Actress: Soha Ali Khan
Release Date: 21st October, 2016
Cast: Vir Das, Soha Ali Khan, Daya Shanker Pandey, Vineet Sharma, Deepraj Rana, Raj Saluja, Nagesh Bhonsle, Sezal Sharma
Director: Shivaji Lotan Patil
Writer/Producer: Harry Sachdeva
Plot: 31st October, the first mainstream film ever based on the assassination of Indira Gandhi and what it led to. Set against the backdrop of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the film is a true-life story of a Sikh family and their fight for survival. Produced by Magical Dreams Productions Pvt Ltd and Harry Sachdeva and directed by Shivaji Lotan Patil, ‘31st October’ stars Vir Das and Soha Ali Khan in the lead roles.
The film is a depiction of one of the most important dates in Indian history, the day India lost its Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. She was shot dead by her own bodyguards, which changed the political scenario of the country to such an extent that many innocent lives were lost and India witnessed a black Wednesday. It is a story of human emotions, conflicts, survival and friendship.
Rating: 1.5/5 Stars (One and half stars)
Star Cast: Vir Das, Soha Ali Khan, Daya Shanker Pandey, Vineet Sharma, Deepraj Rana, Raj Saluja, Nagesh Bhonsle, Sezal Sharma
Director: Shivaji Lotan Patil
What’s Good: The film’s short run-time.
What’s Bad: 31st October comes across a terribly shot, poorly written and shoddily acted film.
Loo Break: Plenty of them!
Watch or Not?: Definitely skip! 31st October is a classic example of how to not make a film. It has problems in almost all of its departments and hence give this one a miss.
The main plot of 31st October revolves around the violent treatment that the Sikh community had to face post Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984 by her Sikh guard.
The film chronicles this incident with the help of their lead characters Devinder and Tejinder.
Devinder (Vir Das) and his wife Tejinder (Soha Ali Khan) are 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 catapulted with the incident of the assassination and thus what entails is the story of his and his family’s survival.
31st October Review: Script Analysis
The assassination of Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi in 1984 came as a big blow to India post the emergency. While the country was shaken up with this act, there was severe unrest amongst the masses and particularly in the areas with heavy Sikh population.
This film throws light on the innocent Sikh lives that were lost during the riots that followed Gandhi’s assassination. In spite of having a powerful subject at hand, writer Harry Sachdeva fumbles badly by making it extremely on religious sentiments.
There is hardly anything natural in this film, every dialogue and situation is literally forced upon us for example, the kids coming home and repeating ‘Papaji Papaji’ every time their dad comes in frame. The husband-wife conversations too look haphazard with little connectivity to its preceding scenes.
There is of course the forceful inclusion of information on Sikh community such as the reason why they wear the turban, why they are considered brave and the five things that make a Sikh.
Sub-plots seem to have been added just to keep the film going. Certain characters completely disappear in the second half by when I feel the writers had realized they are achieving nothing from this.
At a run-time of 1 hour 42 minutes, the film shows Devinder and Tejinder’s fight to survive in the riots while many other supporting Sikh characters die. It’s a little to filmy to watch the hero remain intact till his old age while even the non-Sikh characters die saving him.
The assassination is wrapped up in one shoddy scene, with hardly any footage given to the killer’s character. The assassination was carried out in retaliation to operation blue star which gets no mention in the film.
31st October Review: Star Performance
Vir Das was seen in a Sikh avatar recently in the extremely displeasing comic affair, Santa Banta Pvt Ltd. This time with a serious role at hand, Das tries hard to get his Sikh act right but fails to accomplish that. Not only is his accent a forced one but Das’s body language too is highly uncomfortable.
Soha Ali Khan is teary eyed all through the film. In other scenes, she fumbles to catch on her Punjabi accent.
Vineet Sharma and Deepraj Rana do a decent job as the supporting cast.