Director/producer Shoojit Sircar and actor Varun Dhawan have created the unexpected from Bollywood; “October” is a quiet, introspective film, centering on two young people, training at a five-star hotel in Delhi, India. “Dan” (Dhawan) is flippant, “Brahminesque” in his attitude toward his employers and patrons; at twenty-one, the world is his lotus flower and he assumes it always will be. Winsome, fellow coworker, “Shiuli” (elegant debut performance by Banita Sandhu) suffers a horrendous accident and Dan’s life is revolutionized; he is transfixed by her suffering, convinced of her eventual recovery; interferes with doctors, bonds with her family, especially her mother “Vidya” (refined, painful depiction by Gitanjali Rao); boundaries disappear, erasing his emotional and physical parameters; Shiuli’s challenges, miniscule advancements, consume his every conscious and unconscious thought.
Dhawan’s laconic, sensitive portrayal is a far cry from traditional Bollywood fare; absent are heart-wrenching love songs, aerobic, fifteen-minute dance sequences and constant, perpetual running; Dan grows from a blithe boy to a mature man; his is a sublime performance.
“October” is a unique and tender love story; silently, two hearts and minds entwine and grace beauty to the screen.