Went with Varun Dhawan purely on instincts: Shoojit Sircar on October

Shoojit Sircar’s slice of life films have made a mark for their unconventional take on love. He talks about his creative process ahead of October starring Varun Dhawan and Banita Sandhu.

bollywood Updated: Apr 11, 2018 12:00 IST
Rohit Vats
Rohit Vats
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Shoojit Sircar,Banita Sandhu,October
October’s trailer has been appreciated for its soothing feel. The film stars Varun Dhawan and Banita Sandhu.

As a director, Shoojit Sircar has only four released films, but he has already started changing the landscape of mainstream Bollywood. His next film, October, has Varun Dhawan shedding his ‘star’ image.

Shoojit Sircar says Varun’s commitment impressed him. He says, “It wasn’t like I wanted to work with Varun Dhawan. I saw him in my office one day and I just found some kind of honesty and innocence in him which I was looking for my character. I went on with him purely on instincts. Though he was an overnight sensation, a star, but there was something really ‘teenage’ and ‘young’ in him.”

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Last year belonged to Varun Dhawan. Even the dreaded box office slump couldn’t stop him from delivering money-spinners like Badrinath Ki Dulhania and Judwaa 2. In the process, he also became the crowd’s favourite. Wouldn’t the audience expect the same from October?

“Maybe. It’s absolutely their choice, but what’s even more important is what Varun wants to do. He told me that he would totally surrender and would blindly do the film. For me, that was more valuable. If I will go by the expectations then I won’t be able to make the films I want,” says Shoojit.

So far, Shoojit Sircar has found the right balance between a mainstream actor’s popular image and his characters. Piku saw actors like Deepika Padukone and Amitabh Bachchan turning unconventional. Shoojit says, “Piku was every household’s story. Similarly, October has a universal story that all of us have experienced in life. See, my process is very simple. Look at the real life incidents, study and research a lot. It should be relatable.”

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October will also see a new actor Banita Sandhu. “Around 2016, before Pink released, we were doing auditions for a chewing gum commercial, and I saw her. I found her really expressive, still very grounded. She has not seen much of Bollywood and has come from Wales. I wanted a fresh face because of the character’s age. She was immediately cast.”

He then reveals his creative process. “I really wanted to calm down the proceedings. The way people are running all over the place, the speed of everyday life has gone up. I simply wanted to break this speed.”

He adds, “We wanted the entire thing to appear poetic. Location is always a character in my films. In Pink, Delhi was a dark character. In Piku, it was lighter. I know Delhi quite well as I have spent my prime there. In all the frames, we wanted everything to look like a painting. We had a terrific cinematographer in Avik Mukhopadhyay and he has brought that easiness and a little spiritual effect to the film.”

Varun Dhawan and Shoojit Sircar on the sets of October.

Shoojit Sircar’s films are more about the universal love than just being a love story between two youngsters. “It’s not a love story actually. It’s about relationship between two people. They can be anyone. It’s more about love, in a different form.”

“The backdrop, not the story, is something that I have experienced,” says Shoojit Sircar before signing off.

October will hit the screens on April 13, 2018.

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First Published: Apr 11, 2018 11:59 IST