21 Oct 2016
31st October Hindi Movie Review – Hard Hitting | 2016 | Vir Das, Soha Ali Khan
Vir Das as Devinder Singh
Soha Ali Khan as Tajinder Kaur
Lakhwinder Lakha as Yogesh
Deepraj Rana as Pal
Vineet Sharma as Tilak
Nagesh Bhonsle as Inspector Dahiya
Daya Shankar Pandey
Maneet Vaghadia as Gudiya
Produced Harry Sachdeva
Directed Shivaji Lotan Patil
Story Harry Sachdeva
Screenplay Harry Sachdeva and Amit Tuli
Music Vijay Verma
Cinematography Ramani Ranjan Das
Art Direction Harish Kumar
Likes: A hard hitting story, Performance by Vir Das.
Dislikes: Soha disappoints, lackluster music
Rating: 3.5/5 – Thumbs Up, Watch this for its hard hitting content.
Synopsis: Based on a true story, the film focuses on the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination which occurred on 31st October 1984.
Devinder Singh and Tejinder Kaur both live happily with their three children in Delhi. The day of 31st October which started with a normal morning, became a nightmare for the family as the day progressed. All of a sudden, the people who were colleagues and friends turned foes and are behind their life. Reason: The assassination of Indian PM Indira Gandhi by her bodyguard Beant Singh who belonged to the Sikh Community. As a result, due to the wrong doing of one person, the entire Sikh Community had to suffer the communal riots in 1984.
Will Devinder Singh and his family be able to survive this massacre? Watch this intriguing tale to find out.
- Story / Script / Dialogues: The story written by Harry Sachdeva, is a heart wrenching tale of a Sikh Family who goes through the communal riots of 1984. It’s to the point and doesn’t wander away from the topic. The story is realistic where the lead of the movie is not the quintessential Tara Singh who can bash the daylights of people who try to harm his family, nor he is like any other filmy hero. His heroism lies in the way he realistically reacts to the situations. The script is crisp, though the director’s treatment is simplistic. Dialogues are good at places but most often the dialogue writer is confused whether to write a punjabi dialogue, hindi dialogue or combination of both. Since punjabi is verbally very close to hindi, it doesn’t hamper the proceedings.
- Screenplay: The screenplay literally gives you goosebumps. The massacre, the violence has been transported nicely onscreen though it shows a lot of blood and gore, which some people may not like. The effect of the screenplay is such that it lets you imagine what would have happened if you were stuck in the same situation. The people who have gone through this may identify with the nightmare they faced.
- Editing: Editing is crisp and the movie moves at a brisk pace. This was the need of the hour as the plot is narrow and filled with violence.
- Music and Lyrics: The songs are ordinary but they are used well in the narration. However, few hit songs and popular music always helps a movie.
- Direction: Kudos to the director for handling the subject with caution and care. Shivaji Lotan Patil doesn’t waste much time and takes the movie forward in a very simplistic manner. The director wins because it’s an unbiased effort to showcase the harsh truth of communal riots through a tale of a family who is a victim. There is one scene where a Canada return clean shaven Sikh (Tejinder’s cousin brother) tries to convince the Hindu’s that he is a Sardar, a Sikh and they should not spare him also as they just killed his friend, but they go away giving a deaf year only because he was clean shaven and did not have a turban on his head, they spared a Sikh. Thus, he also establishes the fact that these communal riots are a result of some blind people who are misguided by politicians and the power hungry individuals to massacre the innocent. The justice is delayed in the case of the Anti-Sikh Riots but the director does total justice to the script.
- Star Performances: Vir Das excels as Devinder Singh. He gives an effortless and truly believable performance. He is not a Super Sardar who twists his fists in every other scene, rather he is an ordinary man, a government employee, who is struggling with Low BP as in the mayhem he couldn’t take tablets. His friends are trying to rescue him and his family. There is one scene where Vir Das gives up and is ready to be slaughtered only because his sacrifice will give his family a life line. He proves that heroism is not only about going bang bang bang. Soha Ali Khan is credited before Vir Das as she is a more senior actor or perhaps ‘the star’, but her performance is disappointing. Not only her dialogue delivery but also her body language is far from being a Sardarni. She looks at bay while reacting to situations, her only moment is when the Inspector who stops her car and tries to sniff if they are trying to save a Sardar. Deepraj Rana, Lakhwinder Lakha and Vineet Sharma lend adequate support. Nagesh Bhonsle is notable. Dayashankar Pandey is ordinary.
Final Verdict: Just like the justice of the Anti-Sikh Riots, the movie also got delayed by exactly an year and now it has found itself sandwiched between a plethora of movies released last week, this week and two big giants coming up next week. In such a scenario, the movie needs to ride on the positive word of mouth since it has no big stars, no popular song, minimal promotions and a delayed release. But just like Pink, this movie has hard hitting content, which is a big plus and if it can continue the trend that Pink started, many makers would start opting for better content rather then gimmicky marketing.
If you want to witness a serious piece of history which is truly depicted on the silver screen then 31st October is a must watch. Watch it for it’s content, watch it for Vir Das.