Directed by Shoojit Sircar, October is a drama starring Varun Dhawan & newbie Banita Sandhu. Dan played by Varun Dhawan is a perplexingly lost character who's on a constant look out for Shiuli played by Banita. After an unforeseeable turn of events in both of their lives, Dan and Banita find an internal awakening in a story w...more
Directed by Shoojit Sircar, October is a drama starring Varun Dhawan & newbie Banita Sandhu. Dan played by Varun Dhawan is a perplexingly lost character who's on a constant look out for Shiuli played by Banita. After an unforeseeable turn of events in both of their lives, Dan and Banita find an internal awakening in a story which is about love but not a love story. less
“For the emotional journey it takes you on, Octobers deserves to be ‘felt’”
Here is the thing about life. You sometimes hate it when it inflicts pain, you are taken aback when it makes you stand in front of a situation you have no clue what to do about and you cling on to hope to not to lose something that's precious to you, but in its most practical and simplified form, you simply live it the way it is. If Shoojit Sircar's October is to be put into words, that's all that can be said about can be about it. October portrays life with such a ruthless reality that it almost feels unreal. The story is actually quite simple. Danish or Dan is hotel management trainee who is a lost soul and a headache of his manager, given apart from asking question and airing his arcane opinions, he is not really able to do anything properly and is hardly bothered about it. Sheuli, who is also trainee and someone Dan somewhat harbours a on, is exactly the opposite. She is smart, dilligent and has a bright career ahead of her. However, Sheuli during New Year’s Eve meets with a freak accident that leaves little hope of her survival. A reluctant Dan visits her at the hospital and keeps coming back until it becomes the only purpose of his life, to the point of becoming a self-destructive obsession. Varun Dhawan as the perpetually irritated loser is a revelation. Seeing him pulling off this character with multiple layers of idiosyncrasies and perplexities renders him almost unrecognisable. He brings a naivety to the role that touches you and yet almost make you want to shake him by his shoulders and jolt him out of this reverie. He blends into the fabric of the film so seamlessly that it is impossible to see the 'hero' Varun Dhawan as we know him. Praise must be reserved for actress Gitanjali Rao who essays the character of Sheuli's mother, Professor Vidya Iyer. Her performance as the grieving mother who also has to go by her life and keep the life going for her other two kids on track is portrait of nuanced acting prowess. She is scared, helpless and greived to see her daughter turn into a vegetable yet is able to teach her class at IIT Delhi and have a calm discussion on whether to pull the plug of the life support which now keeps Sheuli alive with her deceased husband's brother who is adamantly impatient about taking the pragmatic decision. She cries, wipes her own tears but never once gives up on the fight. Banita Sandhu who debuts with October has a challenging task at hand. Firstly it takes courage to chose this script for debut and although many might be of the opinion that she didn't have much to do in the film, I personally would like to disagree. Although lifeless for the greater part of the film, she still remains to be the soul of the venture.
Surprisingly, some of the best scenes are the ones with Dan and and Sheuli's mother. It a heartfelt portrayal of raw human connection that is seldom found in Bollywood films
Coming to direction, the film has Shoojit Sircar written all over it. With October he has tried to create something that is almost unheard of in Bollywood, and even though it feels a tad self-indulgent filmmaking in bits, it is an attempt and approach that deserves an applause. He has managed to create a world that is heavy yet delicate with an unabashed melancholic spirit. What could have become a dark, grim and seriously depressing affair, or a melodramatic sob fest, under his expertise comes across as heart wrenchingly humane. In an industry which runs on romance it is actually a herculean task tell a love story that is unheard of, but Shoojit Sircar manages to crack it with October, which he in his interviews have aptly described as not a love story but a story about love. Apart from the love story, the way he has balanced out the tragedy with mundanity of life even at its unexpected worse, is perhaps the strongest aspect of the film.
The film, which has no song, is ably supported by a background score composed by Shantanu Moitra and Anupam Roy which helps enormously contributes to keep the tone of the film intact. Cinematographer Avik Mukhopadhay also deserves a huge chunk of the credit to maintain the tone of melancholy throughout without it ever reaching the point of frustration. The film wants you to feel choked up and emotional but is too nuanced to present itself as a tear jerker. The shots of changing seasons, flowers and Delhi is not something we have not seen before, but as they say the difference between classic and cliche lies in the execution, which in this case leaves little room for complaints.
The pace of the film might be a deterrent for many, but then again it is the brush with which the mundane and melancholic picture is drawn and thus seemed justified. It is hard to pass a verdict on October, as more than a movie it is an experience that goes beyond the tenets of like and dislike. One can only feel it and if there is at all a way to express how October makes you feel, the only word that comes closest is cathartic.