The ambiguity in Shoojit Sircar's October is its biggest enemy as you spend two hours waiting to find the message being conveyed and then get disappointed. Varun Dhawan is the star of this tragic drama where he plays a dim-witted but innocent young man working as a hospitality intern at a 5-star hotel. It is when one of his co-workers, played by newcomer Banita Sandhu, slips from the terrace of the hotel and finds herself in a coma that the film starts talking to you. I like how director Sircar and writer Juhi Chaturvedi take a slow-paced approach at storytelling, not revealing much about the characters while at it. In that regard, the film is an unfolding of Dhawan's character, which I should mention reveals Dhawan's acting skills to some extent. I don't know how he signed up for this, but in lines similar to Sriram Raghavan's Badlapur (2015), he puts up a mature and demanding show, stealing the limelight all the way. October, therefore, is a film solely made to showcase his talent as an actor and tell a bland story from the side skirts. Sandhu is bedridden for most part so there's nothing to see there, but the supporting cast do a decent job. I also appreciate the nostalgic tone of the entire movie, which sets up the mood for the drama that unfolds. October also tries to showcase how words can mean a lot even when they are uttered in regular dialogue, and for that, it gets 4 stars from me. I still cannot forgive it for almost putting me to sleep. TN.
Varun shines in October
Shoojit Sircar’s October has the combination of Juhi Chaturvedi’s empathetic writing and Varun Dhawan’s superlative restrained performance. The film may not have many elements of laughter, joy, celebration, music etc. but it shares a story which is full of human values. The emotions which are tapped in the film are that of sadness, grief, loss etc. The best part about the film is that Shoojit and Juhi never lose the track and insert any amount of exaggeration in the film. The tone of the film stays consistent. Yes, the pace may seem to be slow, but then, that is how life also moves when stuck in tragedy. The film takes an emotional leap towards the end. Another good part of the film is that the screenplay very clearly talks about certain human values viz. how important it is to be selfless when somebody is going through tough phase in his or her life; deeds devoid of any concrete results in sight or expectations are also important. The film can be summed up in one-liner, but the beauty of the film lies in how Juhi has captured the complexities of life, love, grief, death in a soulful manner. October may not appeal to you if your entertainment is linked to moments of laughter, but it would certainly touch your heart.
Danish aka Dan (Varun Dhawan) and Shiuli (Banita Sandhu) are colleagues as management trainee in a five star hospital. Dan does not enjoy being trapped in mundane tasks. He keeps sharing with his colleagues and friends that he wants to own a restaurant. Shuili meets with an accident. Though she survives the accident, she slips into coma and she lies on bed simply like a vegetable. Dan and Shiuli were mere colleagues, their relationship was not at all explored prior to the accident. Shiuli’s last dialogue of her enquiry about Dan with her friend makes Dan wonder, why she was asking about him. This initially pulls him to hospital to Shiuli, but later on, he unconditionally visits her and evolves as a strong pillar of support for Shiuli’s family.
Dan’s character is interesting, he is stubborn, persistent, consistent in nature who doggedly keeps visiting Shuili in hospital, whereas all others even his family questions him. Romance in not the underlying intention behind his visits to the hospital, which itself makes the scenes interesting. He is raw at places, innocence, cuteness also reflect. Varun has really tapped the character of Dan.
A beautiful dialogue in the film, when Dan confronts Shuili’s uncle when he says that she might not recover and what if she wakes up and doesn’t remember who they are. Dan responds: So what, if she doesn’t remember who you are, at least all of you remember who she is.
Banita Sandhu beautifully projects the character of Shiuli. The role might not have been an easy one for her. But she has certainly enacted very well and also captured the gloom of Shiuli.
Another character, who gave goosebumps in certain shots, was that of Shiuli’s mother by Geetanjali Rao. A great performance by her too.
One of the most beautiful Indian film to have come out in years.