It’s rare to see a film, that has its own flaws, and yet seems much better than your usual, run of the mill movies, overstuffed by Bollywood. One does not expect to witness realism in a way that would keep one glued to their seats for the entire duration of the movie. But that’s precisely what Shoojit Sircar serves on the platter with his latest movie, ‘October’. It is not the flawless masterpiece, it is, and I say that in capital letters, A FLAWED, but BEAUTIFUL DELIGHT! So here is my honest review of Sircar’s ‘October’.
‘October’ Review: The basic premise:-
The basic premises of ‘October’ revolves around two hotel management students, Danish aka Dan [essayed by Varun Dhawan] and Shiuli [essayed by debutante Banita Sandhu], who are connected in an unusual manner after a freak accident [Going into extra details would bring out spoilers, sorry] lands the latter into a coma. Dan, who is sweet, but disgruntled and mostly irritated with his job, finds himself attached to her in a way even he finds difficult to imagine and how their relationship grows is what the movie is all about.
To be honest, though ‘October’ was a Shoojit Sircar movie, I was frankly not expecting much, given the gritty, sometimes dark theme of the movie. However, as usual, he proved us viewers wrong. Unlike the done to death horror stories we have to suffer in the name of romance, Shoojit lets the backdrop and the characters of the movie do the talking.
None of them is stereotyped, nothing is over the top, no extra masala or item songs have been stuffed into our brains, and the film, despite its initially slow pace, keeps you guessing plot till the end, precisely the thing one really needs in a good movie, something our so called filmmakers are yet to learn.
‘October’ Review: What’s Good:-
‘October’ is the movie which asks you to surrender to the plot. Yes, it does test your patience, but that’s what we go through, if tragedy strikes us. The depiction of Dan’s inner turmoil, as to how he cannot detach himself with Shiuli like her batchmates have, is something you don’t see often in a Bollywood movie, and especially not in a masala flick.
The supporting actors, just like Shoojit’s previous hits ‘Vicky Donor’ and ‘Piku’, have merged beautifully into the movie, making a mark of their own. From the medical staff at the hospital, where Shiuli is admitted after her accident, to Shiuli’s single mother, essayed surprisingly well by Gitanjali Rao, who has to deal with the tragedy all by herself, they create an impression that can’t be erased easily from one’s minds.
Another impressive factor in ‘October’ is undoubtedly the music. I’m not making this up, just like the trailer, ‘October’ is completely songless, and yet the background score is successful to keep the viewer glued to the seat, eagerly anticipating the next move.
One has to give hands down credit to the musician, Shantanu Moitra, for his soulful compositions, which includes the theme song as well. For the first time, a movie didn’t sound too boring or raucous because of its music.
‘October’ Review: What’s Awesome:-
The thing that sets ‘October’ apart as the first true movie of 2018 are its lead actors : Varun Dhawan and Banita Sandhu. For the first time, even after Badlapur, Varun Dhawan is not playing the typical Bollywood hero. He is irresistible as the sweet but irritating Dan, who is certainly the guy we have met once in either our schools or colleges.
The way he starts maturing post the terrible accident Shiuli, refusing to let go of her, even if it’s a futile exercise, is something not many people would have the courage to do. Yes, for a time, it looks as if Varun’s character has flaws, given his sudden attraction to Shiuli post accident, when they weren’t even the best of the buddies, but as we move deeper, we find that the character is designed the way we see, flawed but charming. Precisely the way real life is.
Another gem discovered by ‘October’ is the cute debutante, Banita Sandhu. It’s been years since I’ve seen an actress expressing her emotions beautifully, especially through the eyes, and Banita does just that. For a girl, who has a restricted role, mostly confined to either a bed or a wheelchair, the performance by Banita is a huge slap on the faces of those actresses, who cut a sorry figure when asked to act. In her restricted role, Banita has acted much more than what Anushka Sharma or Katrina Kaif can ever claim to act in their lives.
Also, Juhi Chaturvedi, the woman behind the beautiful scripts of ‘Vicky Donor’ and ‘Piku’, has done another fine job with the ‘October’. Though we don’t have brash comedy like her previous flicks, we do get a spontaneous dose of realistic humor, something we surely leaves a smile on our face, and makes us move out of the hall as a changed person.
October Review: What’s Bad:-
Yes, ‘October’ is also not without flaws. Though Juhi Chaturvedi has managed to weave a beautiful script, the plot takes time to develop, and not many cinemagoers would have the patience to surrender themselves to it. Had the plot deviated anymore, ‘October’ could very well have become another mind numbing disaster like ‘Roy!’, and we should be thankful that it didn’t happen so.
Another issue with this movie is its sometimes dark theme, which doesn’t suits well with the kind of escapist audiences that India is familiar with. ‘October’ does make you melancholic, but not many can digest this with ease. Also, the issue of moving to Manali, as shown in the trailer itself, is something completely incongruous and that which may district the moviegoers from the main premise.
All in all, ‘October’ is a movie, that may not be a masterpiece, but is certainly not a bore either, as some might claim. Had it not been for its minor flaws, ‘October’would’ve been a gamechanger for bold Indian cinema, but for now, it is a movie you should definitely not miss.
I’d rate ‘October’ 4/5 [4.5 if it were not for its tad slow plot and some tacky tidbits in between]