Waiting is beautiful and believable, a well-chiselled marvel that is watchable all the way. It is elevated several notches by the two central performances. Naseeruddin Shah, effortless and characteristically effective, is an epitome of Zen master-like poise. Kalki Koechlin, in the garb of a far more temperamental figure, provides the ideal foil, adding immensely to the emotional depth of the tale and heightening the conflict between two unlike poles. Kudos are also due to director Anu Menon for creating an authentic Kochi milieu with the aid of minor characters who nail the local accent without turning into caricatures.
It is commendable that director Anu Menon has whipped up a warm tale about love, loss and surviving life's catastrophic blows, with such simplicity. The layered screenplay poses some thought-provoking queries. However, the writing wears thin in the latter half. And yet, none of it matters. For Kalki and Naseer's effortless performances, this movie deserves to be watched.
What’s Good: How beautifully an emotional story is conveyed minus forced drama or tear-jerking content! What’s Bad: A better work with the cinematography could have been good since the movie hardly moves beyond the hospital scenes, keeping Cochin’s beauty at bay. Watch or Not?: Waiting is a clear sign of mint-fresh direction. Lovable and relatable characters etched into a fine story makes this one a great slice of a life film!
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. Stuck in a loop, it’s a privilege Tara and Shiv don’t have as they take refuge in anticipation till crisis has its closure and memories turn into nostalgia.
Two people, waiting. This is an apt one-line description of a film about life, lasting love and impending loss which explores a zone Bollywood doesn’t bother with. Which is itself so refreshing that you want to champion the attempt, as well some of the outcome, even if it doesn’t hit all the marks, all the way. Kalki is a persuasive performer, making us watch, even if she comes off abrupt and forced in bits but that’s more to do with the way the part has been written. Naseer comes off best, and that figures because he has the most life experience. He brings a quiet dignity and heart-breaking resilience to his character.
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. Powerful performances and a realistic approach make this a film you’d want to watch.