If righteous intentions were the ticket to acclaimed art, 31st OCTOBER would be an award winning masterpiece.31ST OCTOBER WALLPAPERS
National award winning director Shivaji Lotan Patil (Best director Marathi film - DHAG in 2014) political drama 31st OCTOBER based on the 32 year old real life shocker - the assassination of former PM Indira Gandhi and the inhuman aftermath - anti Sikh riots that shook India is intensely felt but dramatically unconvincing as a film.
Disturbingly revisiting the pain, anguish, grief witnessed in 1984 on 31st OCTOBER - the dark chapter in Indian political and civic history. The movie tediously goes on and on recollecting the horror and has almost nothing new to say about the situation and fails to make its mind on how to package its feelings in a cinematic form.
It's unfortunate that such a shamefully galling incident is clobbered by a stumbling narrative that lacks depth and moves in a single point agenda.
Producer Harry Sachdeva pens this story with Amit Tuli and Basant Kashyap starting with the early hours of 31st October 1984.
Tajinder Kaur (Soha Ali Khan) is leading a happy and peaceful life with his husband Davinder Singh ( Vir Das) who works in the state's electricity department in Delhi.
The shocking incident of the assassination of former PM Indira Gandhi dooms the capital city and poor Tajinder and her family is caught in the madness that followed after the assassination.
Family friends Pal (Deepraj Rana), Tilak (Vineet Sharma), Yogesh (Lakha Lakhwinder Singh) and a good hearted neighbor played by Daya Shankar Pandey fight against the maddening crowd and the law and order system that has gone impotent to provide shelter to Tajinder and Davinder's family.
How this happens forms the crux of the story which does has a raw power in it scenes of disturbance and mayhem. However, the impact is diluted by the absence of depth in writing that simply checks out the horror night without much of an argument and depth in the proceedings.
Further, the censors have reportedly chopped off scenes in which the characters who resemble the real figures in politics and just a glimpse of those controversial leaders allegedly involved in the mayhem is shown that can be easily missed by the blink of an eye.
Those who are not aware of the history behind the entire incident may find it extremely hard to relate as the counter argument and the core issue is untouched.
The performance by Soha Ali Khan is impressive while Vir Das manages to make his mark. The supporting cast comes out strongly with Deepraz Rana leading the front amply supported by Vineet Sharma, Daya Shankar Pandey and Lakha Lakhwinder Singh.
Vijay Verma's music is fair with Sonu Nigam's soulful 'Yaqeen
' makes an impact while watching the film. Ramani Rajan Das cinematography is satisfactory while background score by Surender Sodhi comes without much complains.
Bollywood has seen films based on post partition of India in 1947 ranging from the classic masterpiece GARAM HAWA (1973) starring Balraj Sahini and the historic blockbuster GADAR : EK PREM KATHA starring Sunny Deol.
But movies on Punjab insurgency are rare. Diljit Dosanjh's super hit PUNJAB 1984 in 2014 tried to highlight the issue but got lost in its melodrama. Gulzar's MAACHIS (1996) gave a reasonably true account of the same issue and still remains the best and tops this unique list.
31st OCTOBER could have been the opportunity by the national award winning helmer Shivaji Lotan Patil to make a strong and powerful statement on screen.
Unfortunately the movie ends up as a sensationally forced recall of the 1984 horror that has a feeling in its heart but fails to convincingly put it on screen.