie. Alas! It is not.
The story is set in Cochin, where Naseeruddin Shah is a professor. His wife is in a coma for the past eight months and he visits her every day. He knows all the doctors, and the nurses, the cleaning staff in the hospital and greets them every day.
They do the same. Cut to the next scene when Kalki, or Tara in the movie, is informed that her husband has been in a terrible accident in Cochin and that she has to fly out immediately. Normally, this should have been a smooth transition for viewers.
But the cut is so crude and unarranged that it leaves the viewer perplexed, as to what happened. It has no relation to the previous scene and to Naseeruddin Shah’s character and story.
Naseeruddin Shah’s character is wonderfully calm and composed, which he aptly. After a marriage of 40 years, when his wife is ill and in a coma, he waits obediently for her to wake up and recognize him one day.
And this goes on. Because he has, as he later says in the movie, accepted that his wife is in the coma, a vegetative state from where perhaps she will wake up someday. Somehow, deep in his heart, he knows that is a bit difficult.
Yet he hopes. And keeps that alive by reading to her, by talking to her, which is more cliche than Bollywood heroes singing at the drop of their hats.
As far as Kalki’s role is concerned, for a woman who has just been told that her husband has been in an accident, she is wonderfully calm and composed throughout the movie. If the director Anu Menon has given Kalki’s character this strength deliberately, she may have erred there.
Because anyone who hears of a loved one, a husband or a lover particularly, getting hurt will be restless and uneasy no matter how strong they are. That lacks.
The seriousness of the movie, especially when it is set in the backdrop of two patients being in coma and two people waiting for them to come out, is lacking. That, however, adds to the charm of the movie and creates some wonderful and easy-going moments which bring a much-needed smile to the plot.
But these smiles seem so wrong for this movie somehow. A misfit. Not only that, these smiles and lighter moments again are misplaced. Now, do not misunderstand me here. The shot is beautiful and the acting leaves you spellbound, but they just do not fit in the movie at the places that they have been dropped. It does not disappoint you, it just leaves you wanting for more, but not at that moment.
The movie is supposed to be the story of two strangers who seek support in each other when they cannot do anything else. That Shiv Natraj, or Naseeruddin and Tara Kapoor aka Kalki Koechlin, manage to execute very well and do support each other.
But it all together does not support the movie. The movie is like reading short stories, which are written very very well but have no connections with each other whatsoever. Each frame is as good as the other. Each scene stands out. But all of it put together looks like a montage, an album which is clicked over different time and place.