Sirf Ehasaas Hai Ye Ruuh Se Mahasuus Karo, Pyaar Ko Pyaar Hi Rahane Do Koi Naam Na Do (this is an experience, savour in your soul, let love be love, don’t give it any other name). Nobody would have imagined that this line from the gem ‘Humne dekhi hai’ penned by Gulzar and sung by Lata Mangeshkar in KHAMOSHI (1970) would be the crux of the movie OCTOBER that reunites refined talents like writer Juhi Chaturvedi, director Shoojit Sircar and the heartthrob Varun Dhawan in this heartfelt allegory of love that is beautiful like a jasmine flower (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis) and cool like the season of October.
Said to be a story about love, not a love story, Shoojit Sircar, Juhi Chaturvedi and Varun Dhawan in OCTOBER dare to turn the tables and play out from their comfort zone. The quirky, sly humour we experienced in VICKY DONOR, PIKU is absent in this lyrical love story that defies the routine mush and candy floss in a simple heartfelt coming of age saga that demands patience from the concern audience.
Dan (Varun Dhawan), a student of hotel management is an intern at a top hotel in Delhi. Dan is a clumsy, careless but a lovable cookie. His colleague Shiuli ((Banita Sandhu) is a focused and caring. One night an incident changes the life of Shiuli and Dan and the movie takes a lyrically soothing turn where Dan experiences the meaning of love, care, responsibility, humanity and more. Shoojit Sircar takes his own sweet time in making his target audience sway with the allegory; it’s simple, heartfelt and spirited though it’s leisurely in its journey.
Varun Dhawan sheds his popular image of an entertainer and delivers a nuanced performance as Dan. It will be debatable whether BADLAPUR or OCTOBER is his best till date as an actor. He is controlled, rightly subtle and piously into the skin of Dan in this song less story about love.
For the general audience, OCTOBER will be a test of patience and too human in this practical world. It will be even difficult for the audience who love rom com to understand the reason behind Dan emotions and Shiuli’s reactions as they don,t say the golden words. Are they in love..? will be the question that will keep on lingering in their heads. OCTOBER is beautiful and poetic but it’s strictly for the eclectic who savor poetry, the entertainment hungry souls may even doze off.
Shoojit Sircar narrates the story piously; the biggest achievement in OCTOBER is the helmer’s brilliant quality to say more with fewer words in this coming of age saga. As Dan discovers his feelings towards Shiuli, he comes to terms with his equation with his boss, friends, mom, especially with Shiuli’s mom and life in general. All depicted in simple day to day events.
The movie looks beautiful thanks to Avik Mukhopadhyay’s eye candy camera work, whether it’s the opening sequence of a metro steering into its destination amidst the Delhi fog, the autumn greenery, everything is picturesque like a postcard though majority of the movie is shot indoors in a hospital but whenever the camera peeps outside, it breezes with fresh life.
OCTOBER would not have been soul stirring without the music of Shantanu Moitra which is pleasing, soothing and heartfelt reminder of the great sound of violin. The essence of Jasmine flower ((Nyctanthes arbor-tristis) – Shiuli in Bengali also known as the ‘tree of sorrow’ is rightly felt. The name of the female protagonist is Shiuli. The night blooming jasmines are quite popular for their characteristic scent and they bloom most prominently from July through October.(If anyone was wondering the comig of OCTOBER in this summer? – this seems to be the seed of thought for the innovative title).
Banita Sandhu as Shiuli gives an earnest performance, Gitanjali Rao as Shiuli’s mom is fantastic.
OCTOBER is an experiment which is more important to Varun Dhawan then anyone else. The entertainer who has never given a flop in his six year old career has featured in love stories playing to the gallery with aplomb. Will his portrayal in OCTOBER bring the desired ‘cool’ quotient in this scorching heat to his fandom? That need to be seen but in any case, Varun deserves a pat on his back for completing surrendering to Shoojit Sircar’s vision and Juhi Chaturvedi’s allegory of love. He did it in BADLAPUR in 2015 but a lot has happened since then.
But for those who think beyond box office figures and clichés for entertainment, OCTOBER is an emotional, lyrical and beautiful indulgence if you savor poetry and have the patience. As we know true love demands patience, so does OCTOBER. Going with 3.5 stars (an extra for the undeniably adorable Varun Dhawan).