I went to see OCTOBER yesterday for just two reasons. One was that my schedule for the next three weeks would not be permitting me the luxury of watching a Bollywood movie; and the second was that it was a movie directed by Shoojit Sircar, who had given us masterpieces like VICKY DONOR and PIKU. And somewhere, I had read that Shoojit had said that OCTOBER is not meant to be a love story, rather it is a story about love. I was looking forward to seeing a mushy, and yet a light hearted romantic tale.
OCTOBER turned out to be neither mushy nor a light hearted experience. If I were to tell you that more than two-thirds of the movie happens in hotel and hospital settings, and the writer is Juhi Chaturvedi (who also wrote VICKY DONOR and PIKU) you could be pardoned for thinking that this is about a love story that has leanings on the glamour of a hotel and the hope of a curative process happening in a hospital with bits of humour thrown in. The glamour of the hotel ( the setting is the Radisson Blu hotel in Dwarka in Delhi) is effectively replaced by the view of the hotel intern, played by Varun Dhawan, who sees every assignment there as a manifestation of drudgery. And when it is not a hotel setting, the story shifts to the routine droning sounds of the doctors, nurses and the beeping of the machines in the hospital.
By design, OCTOBER shifts soon into a melancholic stream. But it is not a kind of melancholy, which pushes you into sobbing. Neither is it trivialized. It is a matter of fact narration; and no one asks questions about why something is happening or why the personalities are behaving the way they are behaving. Perhaps there are no answers. If you go with a mindset that something has to happen and happen fast, you will be disappointed. But if you allow yourself to be just carried alongside Varun’s character, you will find yourself totally immersed in the proceedings. I was a tad disappointed at the extremely slow pace and even the two hours length appeared stretched; but that doesn’t take away the credit for a beautiful depiction of the gradual acceptance of a sad situation.
The actors deliver excellently. Varun Dhawan is superb in his role and so is the debutante Banita Sandhu. Carrying the gravity of the role of Banita’s mom, Gitanjali Rao is just as good. Shantanu Moitra’s music blends effortlessly in the narration and produces the poignancy required of the situations. There are four beautiful songs, none of which appear in the movie. You need to listen to them separately.
RATING: 4 out of 5
April 13, 2018