"Take movies, music, poetry out of life & its gone!"
OCTOBER - A praiseworthy, poetic attempt that keeps struggling to be a new-age classic. (Review by Bobby Sing)
19 Apr, 2018 | Movie Reviews / 2018 Releases / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / O

As a fabulous team of writer-director, both Juhi Chaturvedi and Shoojit Sircar have successfully earned a reputation of coming up with unusual, out of the box films, based on fresh, interesting subjects, breaking the set routine. And OCTOBER is yet another brave film from the duo, tackling a less appealing, off-beat subject that is certainly going to be the most risky gamble of their rising career.

However as a fan, where at one end, I am really glad that they knowingly attempted OCTOBER, it actually couldn’t reach or move me as a viewer, remaining short of the big expectations raised, both in terms of writing and execution, to be very honest.
Would love to begin with the appealing features of the film, followed by the points, restricting it from becoming a new-age cult classic.
OCTOBER is no doubt a sensitive, poetic film that courageously defies the set format of a Hindi romantic film supported by a young star. Having a focused script/writing, it neither deviates from its basic plot even for a minute, nor looks for some relief in the ‘must have’ soft-numbers despite being an emotional love saga. A songless film talking about 'silent love' that isn’t interested in spoon feeding the audience, OCTOBER beautifully captures the moments of indecisiveness, uncertainty, grief and attachment in many worth appreciating scenes performed really well.
It takes you into those sudden encounters with life, where no one knows what is going to happen next and who will depart without giving any prior notification in just a few days or even hours. It’s mostly about waiting and how relationships change in those long hours or days spent in the scary corridors of a hospital. Would not like to call it 'Slow', as that is how it was written making ‘Wait’ a significant character of the script involving the key characters.
Inserting a subtle ‘Hirani-sh’ kind of emotional humour at regular intervals of the first half, Shoojit never allows the film to go into the ‘heavy-zone’ and that’s where Juhi’s writing expertise and Shantanu Moitra’s soothing background score play the most important role, keeping the viewers engaged with timely smiles on their faces. Once again set in Delhi, it actually adds to its realistic feel without having many philosophical life teaching dialogues or forcefully inserted sequences.
Simplicity and a constant uplifting spirit in its story telling (deliberately missing the drama) remains the major triumph of OCTOBER that gets a great support from its cinematography, art, costumes and music department in particular. And then we have the cast that actually becomes the key reason why the film at least needs to be seen once for their splendid collective effort.
OCTOBER entirely revolves around Varun Dhawan, who plays a role just opposite of what he is popularly known for. He does make a brave choice (once again after BADLAPUR) and the performance is sure going to be applauded by both the critics and the audience together without any slightest of doubt (but would like to come to that later in the next section of the review). Banita Sandhu makes an impressive debut mostly conveying through her eyes (even in her initial sequences before the accident). Both Sahil Vedoliyaa and the girl playing Dan’s close friend do complete justice to their roles as two lovable characters. The supporting cast excels as always in a Shoojit Sircar film. But I frankly loved the deeply touching performance of Gitanjali Rao the most, as the girls’ mother, thoughtfully balancing her life between her job, other two teenage kids and a young daughter meeting an accident, lying in coma.
Therefore the best scene of the film for me was not amongst those focusing on the lead couple, but the one where the two mothers meet each other in the hospital room probably for the first and the last time, expressing their individual thoughts about life.

Moving ahead, let me share what I feel is the biggest contribution of this film to the present questionable state of Hindi Cinema.
And its biggest contribution is….. that with OCTOBER, both Shoojit and Juhi successfully re-introduce the emotion of Sorrow or Sadness back in our films, which was completely missing, particularly from the mainstream Hindi cinema featuring the big names. Unfortunately, even this essential feature of life went through a forceful, glamourized presentation in the major hits made by the next generation of Johars, Chopras and more solely aiming at the box office returns. Thankfully with OCTOBER, the emotion is back on screen as it once used to be, an integral part of our heartfelt Hindi movies.
Coming to the drawbacks or points that restrict OCTOBER from becoming a ‘must-watch’ new-age classic.
First of all, it all revolves around a very thin plotline, which doesn’t provide any solid base for its further story development, hugely transforming a character into an entirely different person. And in absence of a substantial plot/reasoning, the proceedings mostly remain unconvincing despite all the realistic settings and performances of the supporting cast.
Secondly, quite less happens throughout the film, once it comes to the hospital and then sudden departure of a person, who was so caring about the girl, seems abrupt and forced. Missing an emotionally moving climax is another feature that doesn’t sums it up well, though I loved the idea of taking a plant as a loving remembrance.
Further what didn’t click for me from the very first scene itself is the characterization of Dan, who never appears to be a normal, careless or irresponsible youngster to be straight. The way he gets portrayed by his director, makes him look more of an abnormal, retarded kind of a person that strangely doesn’t concern or disturb his (Five Star Hotel) employers, who keep ignoring his acts as all funny mischiefs. In reality that kind of behaviour by a trainee would get an instant attention of the authorities taking immediate action, which wasn’t there in the film making it ‘unrealistic’. For instance, which five star would allow his employee to catch flies with a mosquito racket right in the corridor, making odd faces and awkward body movements, annoying their ‘rich customers’. Plus the scene where Dan makes a personal/revealing comment for a customer, severely affecting his personal/married life, dealt in such a casual manner without announcing any severe/decisive punishment, was actually unbelievable in professional terms (and far from being realistic as a deliberately forced one).
In other words, everything else worked for me in terms of poetic presentation and performances but not the lead characterization of Dan and his onscreen persona. Sincerely following the instructions of his director emoting on the written lines, Varun makes a more than decent effort, but his effort remains visible throughout and it seems as if the whole team is consciously making an off-beat, unusual love story right from the first frame.
As a result, OCTOBER doesn’t turn out to be as natural, realistic and touching as Sircar-Chaturvedi’s earlier VICKY DONOR and PIKU. The poetic beauty is right there, but it all looks like a poem written on order as per the deadline given by the publisher for his next issue.
The film does talk about our real lives, when we suddenly have to face a mishappening deeply affecting all young and old members of a loving family. But falls short of being an exceptionally, outstanding film that remains with you for a long time forcing you to think further.
Where the idea makes you recall the cult SADMA and last year’s THE BIG SICK, it interestingly also has a plot which is quite similar to the major twist seen in the most recent Telugu hit RANGASTHALAM with an entirely different as well as shocking conclusion.
Summing up, in the present times CLASSICS can never be made intentionally, making a conscious effort. They just get made when the makers are not even aware that they are making a classic......!
And OCTOBER is not among one of those, effortless, new-age classics as per my humble opinion.
Having said that, it is unarguably a good film moving out of the set format of our Hindi romantic films, which is a welcome move in the present commercial scenario deserving appreciation. But this frankly isn’t a masterpiece (as being projected) from an extremely talented and rare team prominently led by the writer, Juhi Chatruvedi.
So OCTOBER certainly needs to be supported as well as lauded, but it could have been a lot better with a different characterization of Dan, making him more real.

Rating : 3 / 5 (with extra brownie points for Varun alone, who is on the right balanced path, bravely taking the risks, keeping our hopes alive)
(Note: The article was first published on UC-News Mobile App on 19th April 2018)

(Post its release, the makers were also accused of taking the entire story progression from a real life incident and couple on whom a Marathi film titled AARTI – The Unknown Love Story had already been made, directed by Sarika Mene.)

Tags : October Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, October Movie Review by Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Reviews by Bobby Sing
19 Apr 2018 / Comment ( 0 )
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