Magazine article Screen International

'Waiting': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Waiting': Review

Article excerpt

India's past clashes with its mouthy, impatient present in Anu Menon's appealing drama Waiting, which pairs experienced Bollywood old-timer Naseeruddin Shah with Kalki Koechlin (so impressive in Margarita With A Straw). Superficially, this may look like a progression of 2013's The Lunchbox, but Menon swerves romance to make a pointed commentary about the gulfs between Old India and its privileged, connected young.

Moving freely between Hindi and English, Waiting takes place at a hospital's intensive care unit where two lives hang in the balance. Despite its brisk pace and lush production values, this is by no means a chipper milieu and any resistance Waiting's distributor Shoreline will face is in its downbeat subject matter. Yet this Waiting is a universal film: this could be any hospital, in any country, with the Kochin setting simply adding rich flavour and more dramatic contrasts - the slow South of India, where Mumbai hipster Tara Kapoor (Koechlin) is summoned after her new husband is involved in a life-threatening accident.

The film, however, starts out with a fellow habitue of the hospital: the staid, cricket-loving Professor Shiv Natraj (Naseeruddin Shah), so knowledgeable now about medical matters that he's easily mistaken for a doctor. His beloved wife has been hooked up to a ventilator for eight months and there seems to be no hope left.

Tara and Shiv form a friendship based on grief, but she's difficult to be around even as her struggle is understandable - Tara has abandoned her family in search of a new India, and embraced her friends and Twitter as her new clan. …

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