Dark periods of Indian nation’s history have seldom been brought on celluloid except for a few instances, and those attempts have been plagued controversies and protests by certain sections of the society.

The film is one bold attempt to relive the horrors endured by the Sikh community after the tragic assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards who were angry after the ill-fated Operation Bluestar when the Harminder Sahib, the holiest place of Sikhs was stormed by security forces for clearing the temple from extremist elements.

“31 October” is a film based on the aftermath of the assassination of Indira Gandhi. It was not an easy task for producer Harry Sachdeva to make a movie which opens a can of worms and relives the horrors of one of the most tumultuous parts of Indian history.

The film stars Vir Das and Soha Ali Khan in the lead roles.

Communal tensions

The film chronicles the trials and tribulations of a Sikh family who are stuck in their home when the whole town is on fire stoked by communal elements. The film aptly chronicles the desperation of a vulnerable and apolitically affiliated family in the middle of a riot. It darkly and honestly recreates the mindset of a mob, a Hindu who has been living alongside their neighbors for years and their bond torn asunder by an evil act done by two individuals.

It also portrays strongly the mindset of some non-Sikhs and Hindus who risked their lives, were not swayed by the anti-Sikh hysteria sweeping the nation and saved the lives of many Sikhs. The film also portrays the dark side of Indian Polity, when the caretakers of the country let the rampage go on for a full 48 hours before calling the Indian Army who was able to control the situation with great effort.

Conflicts and riots can be written down as a report but when it is shown on celluloid, it needs deft handling, and Director Shivaji Lotan Patil has done precisely that. “31 October” is a date which will ever remain etched in Indian History as a dark day and Patil has focused on the human side of a story against a backdrop of violence and riots. It is much akin to another masterpiece of yesteryears “Bombay” when Mani Ratnam beautifully portrayed the lives of an ordinary man who is caught in the middle of a conflict of which he is not a part.

The Story

The story is straightforward, and the plot is paper thin. It is a typical day for Devinder (Vir Das) and Tejinder (Soha Ali Khan) and their three children, but by evening they are fighting for their lives. Their friends from the other side of the town brave rioters and police to get to them to take them to safety.

After numerous close shaves with death, rioters, police and the loss of one of his friends, Devinder's family reaches a safe spot. The film during its 102 minutes starkly portrays how some Hindus save their brother Sikhs while others butcher them. The film talks about how the police in Delhi did nothing to douse the fires of communal violence.

"31 October" was screened at the Vancouver International Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival and in London and has been generating rave reviews. The flick got stuck for a full four months at the Censor Board, and many scenes which depicted a sense of violence and bloodshed had to be edited, and the length of the film came down to 102 minutes. A significant part of the film was shot near Ludhiana.

Box-Office

Today another movie by name "Öctober" starring varun dhawan was released.

While Ájay Devgn's "Raid" and Tiger Shroff's action film "Baaghi 2" are still running to packed houses, the collections for today's movie releases may not be as expected. But Varun has a good fan following amongst the youngsters, the movie is expected to gross somewhere around Rs 25-30 crores in its opening weekend.

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