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Review: 31st October

Banner: Magical Dreams Productions, Anand Motion Pictures

Producer: Harry Sachdeva

Director: Shivaji Lotan Patil

Cast: Vir Das, Soha Ali Khan, Vineet Sharma, Deep Raj Rana, Gurjit Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Aksshat Saluja, Nagesh Bhonsle, Sezal Sharma

Writers: Harry Sachdeva (story, screenplay & dialogue), Amit Tuli (screenplay & dialogue), Basant Kashyap (screenplay & dialogue)

Music: Vijay Verma

31st-octoberWe’ve watched many a film focus on historic events in the past. So where does 31st October stand, considering it is based on one of the most defining events in Indian political history? Sadly, the film neither justifies its approach as far as the subject goes, nor impresses in the execution department.

Based on the aftermath of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984, the film follows Devinder (Vir Das) and his wife Tejinder (Soha Ali Khan), a regular married couple with three kids, living in a friendly community in Delhi. While, Devinder has a government job and is a respected employee, his
perfect life is thrown into turmoil by
the assassination.

A violent backlash follows and communal tension starts to grow in West Delhi’s Tilak Nagar, where Devinder and his family live. Here, rioters round up every Sikh and start killing them. The crux of the film revolves around Devinder and his family’s survival.

Director Shivaji Lotan Patil, who has won a National Award for his Marathi film, lacks conviction in his vision. Poor writing by Harry Sachdeva, who is also the producer of the film, mars the film. The screenplay leaves a lot to be desired and the character sketches are vague and ill-defined. With a decent first half, the film nosedives post-interval.

The makers fail to weave together an interesting story and present a technically weak film. Dialogue is uninspiring. Cinematography by Ramani Ranjan Das is tedious. Editing is good but with a runtime of 104 minutes, the film’s snail pace narrative and missing segue between many scenes makes for a haphazard narration. Locations and costumes are apt. Music and background score are apt.

Patil tries to dramatise many scenes but fails. He gives the impression of trying too hard and overdramatises things, whether with background music or direction. The film has no novelty in its execution. With such a strong basic premise, this is nothing but a lost opportunity.

Performance-wise, Vir Das does a brilliant job. Soha Ali Khan stays true to her character throughout the film but fails to save this sinking ship. Vineet Sharma is good. Deep Raj Rana is brilliant. Gurjit Singh is just about okay. Lakhwinder Singh is irksome. The rest of the cast fits the bill.

 

Verdict: Dud.

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