“It gently touches your soul, subtly makes you laugh and slyly breaks your heart.”
A good movie or a great movie? I base my judgment on one simple metric: how did the movie make me feel? And this one took me on a wonderful journey of authentic emotions. It made me shed a tear while making me laugh at the most unusual of situations.
The name Shoojit Sircar would have been enough to remind us that something peculiar albeit unorthodox will be in the offering. Right after the announcement of the movie and subsequent trailer launch, we were pretty much aware that it too has been crafted from something different than the usual Bollywood fabric. ‘October’ has been just that; expectedly fresh yet unexpectedly different. The movie takes an overall somber demeanor. It gently touches your soul, subtly makes you laugh and slyly breaks your heart. It doesn’t have the usual idiosyncrasies of a Bollywood movie. On the contrary, it is a face-off with reality. It doesn’t hide behind euphemism. It brazenly shows you life in its truest form. A life full of hardships, a life where we let our principles take the back seat and let the so-called practicality guide us through. It depicts how we have become callous and lost touch with kindness and empathy, the cardinal pillars of humanity.
As of the story, it isn’t much. It’s a simple script rich in human emotions. ‘October’ is the story of Dan (Varun Dhawan), a hotel management intern at a posh five-star hotel in Delhi. Dan is like most of us, a dreamer and a grumbler. His work is lousy and he is a tad bit arrogant. But there is an honesty about him that makes him likable. The story starts unfolding when one of his colleagues, Shiuli (Banita Sandhu), meets with a horrific accident. As the story progresses, we get to see different shades of Dan’s character. His naivety and atypical understanding of different situations strike a chord with our hearts. At the same time, his actions make us question our own selves. His unwavering hope in the face of adversity makes us fall in love with him. His transformation and personal growth into becoming a man comprise the spine of the movie. Dan manages to leave us inspired. With his child-like innocence, he makes us laugh at the most unexpected situations. Unlike a quintessential Bollywood movie, there isn’t anything much flashy in ‘October’. It is a slice of life and thus true to reality.
It’s commendable how much Varun has grown with this film. He manages to pull off Dan with utmost sincerity without revealing even a glimpse of the flamboyant star we have come to know of him. Debutant Banita Sandhu has impressed with whatever limited arsenal she was handed. This ‘Doublemint’ girl sure has a bright future in Bollywood. Every other member of the cast has done a good job too. Dan’s friends provide a realist perspective on life, and their actions are much relatable. The cinematography is exquisite. Not just the scenic Manali but the locations in Delhi are equally delightful to watch. Master Shoojit Sircar has brilliantly told the story without even a glint of exaggeration.
Ironically, what makes this movie different, is also a hindrance to its wide acceptance. The simplicity of this movie which makes it stand apart also restricts its outreach. The movie has a niche appeal. While in the hall, I could hear a few people bashing the movie. The extremely slow pace of the movie doesn’t help the cause either. Most of us common moviegoers are bound to feel bored at times. This is one of the reasons the movie hasn’t been able to match its earnings with the kind of praise it has got. Moreover, there are a few scenes at the beginning of the movie that make the audience uncomfortable. The over the top realistic depiction of the accident scenes makes it difficult for the faint-hearted. Although it aligns with the realistic approach of the movie, it makes those scenes hard to watch. Even the seasoned ones may feel uneasy (I have watched all the parts of ‘Saw’ without twitching an eye, but this one made me cringe).
But except these little hiccups, this movie is a work of art. I can’t remember the last time I came out of a movie hall with such a heavy heart. Dan lives in you as a sweet aftertaste. The movie is definitely a worth watch if you don’t mind slow paced movies. I can just hope that it recovers and earns enough money so that it can, in turn, inspire other such works.
I agree with the makers here that “It’s not a love story, it’s a story about love”; in its truest form as a matter of fact.
Cheers! Happy movie going. #VyasSpeaks
P.S: Here I am putting the link for the theme of October. This piece of music is the soul of the movie.