October is, A fully flowered tree standing in the middle of a foggy, early-morning Delhi Park, October is, a few birds and two squirrels, graining away at their food on the ground. October is, the glimmer of harmless, morning sun ray falling on the beautiful hair of a lady. October is, A feeling and a very peculiar one. The aforementioned are all moments from the film (October Movie). Shoojit Sircar, after a highly successful stint with rooted, everyday life, quirky comedies, has delved into an aspect of human emotions, which, he only showed glimpses of, in his other two outings with Vicky Donor and Piku, which is Melancholy.
Dan a.k.a Danish, played by Varun Dhawan, is a Hotel management student, doing his training in Radisson Hotel in Delhi. He is Silly, constantly irritable and a frustrated 20 year old. Shiuli, played magically by the newcomer, Banita Sandhu, is also in the same training batch as Dan, but has never really interacted with him nor has he shown any interest in her, he is rather jealous and indifferent to her. Their lives change irrevocably, once things take a terrible turn and Shiuli is in the hospital. Shiuli’s last words are ‘ Where is Dan ? ‘ and he presumes that she loved him or at least had feelings towards him. A 21 year old finding purpose in life, finds the greatest and apparently the only purpose of his life, to serve Shiuli and bring her back from Coma. The film addresses themes like coming-of-age, meaning of love and mortality.
After the mishap with Shiuli, something in Dan flips and he surrenders himself to Shiuli’s service. When he asks one of their common friends, how they are so unaffected, she says “ We are affected, Dan but I have a personal life too, we need to be Practical “. Practicality is exactly what Shoojit Sircar doesn’t go for, in this ambitious and rare film. He is telling you a story and would like you to feel it and feel for his characters, he doesn’t want you to understand his characters. This incredibly difficult art of writing a character and making the audience feel for him or her, without them understanding the pain, is pulled off seamlessly by Juhi Chaturvedi who is growing into one of the finest writers in the current lot after 4 equally good, yet diverse films. Vicky Donor, Madras Cafe, Piku and now October. We know Dan as a student and a Son but it is never clear as to why he is so committed to save this girl whom he never cared for. Shiuli is mostly in coma, while we see her in the film and only few scenes where we actually see her normally, we don’t know much about her either. There is not a single moment where we are left alone, with Shiuli, to understand her. All we need to understand is the poetry, created by the genius of Shoojit and Juhi. The quirky humour you normally associate with this pair is not entirely missing, Dan’s idiosyncrasies give us a handful of moments to laugh and eases out the pool of tragedy that accumulates through the film. The music in the film is the main culprit, the theme of October, consumes you entirely and you emerge soaked in sadness. The score is minimal, yet intricate; just listening to the music would convey the story and the emotion without even having to watch the film. Shantanu Moitra, creates his own story by knitting together the melodic piano notes. Again, it is a theme, it does not have any lyrics to tell you what to feel, it is a piece of melody floating around in the background, all you have to do is feel it.
Varun Dhawan and Banita Sandhu, along with some superb actors like Gitanjali Rao, who plays Shiuli’s mother, help in creating a world of sadness and hope that is unique to this film. There is not a single song and there is no need for a song to communicate to us the pain or the emotion, as the actors at the fore are nothing short of brilliant; especially the newcomer, Banita Sandhu manages to make her presence felt even in a role that has hardly anything to do. She has her eyes closed for the most part but when she opens them, her eyes convey all the grief that she had held in them all this while.
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October Movie is to be felt, not understood. It draws you in with an alluring sense of sadness and leaves you dwelling in the heartache by the end. October Movie is a celebration of Melancholy; with absolutely no melodrama and manipulation of emotions. It does not use music, to inform you what to feel in a scene, it does not seek your empathy, all it does is, to tell a story honestly; now, how often does that happen.