October movie review: Varun Dhawan powers Shoojit Sircar’s soulful film
Cast: Varun Dhawan, Banita Sandhu
Director: Shoojit Sircar
October, a month in autumn, is more than just a symbol in Shoojit Sircar’s new film. It covers a lifetime. It brings haunting images, evokes tears, makes you anxious and then leaves you blank. You’re numb while waiting to return to reality. You’re battling with emotions and an entirely different story is playing in your subconscious. You know what you have just seen is more than just a film -- it’s your story.
Watch: Our Facebook Live discussion on October
Dan (Varun Dhawan) is a sweet but rebellious hotel management student training at a Delhi hotel. His managers are not particularly happy with his sharp jibes, but he is a mostly a lovable guy. He aspires to be a chef, but he is unable to cope up with the hardships of the training, so sometimes he wouldn’t clean the towels or wouldn’t serve somebody’s order on time. In a way, this is how he sees life, a chance to get even.
Shiuli (Banita Sandhu) is another trainee at the same hotel. They are friends, but they hardly interact. One day, Shiuli falls from the third floor and goes into a coma. Like everybody else, Dan is also concerned about her well being. The only difference is that he can’t move on with life like others. All seasons of his life get stuck in that October.
Calling October only a love story will be injustice to its resilient tone. It’s a battle, both inter-personal and intra-personal. It’s not about logic or wise decisions, it’s about how far can you go for the things you believe in. It’s about finding that one thing which defines us. It’s about realising that we’re more than moving robots or talking heads.
What happens when you’re asked to come to office really early on a winter morning? You witness the calmness of a city that would soon melt into the chaos an average day brings along. You let the breeze gently touch your skin. Probably years have gone by in search of this moment. October is all about such instances.
The innocence with which we gazed at sunsets in our childhood returns to haunt us while watching Dan going through a silent transformation. In a world where self-indulgence is called practicality, he stands for someone who is willing to risk everything for one more hour of soulful living.
Juhi Chaturvedi’s writing prepares the audience for accepting Dan as he is. He has been shown as a restless person not very focussed about objectives in general. He doesn’t speak much, but is slowly getting closer to exploding. He talks about emotions and what they mean to us beyond a point.
But it’s not just Dan who is suffering in silence. Many of us have relatives and friends who have undergone or are undergoing crucial surgeries, and we don’t know what to do other than being hopeful. A conversation in the film about expenses during a medical emergency gets so real that it seems like a family discussion in its most prudent form. Is money the biggest problem in such situations? Or, is there something more important than this?
October is like that small child who suddenly pulls your shirt and gives a toothy smile when you look back. It’s clichéd, but Shoojit Sircar has indeed set poetry in motion.
Close-ups, paradoxical discussions and a sense of optimism take you on a journey in a Delhi that we rarely see. It’s serene, playful and composed. Avik Mukhopadhayay’s camera takes you behind the crowded markets and lets you sit in front of park fountains, in complete solitude.
Shoojit Sircar also ensures that the viewer understands the complexity of unique medical situations. He engineers a connect with the audience and let them soak in the magnitude of patience some of us show in such circumstances.
Varun Dhawan is restrained and mature. His humour is innate, but his understanding of pain and how it affects the human behaviour is even better. It’s a terrific performance, his best for sure.
He is aptly supported by Banita Sandhu and Geetanjali Rao, who plays Shiuli’s mother in the film. They all speak through eyes and pierce our hearts.
Shantanu Moitra’s October theme strikes equilibrium between Dan’s inner and outer worlds. At 115-minute, October doesn’t give you a chance to look beyond the case unfolding in front of you.
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