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October Review: A brief blossoming

  • Smita Vyas Kumar

    Smita Vyas Kumar (6,903 DM Points)

    Desimartini | Updated - April 13, 2018 1:41 PM IST
    3.0DM (47856 ratings)

    Verdict - A slow, brooding movie that may leave you depressed as it refuses to give into any optimism.

    OctoberWatch trailerRelease date : April 13, 2018

    A chance fall from a parapet puts a smart 21-year-old girl in a coma. Her last words before she fell were a causal "Where is Dan?" asking about a colleague missing from a New year party. That is enough to throw young Dan, another trainee with her at the five-star hotel where they are interning, into a complete tailspin. He assigns a greater meaning to her casual question and then abandoning his job, which he anyway dislikes, he dedicates his life to her recovery.

    October, by Shoojit SIrcar, is slow and brooding as it slowly draws you into Dan's inner turmoil and obsession with Shiuli, his injured colleague and now in his mind, someone special. He is a depressed person anyway, hating his job and dying to get out. Shiuli's casual question changes his life. He still remains depressive but somewhere there is a glimmer of optimism in him as he begins to believe in her will to survive.

    Alongside, the story explores the touchy subject of when to let go of a critically ill person. Do you fight on thinking a person will recover when all the signs say otherwise? Especially in someone so young. How does a family hold itself together at such times? How do they take these decisions?

    That life goes on at other places is seen in the rhythms of the hotel and the hospital. The clockwork way in which these large institutions run provides a steady hum to the larger events unfolding within them.

    The movie is two hours long but moves at a slow pace as it covers Shiuli's path back to life. The seasons come and go and the 'shiuli' flowers that blossom for a short while become a motif for her existence. The movie is sluggish, and the background music by Shantanu Moitra with its sad cello deepens the intensity. There are a few light moments which come via Dan's take on life or a few funny situations and they do try to keep you afloat but you will get dragged down by the overall darkness of the film. It is realistic in its depiction of the situation. There is no melodrama or dramatic reactions from the family, only an acceptance of the situation and an optimism that Shiuli will recover. But the mood is sombre and you do wish for some lighter moments to relieve the tedium. Life does go on for everyone and there are always smiles in spite of the pain. By not showing us any of that at all, the movie paints a sort of grim picture, even when Shiuli starts her recovery.

    Varun Dhawan has taken a big risk by doing this film. The theatre was full of college kids waiting to see a typical Varun film and found themselves facing this slow and serious movie. They all looked a bit dazed by it at the end. He puts in a fine performance as depressed Dan with a purpose. His comic timing remains impeccable and the few sardonic dialogues that he delivers are spot on. Banita Sandhu as Shiuli is realistic. Gitanajli Rao as Shiliu's mother gives a finely controlled performance and is the backbone of the movie.

    October is a slow, intense movie. I just wish it had not dragged itself down so much or taken itself so seriously. A person is critically ill, yes, but everyone hopes for her recovery. That optimism is enough reason to celebrate, maybe very quietly. Even in the worst of times, it is human nature to find something to at least smile about. By not admitting this optimism into itself, even when there is a reason to, the movie pulls you down. I would recommend it for when you are in a slightly contemplative mood. This is definitely not a casual weekend watch.

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