Varun Dhawan’s October has evoked mixed reactions. Most critics have given it a huge thumbs up for its sensitive portrayal of relationships. However, the movie is definitely not for those who love masala, song and dance and fun. It’s layered, nuanced and makes you think. But whatever be your preference of cinema, there is no denying that October is a very special film. Here are 7 reasons why it’s a must-watch for those with a discerning taste in movies.
1. The writing. Juhi Chaturvedi is the real star of October. Her writing is so skilled supple and subtle we never feel the weight of even one moment in the storytelling. With the emergence of the writer as the hero, Hindi mainstream cinema can hope to be rescued from the morass of stagnancy.
2. The direction. With October Shoojit Sircar again claims his place among the most engaging filmmakers of Hindi cinema. The range in his repertoire is staggering. The only thing that ties together Vicky Donor, Piku and October is bodily fluids. While Vicky Donor was about sperm donation, and Piku obsessed over the potty, October has plenty of bodily fluids in and around the hospital bed where a large part of the story unfolds.
3. Avik Mukhopadhyay’s cinematography. We tend to praise pretty frames as great cinematography. But here in October the trees, the flowers (oh those shiuli flowers!), the silent green acres, the anxious hospital corridors and the bustling traffic of Delhi on chilly winter nights all coalesce in a lucid comment on the poetry of workaday existence. Hospital smells and the fragrance of a rare falling lower do co-exist in the same universe.
4. Varun Dhawan sheds his stardom to play a hero who is not afraid to be pain in the posterior. Check out the sequence where he lectures his colleagues at the hotel about the laundry or when he accosts the hospital receptionist on which doctor to consult for which ailment. This guy is a meddlesome busybody whom no one would want to run into in a hospital or a hotel. That’s what makes Varun’s Dan so special. His utter lack of ‘specialness’.
5. The supporting cast is incredible. Debutante Banita Sandhu shows us how tough it is to seem to do nothing on screen except lie still. The rest of the characters are all played with memorable integrity. An actor like Prateek Kapoor as Varun’s boss has to only keep screaming at Varun to remind us how irksome he (Varun, not the boss) is. And yet the little –known Kapoor manages to make the boss’ personality highly relatable and sympathetic.
6. Like Shoojit’s Piku, October ends with a tragic death. But there is no wailing, no screaming and ranting. Death in Shoojit’s cinema is not the end. It is beginning of another journey away from life as we know it.
7. Finally the metaphor of the ‘shiuli’ flower that blossoms in the night and fall to the ground during daytime. The ephemerality of beauty and Nature has never been more vividly positioned into the rites of a tragic romance. October is not a film. It is a poem disguised as a motion picture.