31st October: Film Review – Commercial Yet Meaningful

Verdict: A massacre that shook the nation, a film that missed the point.

Why should a community suffer for the wrongdoings of a few people? Also, is it logical to take matters into our own hands and try to ‘sort things out’ by using violence? These are the questions that many raised when the Sikh massacre happened after the assassination of the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. But it definitely doesn’t end there. Many such incidents are taking place till today and still there’s no justice. The line, “justice delayed is justice denied” is what the film, 31st October ends with, and it makes us realize that we already know this, but what are we doing about it? Perhaps, this is exactly what the National Award-winning director Shivaji Lotan Patil, wants us to take away from the film.
31st-october-still
At the beginning of the film, you can see how things were normal and cordial in a neighborhood in Delhi. On 31st October, 1984, nobody but the culprits knew what the day ahead holds, as they had marked that day to carry out their plan of assassinating the Prime Minister. With this plan, they managed to put everyone’s lives in danger. Due to this incident, the Sikh community was doomed and anyone who tried to help them was also not spared from torture.

Set in the time when all this was happening, the film focuses on the life of Devender Singh (Vir Das) and his family. It shows their daily routine and how it gets disrupted due to the incident. From that point, their struggle begins and they try their best to escape from the riots. Soha Ali Khan plays the role of Devender Singh’s wife, who on her way home from the market, also witnesses the destruction and the cold-blooded murders that were taking place in order to get back at their community. All in all, it was an absolutely helpless situation for Devender and his family. Devender tries to seek help from his colleagues but they, too, back off and deny him help in order to keep their respective families safe. Will Devender and his family be able to see the light of day and get away from all the chaos? Watch 31st October to witness their struggle.

The story of this film is simple and it tries to give you a taste of the real incidents. In many scenes, it manages to show the gruesome reality convincingly, but in many of the other scenes, it fails to connect with the soul of the people. At some point, you also feel that it’s simply a documentation of the real events, instead of being the heart-wrenching film that it could have been. Soha Ali Khan makes her comeback and it somewhat meets the requirement. Vir Das struggles to play that extremely positive, nice guy who is caught up in the mess along with his family.

Why You Should Watch This Movie:
This film takes you back to 1984 and shows you what happened after the assassination of the Prime Minister in a less gory way. Some of you may be able to relate to the incidents, while for others, it will be an enlightening walk back through history.

Release Date: 21st October, 2016
Language: Hindi
Director: Shivaji Lotan Patil
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Cast & Crew: Soha Ali Khan, Vir Das, Vineet Sharma, Deep Raj Rana
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