‘October’ Review : Unanswerable Questions of plaintive understanding!

Have you ever been there at a moment, when you feel totally exhausted, fatigued, challenged, frustrated in life, and yet there was a single tiny little bit of light, that kept you going? October is that essence, of awkward, weird, illogical waiting – with an understanding, that the wait is trifling, absurd and endless. It is an abrupt movie – of switching scenes of active participation, busy nuisances and calm passive in-action, where nothing happens.
October isn’t a movie. It is just an autumnal feeling juxtaposed with the genre of love. Love isn’t ecstatic, joyful or loud here. You cannot describe the feeling. It loses all definition. You can’t even judge whether this was love or we took ‘care’, deceiving to be ‘love’. But then you question “care” – why do people care? Why should Dan (Varun Dhawan) care for Shiuli (Banita Sandhu) ? The nurse asks, “uski boyfriend ho tum?” – he isn’t. He isn’t her family even. He is just a co-worker, with whom she hardly ever spoke properly! Then why? Juhi Chaturvedi, doesn’t even dare to answer the question – she leaves it to a much elevated level of paradoxically simple understanding of emotions – very subtle, soft, foolish, immature. The tale is as if enveloped by immaturity, and lack of practicality – yet the tale is about life’s fundamental essence – of living for oneself, of living for another.
It is wonderful to see how carefully Sircar has prevented reality and practicality to creep into the plot and disturb the harmony of a plaintive story. He never tries to drive away the mood of melancholy. He doesn’t let you have a moment of complete joy – He lets you soak in a full autumn, to smile at the aching joys, to laugh at the silly commitments, to enjoy the immature sentiments.  Sircar allows us to have a confused first impression about his protagonist, and just at a point where you will be ready to write him off,  Sircar exposes the soul – once you look at that – you fall in love with the character. You try to find reasons, you can’t and so fortunately you can’t that you feel happy with your failed attempt. October’s crux is based on your in-ability to find a meaning.
The movements in-plot are sudden. You are taken aback by the pace at which tragedies occur, till a point of time, where you feel the anxious anticipation of the next ‘fall’ – and as long as they aren’t falling in lives, they are falling in love – bit by bit, slowly, then all at once – without definition, without meaning, without purpose, without history.
The hospital scenes are horrifying, the visuals are pathetic, only to be punctuated by Dan’s appearance. There is no Varun Dhawan – the “hit machine” here. This is a nameless, faceless, man who has started acting perhaps, just now. He has given his all that he has been saving since Badlapur. Poised in anguish, calm in anger, satiated in sorrow. The constantly brooding individual who can question his hotel staff about why they have put an elastic underwear for laundry, and also the nurse about why there is more urine in Shiuli’s catheter pouch, than there was the previous day! He makes you participate in his melancholy. He makes you feel sorry for his suffering – yet you don’t quite know, why he chooses to suffer. And till the point, when you will not know – you will let October come onto you.
Banita Sandhu takes up a huge challenge. The points where she is just lying in the ICU of a hospital bed, with tubes and channels running all through her body – you feel the horror. That is passive acting at its very best. Her paralyzed self, where she is carried around by Dan, where she wants to smile, but can’t move her lips is delightfully sorrowful. And Sircar, perhaps, for that reason wanted a ‘not-so-famous’ actress, who doesn’t carry the fear of being lost in the action all around, without being herself able to participate in the happenings. She ensures, she does ‘nothing’ – so beautifully accomplished. Gitanjali Rao as her mother, is a delight to watch. She is the perfect mother, who can’t allow the doctors to plug off the ventilation, even after knowing that all hopes are slipping away. Her unseen tears pierce through the scenes.
Music, is all in the background. No song present as a whole sequence, and the constant interplay of fine chords set the perfect mood for celebrating the sorrow. The end is abrupt, extended, and then anti-climactic – there lies the success – anti-climax is the constant dramatic happening. Silence is the most important dialogue and absence is palpable. The camera works by suggestion. There is constant meaning and symbolism in-between the lines.
If you haven’t seen it already, then pick a day to participate in the sorrow. Shed a tear or two, be sad, enjoy the intricacies of not knowing why, and celebrate sadness – celebrate autumn, celebrate the end. Winter will be a harsh month and spring doesn’t necessarily bring rejuvenation. Engage your 1.54 hours of life, in contemplating, meaninglessness.

My rating 4.5/5.

Article by :- Anish Banerjee.

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Jab Harry Met Sejal : Nonchalant Plot only lightened up by SRK-Anushka! 

Jab Harry Met Sejal is a long awaited meeting. A meeting of old times. Here is ShahRukh Khan, not of recent times, not the SRK – The King of Bollywood, The Badshaah – but that man who could tune a love story with his own personal chords, who could look into the eyes of a girl and express a million emotions all together, who could speak to the air of the mustard fields of Punjab, who could rule the heart of Sinorita on the screen, and thousands of Sinoritas off the screen.  This movie is the meeting of that particular ShahRukh Khan with his audience, with his fans – who had been waiting long to cherish those unsaid moments , so easily flushed out and blushed out  by a look, a stare, a glance, a move. Yash Chopra’s ShahRukh is back in the form of Harry and Imtiaz Ali, thankfully, uses ShahRukh’s personal property – his romance – as the main asset of the film. But he chooses a wrong film to do so.

JHMS contains one of the simplest of stories in the industry – very much recognizable, nothing extra-ordinary and quite predictable. Yet, it is said that it has been made to win hearts. Its soothing, vulnerable, light-hearted, and only at points you can’t help but sit there and take all of it inside, bit by bit, sip by sip. . Imtiaz Ali makes a strong start to the film. Within few scenes, it will grip you up. You will be well equipped with the theme and there is everything that is required in a beginning of a rom-com. But the movie falls after a while and suddenly, becomes monotonous. Added to it, is a continuous sequence of 3 songs which make you feel like you have been watching YouTube videos in a cinema hall. Fortunately, there is the intermission and Ali learns from his mistake pretty quickly. The result is a much better paced 2nd half and JHMS again picks up the tempo and here is where there is plenty to swoon for. But still the story doesn’t go anywhere and you know how it ends already. ShahRukh Khan at his romantic best with a fairy-alike Anushka Sharma. Here is where your original journey gathers little pace with those two on screen – your journey of love, heartbreaks, ‘sejal’ of emotional connections and an intense longing for a “happy ending”.  Imtiaz Ali hasn’t worked on anything here basically!

This is an age-old Indian love-story shot in Europe and Ali doesn’t complicate matters here and that is why the movie looks simpler yet calm, and nothing to beat the craze. The idea of “what you seek is seeking you” becomes clearer and you are guided to an ending, which by now you can have guessed (if you have been watching Bollywood for long enough). There is nothing of Tamashaa’s literature here, but a sparkling, loving chemistry.

Cinematography and camera work are simple too, but very bright, less symbolic and brilliant play of some amazing night shots. Locations all around Europe will make you long for a long paid holiday.

Anushka Sharma is like a fairy-dream lady here. She is fantastic throughout. Steals ShahRukh’s thunder at some places even. Matching a matured ShahRukh Khan, known for his everlasting romance, she is at the same tempo – even higher at places. She owns Sejal and true to her character name – she is like those waves of the river – with which you sway along. She looks immensely beautiful and is so at home with this genre. You just want her to be with you all the time on the screen.

ShahRukh Khan comes back to his comfort zone (a weak zone for all the girls around) from the psychological and mafia genres of Fan and Raees respectively – and sorry to say – he looks so better here in his own shoes. It may have taken time to see him back here again but he can rule a full time-space of 143 minutes without packing a punch, shooting a bullet or delivering a plebeian “Siti wala” dialogue. His eyes speak a thousand unsaid words. His expressions can build a storm in the calmness of hearts and he is here doing what he does best – mohabbat –  who can make thousands sing “humko hum hi se churalo” . His age although shows up on his face and there is perhaps not a place to hide from that. Sadly there is no plot to back him up and carries too much, burden shows up!

A very little (and very thankfully so) side cast – which again keeps to the simplicity. Music is good, loud, but very badly placed – congested. Run-time could have been lesser too.

Go with your “near and dear” ones to your nearest theatres, get away from over the top plots of intense drama all around – this will not hurt your brain muscles, but will surely tickle some of your heart’s – and how familiar the whole plot will seem – it will be a comfortable place to find yourself in, maybe – check out whether you, too, are seeking what seeks you. Go Go, begin the search soon, help your Sejal to find a ring, if you already have found your Sejal, that is.

My rating 2.5/5.

Article by Anish Banerjee.