October is in theaters this weekend. Hailed by many as a critic’s delight and Varun Dhawan’s finest yet, the film is a
OctoberWake me up when October ends
October is in theaters this weekend. Hailed by many as a critic’s delight and Varun Dhawan’s finest yet, the film is a slow hospital-romance-drama. With the rise of films on terminal illness and fatal cancers in the West, it is only obvious that the concept would sooner or later percolate into mainstream Bollywood. Varun Dhawan, is at it again. Trying to prove his mettle as an actor by sandwiching a few heavy roles between his run-of-the-mill comedy-masalas. This time with a two hour long film on a highly realistic subject created under masterful direction. October mimics the grim realities of life and our casual acceptance of pain in a way that not much existing art in this world can. The growing apathy in the youth of the 21st century, and the isolation of the metropolitans are the themes that Shoojit Sircar works on. But will you like the film? Probably not. Why do we say so? Read on.
First, let’s meet the actors:
Varun Dhawan as Dan
Banita Sandhu as Shiuli
Gitanjali Rao as Mrs. Iyer
Dan is a passive-aggressive twenty-something who is sick of being another brick in the wall. The wall being that of a well maintained five-star hotel, which Varun Dhawan, along with his trainee friends must toil to keep spic and span. He spends his days frustrated, mopping floors and re-arranging bedding. Nothing much can amuse him, especially not Miss Perfect, Shiuli Iyer. She seems to be extremely good at everything she does and quickly gets on Dan’s nerves. Things change when she falls from the 4th floor of the five-star hotel and crashes into a deep coma. This time, she manages to get on Dan’s nerves in a completely different manner.
Varun Dhawan’s character becomes fixated on the recovery of his colleague. His obsession devours everything he holds dear. He cannot concentrate on work, maintain friendships, or even catch a good-night’s sleep. It’s all very artistically alluring. But the truth is, that October is a painfully boring film.
It might qualify as art cinema, but in reality, the only thing is has going for it, is that the film is exceedingly realistic. Realism cannot be the only standard by which we may measure a form of art. The film in itself has a very flattened emotional range. The sad feeling of October. The script is unidimensional and almost feels a little auto-biographical or documentary-like. The story, although unconventional, isn’t really enticing. It simply plays out the caregiver issues of patients with terminal illness.
October is marketed as an eternal love story to a gullible Indian audience. Realistically, the only chemistry between a vaguely obsessed Varun Dhawan and a deep coma patient is her pupillary movement. Their bond seems akin to that between siblings rather than that between lovers.
Varun Dhawan’s antics fail to impress. Of course, he keeps us awake thoughout the film, something which he must get credit for, but otherwise, his acting is far from accolade-worthy. Dull expressions and an angry temperament might have become synonymous with fine actors, but it means nothing unless it can move an audience to realise emotions of struggle and pain.
Gitanjali Rao is graceful in the film. She truly performs exceedingly well. Her silence speaks volumes and simple facial expressions move you in a way that most symphonies may not. Her acting is flawless. As for Banita Sandhu, her performance is also commendable, but very child-like. We believe that she was given too heavy a role to handle for her debut.
In summary, October is a snooze-fest. It tries too hard to fit into the bracket of excellent art cinema. The weak storyline is the culprit. Immature actors are given roles that are too heavy to handle and the film falls apart after the first forty minutes. The only thing that Varun Dhawan brings to October, is subtle humour with his usual antics. The film although well made is a big let down. It’s very realistic, but fails in sparking any emotion in the hearts of the audience. We would rather watch anything other than October this weekend. No one would willingly want to get depressed on a Sunday in a relentless summer in India. We give it 2.5/5. 1 star for realism, 1 star for the direction and cinematography and half a star for Gitanjali Rao.
You will like this film if: You willingly want to be gloomy all week
You will dislike this film if: You go in expecting Masaan, or Fault in Our Stars
Best performance: Gitanjali Rao