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Movie Reviews

Posted at: Apr 13, 2018, 6:31 PM; last updated: Apr 13, 2018, 6:31 PM (IST)MOVIE REVIEW: OCTOBER

An autumn, full of promises

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Movie: October

  • Cast: Varun Dhawan, Banita Sandhu, Gitanjali Rao and Sahil Vedoliyaa
  • Director: Shoojit Sircar
An autumn, full of promises
A poster of October

Nonika Singh 

October... the film’s title is not the only piquant aspect of the film that comes in April. In fact, on all counts, expect the unexpected. As Varun Dhawan tells you in the promos, “October is no love story but story about love.” It indeed is a love story of a different temper that doesn’t use the word love even once, yet introduces you to its deepest shades; of tenderness, compassion, care and sadness too.

Only October isn’t just an unconventional love tale but an uncommon film in itself. Even though, Shoojit Sircar moves into a world many of us are familiar with. To give up on our dear ones as they oscillate between life and death is not the easiest choice to make. Don’t they deserve a fighting chance, even when the odds are against them? The question hangs heavy. As Living Will has almost become a reality…Sircar throws the dilemma--to pull the plug or not--our way. As much by way of a love story as more than just love. 

From biting truths of a hospital to the plush five-star hotel where the lead characters work, he builds a slow moving narration, at once sublime and realistic. Of course, if you want thrills and chills you might find the treatment a trifle stilted. But, once you shed the rose-tinted glasses with which you are accustomed to viewing romance you can smell and feel love in its most tangible manifestation. 

And then there is Varun Dhawan in a new avatar, subtle and understated as Dan, a guy who can’t get things right and is shunted from one inglorious task to another. Yet, he is heroic in a very different sense as he calls forth the question; can saving life be only a practical calculation? Skeptics might find it hard to understand his obsessive rounds to the hospital where his friend/ associate/colleague or perhaps beloved Shuili (Banita Sandhu) is battling with life. Since there is no background to their love/ romance his behaviour seems as inexplicable to an average viewer as it does to his friends. Why one of them Manjeet (our Chandigarh boy Sahil Vedoliyaa meets the part) even quizzes him point blank; does she stand a chance to live? But then as Woody Allen said, ‘The heart wants what it wants’.  

Love in the face of death isn’t exactly a new emotion, most of us perhaps grow up when death stares us in the eye. And then doesn’t love exist only between life and death. So, should the impending mortality change its complexion or depth?  Without a doubt, Sircar is delving into a profound and poignant zone. Only you need patience to immerse yourself in the film where eyes move and convey (Banita emotes in stillness) and a tear (Gitanjali Rao as Mrs Iyer is impressive) says it all. Sircar is in no mood to rush the tempo of his film, otherwise peopled by 21-year-olds working as apprentices in a hotel. 

So, if you are looking for bubbling love that tugs at your heartstring, this is no dil dhadkane do. It won’t make you shed buckets of tears either as it doesn’t go for the lowest common denominator or the emotional vein. It unspools like life itself and at another level poetically and metaphorically. The heroine’s name Shuili the name of a flower that blooms in October is in itself a metaphor; for fleeting blossom. 

October is as much about autumn as the promise of renewal, as much about despair as hope and life. And like all of Sircar’s films there is more than one takeaway. Only don’t go searching for a Piku or Vicky Donor. For by now you should know Sircar never repeats himself, let alone the formula of others.  

nonikasingh@tribunemail.com

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