Reel Caregiving: Glimpses of Caregiving – Waiting

Movie Review Courtesy: Abeer Syed

Waiting is a 2015 Indian drama film revolving around Tara, a young vibrant married woman and Shiv, an elderly professor. The two strangers develop a heartwarming bond as they battle through their inner struggles while their respective spouses are admitted to the hospital.

Shiv waits patiently for 8 months for his comatose wife to recover despite the negative evaluations of her recovery from her doctors. He is optimistic about her recovery and cannot stand the thought of taking her off the ventilator. He wants her to live, and he is willing to risk anything that comes his way. Tara, on the other hand, is unable to process her husband’s accident. She is seen constantly filled with anger and bitterness.

Tara expresses her frustration aimed at her friends for not being with her and for their unsolicited advice. She feels abandoned and alone. She eventually begins to find her strength in Shiv as he guides her through the five stages of grief. Shiv, with his wisdom and years of experience, is able to reach out to her despite their opposing nature. They begin to spend more time together, coping with their grief, and just going through life one day at a time.

Eventually, they come to a crossroads where Tara has to decide the fate of her husband. The doctor suggests surgery but she is unsure. She believes that he won’t be happy if his quality of life decreases because of the surgery. This angers Shiv as he was never given the option to save his wife’s life. They fight and drift apart. Shiv labors away trying to find options to save his wife. Simultaneously, Tara’s decision of opting out of the surgery is not taken well by the doctor.

Shiv and Tara eventually make up and spend a heartfelt moment where they each come to personal realizations. Tara succumbs to agreeing to the surgery while Shiv finally takes his wife off the ventilator. The movie ends with a shot of the two waiting in the hospital lounge.

The movie successfully exhibits unique methods of expressing grief. Tara’s grief is expelled in the form of anger and frustration whilst Shiv has a calmer and thoughtful approach. The movie takes us on a journey through the five stages of grief through these characters. The highlight in this movie would be a dialogue Shiv says to Tara, “This is your grief Tara, yours alone!”. There is no correct way to grieve. The only grief process you should focus on is your own.

Overall, the movie ‘Waiting’ highlights the struggle faced by people when their family members are in critical condition. The helplessness, desperation, and frustration that caregivers feel are accurately portrayed by the movie.

In our next segment on Reel Caregiving, we will explore caregiving in another movie. Watch this space.

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