When October’s trailer dropped on the internet many months ago, fans were unanimously waiting for Varun Dhawan’s performance to unfold in this unusual love story. His collaboration with an unconventional director like Shoojit Sircar came as a welcome surprise for fans and his subtle demeanour, non-glamourous look reeking innocence had got everyone interested.
Well, October has finally released and it is safe to say that Dhawan has delivered on all quarters. His character Danish Wallia wants to become a chef but is struggling with the adversitites of being an ‘understudy’ in a five-star hotel. While he has plans to start-up with two of his colleagues-cum-friends Ishaani and Manjeet (Sahil Vedoliyaa), he maintains an acquaintance-cum-friends relationship with the third one, Shiuli (Banita Sandhu).
To say that Dan is a complex character to essay may very well be an understatement. I don’t mean to say that Dan is not someone who you won’t come across in your everyday life, that is highly likely. But still, just like the rest of us, there is a certain uniqueness about him. His set of values and emotions are starkly different from the ones around him.
He is certainly a cocky fellow who, for the most part, just doesn’t want to be in the circumstances he is in. He is asking the wrong questions at the wrong time and he is just asking too many of them. But in all of that, his intentions are pure as gold. He is irritating yet likeable, cheeky yet innocent and resilient yet vulnerable, he is complex in the most humanly way possible. And believe me when I say it, it takes a lot of skill to convey the intricacies of such a complex character as beautifully as Varun has done.
Dan’s morose life gets turned upside down when Shiuli meets with an unfortunate accident. Exactly why Dan is so affected by the incident is not something that the audiences are told in clear words by the film. But there is something about Varun’s mannerisms that make us believe that he is here to stay till the end with Shiuli. His eyes, his dialogue-delivery and his overall demeanour reflect the kind of purity of heart that Dan symbolises in the film.
Post the accident, Sandhu is not entitled to move or do much of acting as a comatose Shiuli and it is Varun who carries the film on his shoulders from there. He is evocative even in scenes when the conversations are pretty much one-sided, much like his relationship. Several such scenes stay back in your mind: the one in the hospital where he asks Shiuli why she didn’t recognise him, the one where he says that Shiuli is angry because he had gone away and especially the penultimate one in the park where he rebukes her for going so far away.
But while there are some scenes that Varun especially stands out in, there are some where his efforts become all too visible. Yes, he may be a work-in-progress currently but it is beyond refreshing to see an A-lister like him pick an unconventional film like October.
During the promotions of October, Varun himself accepted that he chased director Shoojit Sircar for a year for “a meeting” before he finally bagged the film. Shoojit and writer Juhi Chaturvedi have also revealed how Varun was not the actor they had imagined for Dan. But this unusual combination has given Bollywood one of its best work for 2018 in October.
And there is no denying the fact that Varun has been able to completely rip off his commercial image through October. Long gone are the days where this box office magnet of ours played the cheesy, know-it-all, lover-boy roles, he has proved his mettle as an actor and I can’t wait to see what he will bring to the celluloid now.
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