’31st October’ movie review: Deserving story fails to connect, lacks tight execution

'31st October' movie review is out

Directed by: Shivaji Lotan Patil
Produced by: Harry Sachdeva
Cast: Vir Das, Soha Ali Khan
Duration: 1 hour 42 minutes
Bollywood Bubble Rating: ★★
Facing some delays as a roadblock, Vir Das and Soha Ali Khan starrer ‘31st October‘ is ready for a release this Friday. Based on a true story, the movie is set against the backdrop of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, tracing the survival journey of a Sikh family. Highlighting those difficult circumstances, will this tale of that fateful night of 31st October move you to tears making a strong connect? We hold a doubt on this.
The plot begins with Devendra Singh and his family consisting of a wife, twin sons and a baby daughter living a normal life in Delhi. The assassination of Prime minister Indira Gandhi turns the world upside down not only for them, but also for the many Sikh people in their neighbourhood. Soon the riots create a havoc and to save their lives, Devendra and his family hide inside their house trying to get help. Pal and Tilak, Devendra’s friends decide to bring them at the former’s house where they would be safe as it’s a house of a Hindu person. So would Devendra and his family be able to survive this hatred? What consequences will they face in the middle of this? Would they take any unexpected drastic step during this situation? This forms the crux of ’31st October’.
Talking about performances, Vir Das excels in his role of Sardar Devendra Singh. He would actually take his fans by surprise with his intense and emotional scenes. He is effortless and certainly proves that given a chance, he could play diverse kind of roles. Soha Ali Khan as Tajinder Kaur is okay. Her role doesn’t have much scope in the film, but overall it is fine and her performance is average. There are some good actors like Deepraz Rana, Vineet Sharma and Daya Shankar Pandey who provide a commendable support to the script as Devendra’s friends.
The story is written by producer Harry Sachdeva himself with Amit Tuli and Basant Kashyap co-writing the screenplay and dialogues with him. A film on 1984 anti-Sikh riots makes for a deserving story, but overall the execution fails to create that deep effect. There are some scenes which are very well shot by director Shivaji Lotan Patil, but some technical errors in the second half like the mismatched dubbing, couple of lines and words muted could have been taken care of as they look inappropriate.
Technically, the cinematography by Ramani Ranjan Das is quite impressive and the background score of Surender Sodhi also deserves a special mention for holding the emotional graph of the scenes very effectively. There are a couple of songs composed by Vijay Verma, but only Sonu Nigam crooned ‘Yaqeen’ somewhat stays with you, mainly because of his heart-touching voice.
To wrap it up, ‘31st October’ is a good effort or rather we should say a tribute for those who lost their lives in that massacre. But the film certainly lacks a good execution which could have made it more impactful. The end verdict is that you can watch it once to get a hold or even recall that incident, else if you skip it you wouldn’t miss something.
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