Director Shivaji Lotan Patil’s film based on the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots comes out at a very crucial time for Hindi Film Industry: When terrorist attacks by Pakistan have made certain political parties oppose the movies made by Indians, along with threats to vandalize Indian multiplexes which might even harm a few citizens in the process- all because the movies star one or two Pakistani artists. And that’s perhaps what ‘31st October’ is about – Indira Gandhi’s assassination leading to riots which killed several from the Sikh community because the act was committed by two Sikhs and led to the entire nation suffering.
Star Cast: Vir Das, Soha Ali Khan, Deepraj Rana and Vineet Sharma
Director: Shivaji Lotan Patil
Producer: Harry Sachdeva
Claps For: Performances (especially by Vir Das), Direction and Background Score
Slaps For: The film loses its pace in the second half
What’s New: A take on what happened after former PM Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984
Popcorn Refill: Strictly Interval
Plot: Davinder Singh is a respectable man who lives a peaceful life in New Delhi with his wife and three kids. However, the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by two Sikhs on 31st October, 1984 changes things for him, his family and the entire Sikh community.
With bunch of several angry mobs on the streets searching for and killing each and every Sardaar they spot, will Davinder and his family survive the night? Or will it be a tragic end for them just like the other innocent families?
Performances: ‘31st October’ belongs to Vir Das. He is in terrific form, and delivers the best performance of his career. He proves what a natural actor he is- all he needs is the right kind of script and director. Right from getting his expressions and Punjabi accent right, to leaving the audiences with a lump in the throat with his tears- Das brings the character of Davinder Singh to life on the big screen. What a matured performance!
Less of movies like ‘Mastizaade’ and more of movies like this, please?
Soha Ali Khan doesn’t have many dialogues, but nails it with her silence, body language and tears that speak of the fear within her. Here’s another performance she can proudly add in her CV after ‘Mumbai Meri Jaan’ and ‘Rang De Basanti’.
Deepraj Rana and Vineet Sharma are at their usual best, and will leave you impressed.
The supporting cast lends a good support.
About The Movie: Movies with such topics end up being under one of the two categories- either way too melodramatic, or way too realistic. But director Shivaji Lotan Patil makes sure that neither does the movie come across as an over-the-top affair with heavy dosage of emotional drama, nor does it end up being way too realistic to become a favorite for film festivals. Patil keeps it simple and fresh along with pinches of emotions every now and then.
A hard-hitting drama coupled with intense moments, bloodshed and heart-thumping background score- the first half makes up for a gripping ride; along with a good Intermission point.
However, the film loses its grip during the second half due to its slow pace. But that surely doesn’t take away the effect of the movie as the mystery to know what happens next ,and sympathies for the Singh family continue to flow.
It’s not a well-crafted film. And you cannot even blame it for being one- thanks to the several cuts and suggestions by the Censor Board. But it surely is a well-directed one.
The cinematography is apt. Thankfully, there are no forced songs or unnecessary angles to divert the movie from its topic.
Overall, this one’s surely worth the watch!
Verdict: We give Shivaji Lotan Patil’s ‘31st October’ THUNDEROUS CLAPS for being a hard-hitting and gripping drama; along with great performances by all, especially Vir Das.