October Movie Review: Varun Dhawan blows your mind with a heartbreaking bravura performance | PINKVILLA



There are characters who develop such overpowering love for each other but there’s never a situation where they get to profess it to each other. That’s probably what October is about – a story about the unconditional quality of love.

Varun Dhawan,Reviews,Banita Sandhu


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October is sheer poetry. Yes, the common view on the film might go against it but that’s the beauty of poems. Those who feel the ache, can’t get the words out of their heads. After a string of crowd pleasers, one can imagine why Varun Dhawan would have signed up for this film. For the sake of variety, sure but there’s something so pure about October.

There are characters who develop such overpowering love for each other but there’s never a situation where they get to profess it to each other. That’s probably what October is about – a story about the unconditional quality of love, the kind that pops up when you least expect it, incomprehensible enough that no one understands what’s driving you as far and stays with you even when you can’t put it in as many words. It’s surprising how Shoojit Sircar and his hit writer Juhu Chaturvedi came up with such an unusual love story, just when we thought how to make a love story that doesn’t stench of formulaic thinking. Deftly directed and carefully conceived, here it is – love tucked away in a nook of the frame, an underlying theme as a hapless story of a young girl unfolds.

So we meet Danish Walia (Dan) who is frankly an irritable idiot with no sense of purpose. He is tuned to hate everything around him, careless and uncaring with a giant size ego that keeps his overconfidence pumped up. So, it’s no surprise that he hardly notices Shiuli (Banita Sandhu) the largely meek overachiever who is his colleague. A regular part of his routine life, Dan never quite took notice of her till an accident has her bedridden. When he finds out that her last words were – Where is Dan, he is drawn towards her. Her comatose state has his empathy, her troubled family find a pillar of support in him and mostly in Dan, she finds hope, probably, that allows her to live. But there aren’t many words that describe what Dan and Shiuli feel so if you are a romantic, there’s enough fodder for you to relish. There is a scene where the doctor asks Shiuli to respond to the question whether she knows Dan, and she stays blank. The innocence with which Varun plays it out is heartbreaking. But that’s the soul of this film, its astute characterisation. Varun is top notch in the movie. Yes, it’s nothing like what he has ever played and yet it’s a performance so straight from the heart that he bowls you over with it. He is nuanced and consistent, pretty much how Sircar would have wanted him to be. Judwaa 2 boy makes sure that he is his director’s man in this one. Banita Sandhu has little to do and yet is the film’s anchor. You wish you could find out what could have happened between her and Dan, but alas life was too brutal to her.

But the narrative raises too many questions, especially on human personality. Many might find Dan’s obsession or sudden attachment towards her a stretch but then love happens at anytime anywhere without a logic or reason. A survivor, more a fighter and a man with whom she has no romantic past or inkling of it is one to watch out for. It is what makes the story novel and to see Dan go to the lengths he does without much backing or justification is what passion of love can do. It’s intrinsically beautiful that there love isn’t marred by sex, attraction or any of it. It’s love and care in its purest most ironical form. The last words Shiuli utters are Dan’s and when he puts her to bed the last time they meet, there is moment between them that suggest there could have been so much more. But fate, oh fate!

The pace is a major problem in this film. It’s repetitive and sluggish but that’s an intentional ploy on part of Sircar who wanted us to taste the mundaneness of their lives, the claustrophobia inside hospital corridors and thus the pathos of Shiuli’s life. The film’s name and its relevance is just heartbreaking.

What’s sheepish in the story is that in times when debates on passive euthanasia is raging, the film stays dangerously mum on the subject.  One would argue that it ain’t the point of it but I wish they had delved into it a bit.

But the film isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It comes with is fair share of flaws and you know it’s hard to relate to. So how do you judge an experience like this? I had a thought – about the love of my life and where life could have taken us if not…. If Shoojit makes even half his viewers go down this road, may be he has won.

We go with a 60% on the Pinkvilla movie meter.

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