Movie Review: October

To be frank, I don’t expect much from Varun Dhawan. Yes, I had thought that he was better looking than Sidharth Malhotra in Student of the Year. But that had been about it. Over the years, Sidharth Malhotra has selected a better variety of movies, even though his acting is okay-okay, if not abysmal. Varun Dhawan, on the other hand, has been seen in mostly rom-coms, it feels like, bar Badlapur.

So when the trailer to October came out, my first reaction after watching it was: What the hell is this movie about? It seemed like such a mish-mash, even though the background score and the cinematography (whatever I could make of from the trailer) made it look like an artsy film. Moreover, the positive reviews stoked my curiosity and now, I couldn’t pass up a chance to watch the movie.

Daneesh Walia (Varun Dhawan) or Dan as he is known to friends is a strange, strong-headed character who does as he likes and has his own notions of right and wrong. He is a regular 21-year-old in other matters and an intern at one of the biggest 5-star hotels in Delhi. His friends are constantly exasperated by what he does. Shiuli Iyer (Banita Sandhu in her acting debut) is in the group, but they don’t have much of an interaction. But when Shiuli meets with an accident, their worlds clash and thus starts a story about love and its various forms.

I didn’t think it would ever be possible for me to watch Varun Dhawan act and go ‘Wow!’ But October is one of those films. Dan is really annoying in the first few minutes of the movie, but soon, you start going with the flow. You don’t even realize when he goes from making you want to punch him to being completely adorable. Yes, he still is impulsive and does stupid things at times, but hey, don’t we all?

This might as well be Varun Dhawan’s best film of his career. There is no doubt at all that he has improved a lot since his comic capers. And if you were to ask me, when Judwaa 2 came out, irrespective of how much it might have earned, all I could think of was: Oh God, there he goes again! Won’t there be any change in what he chooses?

And now, with October, I feel there is hope after all, that despite his choices that annoy me just a tad bit from time to time, Varun Dhawan has promise. He is not a bad actor, but if he chooses more films like Badlapur and October, it might make his repertoire impressive and help him break the mould that he is so firmly fixed himself in.

Banita Sandhu, in her acting debut shows promise in whatever screen time she has. She is beautiful, carries herself well and with confidence, and molds herself into the character as long as she is on screen. Let me be honest: I didn’t expect much from her, but she was a surprise. And let’s just hope she doesn’t end up forgotten and as a one-film wonder because I’d definitely like to see her full-fledged acting.

Another praiseworthy performance is of Gitanjali Rao as Shiuli’s mother, Vidya, a professor. She is restrained in her grief, and still, you can feel the pain radiating off of her. Despite all this, you can feel her hope of getting her daughter back from the clutches of death.

All of these performances, however, need to pay obeisance to the director Shoojit Sircar and scriptwriter Juhi Chaturvedi. Without a strong script and brilliant directing, there is no question of the actors coming up with such laudable performances. Shoojit Sircar is known for the offbeat films he directs – not in the sense of budget, but in the viewpoint of the script. And when he joins hands again with screenwriter Juhi Chaturvedi, his old collaborator, with whom he has worked on Vicky Donor and Piku, all you can expect are fireworks.

For some, this movie might seem a little dragged in places. But stay patient and sit through it all, and you’ll find yourself affected like you haven’t been in ages. Love, love, love October!

Why doesn’t Bollywood promote more movies into mainstream like this? L

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Picture Courtesy: Bollywood Ground.

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