There is no second-guessing the fact that Shoojit Sircar’s October plays like poetry on screen. The man has a way with his frames and every scene seems to be telling a story without putting so much into words. And despite October not being one of those decked-up Bollywood movies, it’s beauty stands apart. In fact, its beauty lies in its simplicity. Every frame of October celebrates life and love, as it is, in very earthy and realistic terms.
On the face of it, October’s plot seems to follow a very simple story. Unlike mainstream Bollywood movies, the film does not proceed with a tangible pace. Moreover, even its sequences do not have a definite beginning or an end. There are just moments. And there is something about the way Shoojit captures these moments that every scene seems to be conveying emotions rather than rendering information.
While Shoojit adds a certain poetic quality to all his scenes, Avik Mukhopadhyay’s camera does the rest of the job. There are specific scenes where the makers play with the set’s light, the lensing, the point-of-view among other things and it turns out beautifully on the screens. In October, Mukhopadhyay is able to present a Delhi which looks every bit lived in. A stark departure from the repetitive shots of Chandni Chowk and Connaught Place that usually feature in Delhi based films. Even though most of his shots are confined to hotel/hospital rooms, the city is almost like a living and breathing being in the film.
And even though not much was expected from the commercial box office magnet Varun Dhawan, it is safe to say that he delivers on all quarters in October. And equally talented is his co-actor Banita Sandhu, who, despite not having much to do for most of the run-time, manages to hold all your attention. The supporting cast including Gitanjali Rao as Shiuli’s mother, Sahil Vedoliyaa as Manjeet and Iteeva Pande as Shiuli’s sister are impressive in bringing the right emotions to their characters. Here’s looking at five of the best scenes in October.
1. The one where Shiuli falls
Twenty minutes into October and Shoojit’s cinematic brilliance is pretty evident on the silver screen. Just as you are getting comfortable in the world of Shiuli and Dan, Shoojit delivers one of the most severe blows of the film and that too, in the most unexpected way. Devoid of any melodrama, Shoojit deals with this scene — one of the most pivotal ones in the film — with a very realistic and casual attitude. There is a party on the rooftop, music is blaring out of the speakers, people are not paying attention to what is happening around them and it just happens. And much like life, things go on as they were before and after Shiuli falls.
2. The one with Dan and Shiuli’s mothers
Midway through the film, there comes a scene where Dan’s mother comes to Delhi and expresses that she wants to meet Shiuli. While much doesn’t happen in the scenes till then, there is a conversation between Dan and Shiuli’s mothers that sticks back in your mind. While Gitanjali Rao as Kaveri Iyer is talking about Shiuli’s ill fate, Dan’s mother remarks how a lot of adult parenting always comes with the constant fear of losing your children. It is a poignant scene as even though both the mothers are dealing with different problems at that point, they are bound together with the love for their child.
3. The one with the final blow
As beautifully as Shoojit dealt with the scene where Shiuli falls off the terrace, similar is his approach towards the scene where Shiuli dies. This too comes when the viewers are least expecting it to happen. And the one shot where Shiuli makes an appearance outside Varun’s apartment is unquestionably the most lasting shot of the film. It is the kind of stuff that will haunt you even days after you watch the movie. With that simple image, October is able to transcend a lot of boundaries in its narrative.
The treatment that Shoojit follows post that is also very poetic. Dan just sits beside a deceased Shiuli and cherishes his memories. It ends on a very heart-rending note as Kaveri enlightens Dan about how Shiuli got her name and it is just too heavy with emotions.
4. The one with the Shiuli tree
To provide any kind of meaningful closure to the kind of subject that October deals with is a task in itself. But Shoojit excels at that and how. While we are given glances at how Dan finally has his dream job and everything after Shiuli’s death, the moment that Shoojit chooses to picturise in detail is a conversation between him and Kaveri.
And these two people, who are probably the ones most affected by Shiuli’s death, don’t discuss how Shiuli’s death has impacted them but instead they discuss how they are not able to talk about Shiuli as much as they would have wanted. It is subtle yet powerful at the same time. The two discuss how their life is going on and the film ends with a poignant shot of Dan driving away with the shiuli tree which is something that will always live to remind him of Shiuli. And just like him, we as audiences carry a mixed bag of emotions as we leave the theatre.