In Shakti Samanta’s 1971 romantic classic “Amar Prem”, the lead pair Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore never get a chance to get intimate in the way men and women get in real and reel life. No songs, no exchange of affection, no sex. And yet the on-screen pair in the movie were an epitome of romanticism.
There’s a similar sublimity in Varun Dhawan’s eyes in “October”, director Shoojit Sircar and writer Juhi Chuturvedi’s most romantic association to date. The trailer is suffused in shades of green and the hues of morning time serenity, conveying a closeness to nature that is as bracing as a walk by the riverside on a soft autumn morning.
Varun plays a housekeeper at a hotel, in love with the idea of love. The girl whom he follows into the ICU of a hospital barely acknowledges him at their workplace. Yet he clings to the idea of love in the way a mother whose son has gone soldiering to the border clings to the idea that he will come back.
The thought of a man waiting for a comatose woman to recover before knowing whether she is in love with him or not was recently seen in Kumail Nanjiani’s “The Big Sick”. Here in “October”, Sircar and his infinitely intuitive writer Chaturvedi show us what it is like to be in love with the idea of love.
It’s a relationship built on fragile hope and residual trust. The trailer tenderly and lovingly weaves into Varun’s character Dan’s world where love has lodged itself precariously. This is not an easily obtainable love nor is it a relationship that has any rational basis. For all we know, the love could just be in Varun’s mind.
“October” is a world that very few filmmakers today would dare to enter, let alone inhabit with such comforting grace. This is the kind of romantic drama we though we would never see again after Rajesh, Sharmila and Shakti Samanta.
It takes one Bengali to take over the mantle of the new-age Bimal Roy from another Bengali.
Take a bow, Mr Sircar. We had a magician with whom you share your name. Now there is you creating magic in film after film.