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Movie Review: October

Banners: Rising Sun Films, Kino Works

Producers: Ronnie Lahiri, Sheel Kumar

Director: Shoojit Sircar

Cast: Varun Dhawan, Banita Sandhu, Gitanjali Rao

Writer: Juhi Chaturvedi

Music: Shantanu Moitra, Anupam Roy, Abhishek Arora

There have been movies made about two people falling in love. There have been movies made where one person falls in love with another but the latter has no interest in him/her at all.

Then, there are love stories with twists and turns, and now, a movie that keeps you guessing – is the lead pair in love? Still, the feeling lingers throughout the film. And, that’s because the film has been conceived, written and portrayed with excellent performances by one and all.

October is a rare movie in Indian cinema. Each and every scene is so real that you instantly connect with the film. The connection is so strong that the movie stays with you long after you leave the auditorium. That’s how impactful October is.

The film is simple, real and hits home big time. The narrative may be slow but that does not bother you at all! The film is simply brilliant. After his last directorial Piku, Shoojit Sircar and writer Juhi Chaturvedi have returned with another slice-of-life drama that invokes a kaleidoscope of emotions in his subtle style. 

The film is about Danish Walia, fondly called Dan, who is a trainee at a five-star hotel in Delhi. His life surrounds his friends and colleagues at the hotel, one of whom is Shiuli Iyer. Then, a tragedy strikes, which changes everyone’s life. What follows forms the crux of the film. 

Even though the film has been written by Sircar along with Chaturvedi, you realise that there was very little actual writing involved. And, that’s the brilliance of the film, which creates packages of moments, thanks to the genius of Sircar and Chaturvedi.

Sometimes, a single moment can change your life. That moment changes the way you look at everything. That’s what October is about – moments. And, every moment has been beautifully conceptulised and portrayed on the big screen. The movie revolves around the characters and an experience they have. 

After Vicky Donor, Piku and now October, there is no denying that ‘subtlety’ is the middle name of Shoojit Sircar. The scenes in the film with Varun Dhawan and Banita Sandhu or the ones with Gitanjali Rao, who plays Sandhu’s mother in the movie, are imbued with emotion but they don’t overwhelm you, like most dramas tend to.

The story flows so effortlessly that you glide through the story as it unfolds on the screen, even though the climax is a little predictable. Sircar expertly interrupts the flow of his story for his one major shocker that is nothing short of jaw-dropping.

Another major plus about October is the way humour is injected and the realistic charm with which it has been executed. Chaturvedi gets points again for making sure that the straight-faced lines are so casually spoken that they coax the audience to laugh. The writer and the maker have managed to show humour in situations that are not funny, without compromising the sensitivity of the scene, which is a treat to watch.

While there is something beautifully serene about October, which will feed the minds of cinema lovers who crave out-of-the-box stories from Bollywood, it is difficult to see it as appealing to the masses. 

Sircar has made sure that the central character, with his surly behaviour and brutal truths blended with innocent charm, is relatable to the audience. But, the understated relationship he has with Shiuli, her family, why he is affected the way he is, is not something that everyone will grasp. The only time the makers detour from this subtlety is when they explain the significance of the title October

Apart from the direction, writing and performances, there are a few other elements that make this film exquisite. First, its cinematic beauty captured by cinematographer Avik Mukhopadhayay in his natural shots. Second, the theme of October composed by Shantanu Moitra, which perfectly serenades this song-less story of love.

Known to choose his cast aptly, Sircar has pulled off a coup which is not starry, barring the lead actor of course, but is just the right mix of strong performers.

Performance-wise, Varun Dhawan as Dan is so effortless that his words, gestures and essence remain with you even after the film ends. He delivers his best and proves that he has matured as an actor. Debutante Banita Sandhu makes her presence felt with her expressions and is excellent. Gitanjali Rao is a class apart, with her quiet but powerful talent. Nimmi Raphael is excellent. Esha Chaturvedi is very good. Sahil Vadolia is good. Prateek Kapoor is decent. The other supporting cast is strong as well, providing the right backbone for the film.

Verdict: Simply outstanding! A must watch film! 

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