April 14, 2018
October Cast: Varun Dhawan, Banita Sandhu, Gitanjali Rao
October Director: Shoojit Sircar
October Rating: 3/5
A life threatening disease or accident simplifies life. That is, if you are not the patient yourself. Power, ambition, vitality, make way for vulnerability, pain & self-realization.
October is another real-life inspired romanticized fable from writer Juhi Chaturvedi.
Chaturvedi’s first ‘Vicky Donor’ was a safe bet, it was a comedy with the promise of commercial viability; with a hit under her belt the writer penned the unique comedy-drama ‘Piku’ which was powered by masterclass by Amitabh Bachchan.
Juhi is a rare storyteller, she dissects the lighter side of life and find humour in strenuous situations. October is a step forward for the writer & director Shoojit Sircar, the film does not play to the galleries and has the courage to narrate a story that most Hindi film producers would consider dull.
Beyond Juhi & Shoojit, Varun Dhawan is the real star of this film. Dhawan plays ‘Dan’ a management trainee at a 5 star hotel who can’t seem to get anything right. Dan is a loner, he’s kind of guy who would be eaten alive courtesy his innocence but he gets by as everyone from his strict manager to his goofy friends support this pure soul.
Dan’s colleague Sheuly Iyer (Banita Sandhu) suffers a fatal fall, about 30 feet straight into solid concrete. Dan learns that Sheuly’s last words before the tragic fall were ‘where is Dan’. Our irritating yet lovable hero then visits Sheuly in the hospital every single day, many including the writer could define this relationship as a love story but love is too small a word to define this particular emotion.
Post her accident Dan starts living through Sheuly, he doesn’t live for her, he lives through her. That is the core of this beautifully sad story, a lifeless man lives with the support of a lifeless woman, with an unspoken desire of ending up together someday. She can’t speak or move & he finds it difficult to express himself so this woman covered in bandages & needles serves as the perfect companion.
She allows him to care for her by virtue of not being conscious, she can’t decide for herself, but this is perhaps the only moment in Dan’s life when he feels that his decision of completely submitting himself to Sheuly is the easiest one he ever made. This, while Sheuly may never open her eyes again.
While Varun had to shed his superstar image and make peace with the fact that this script may not fetch him another 100 crores at the box office, he seems to have signed this film for himself.
Not for the rave reviews, not his fans, not his reputation but simply for the love of cinema. I don’t know Varun very well but one thing I do know about Mr Dhawan is that he truly loves films and he would never back down from a challenging role or miss an opportunity to be part of a film as special as October. Banita Sandhu delivers a solid performance, looking forward to much more from her.
Apart from Dan and Sheuly, the third principal character in this film is the hospital where Sheuly battles for her life .
How would you describe a hospital More specifically the ICU of a ‘five star’ hospital. I spent parts of my teens and most of my adult life attending to several family members through Delhi’s top hospitals with a menu including cancer, heart disease, strokes, kidney failure and much more.
Being an experienced attendant, I would describe a hospital as a temple of detachment. Hospitals make you tough there’s no room for emotions. True character is revealed when one finds himself in a completely helpless situation at the mercy of a miracle; you can never really know what lies in the hearts of those who surround you – including the doctors.
The film showcases a wholesome hospital experience which essentially drains you completely. Sketchy details provided by doctors, pessimistic relatives, sharp nurses, over enthusiastic gate keepers and to top it all the expenses, a nightmare within a nightmare.
As a film ‘October’ is like cold summer, imagine standing in the sun and shivering. It’s limitless energy defeated by an inevitable end. While you feel for the protagonists, as a viewer you restrain yourself and end up being indifferent to the act. You relate to it but this is not your story and you certainly don’t want to make it yours.
I’m going with 3/5 for Shoojit Sircar’s ‘October’ and I strongly recommend that you give this film a chance.