“October”: An Honest Review

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Picture courtesy: http://www.m.dailyhunt.in

MOVIE RATING: 4/5

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Shoojit Sircar’s latest movie, “October”, is an exercise in emotions. His films are known to highlight issues that aren’t considered mainstream. “October” lives up to this mantra, while standing apart from its predecessors.

The film is the coming-of-age story of a boy who shares an undefined relationship with a severely handicapped girl. Dan played by Varun Dhawan, and Shiuli, played by Banita Sandhu, are Hotel Management trainees at a five star hotel in Delhi. Like most 21 year olds, Dan displays great disdain for his tedious job and life, while his friend Shiuli is the responsible one. After a terrible accident, Shiuli is left comatose; and previously unconcerned Dan is most affected by this incident. The movie tracks Dan’s personal growth through 10 months of Shiuli’s recovery.

The movie is extremely slow in its pitch. The beginning almost irritates the viewer with an excessive concentration on mundane and repetitive themes. As the story progresses, however, one realizes the snail’s pace was needed to add real depth to the story. Sircar handles this sensitive subject in a brilliant manner. There is no excessive romanticizing of the plot; no melodrama and no unreal storylines.

Youth is often blind to the afflictions of others or indifferent to outsiders’ pain as they deal with the perils of navigating their own lives. Dhawan’s character uniquely explores how youth can be sensitive and rise to the occasion when needed. At the cost of his job, friends and family life; he shows exemplary strength of character in a very believable manner. It would be easy to pull out excessive heroics in this role, but Dhawan is beautifully understated.

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Lead characters: Varun Dhawan and Banita Sandhu. Picture courtesy: http://www.mazamaa.com

Dhawan has outdone himself here. He portrays a multitude of complex emotions efficiently. Sandhu’s role is a quiet one, but she makes her presence felt. Gitanjali Rao is fantastic as Shiuli’s mother. The other cast includes friends, co-workers, hospital staff and siblings, who are adequate in their roles.

Songs don’t interrupt the screenplay, which adds to its realness. The cinematography is interesting with a strong focus on locations; however certain shots seem slightly overdone. Clocking in around 2 hours, the film could’ve been reduced in length.

The story moved me to tears and will stay with me for a while to come. Sircar must be applauded on accurately depicting a sensitive and disturbing subject; as should Dhawan for really getting into the grip of his character.

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