Director: Shivaji Lotan Patil
Writer: Harry Sachdeva (story), Harry Sachdeva, Amit Tuli
Stars: Soha Ali Khan, Lakhwinder Lakha, Nagesh Bhonsle, Vir Das
Runtime: 109 min
Genre: Drama, History, Thriller
Released: 21 October 2016
Storyline: On 31st October 1984, Prime Minister of India gets assassinated by her Sikh Security Guards. Politicians use this incident to spark public hatred towards the Sikhs labelling them as traitors. Devender Singh and his family are stuck in their house as their city plummets. In 24 hours of uncertain oscillations, helplessness and with their relatives dying and neighbours turning hostile, Devender’s family seek help from their Hindu friends who live across town. As Pal , Tilak and Yogesh travel to save Devender’s family, they come face-to-face with the destruction of humanity. They witness the carnage and the moral corruption that makes men turn into savages. In their attempt in ferrying Devender’s family to safety , Pal , Tilak and Yogesh must face their own demons first.
A thriller about a Sikh family trapped in a riot-affected part of Delhi during the anti-Sikh riots following Indira Gandhi’s assassination.
On 31st October 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards. The act ignited instant hatred towards members of the Sikh community. Thousands of Sikhs lost their lives. Some Hindus helped their Sikh brothers, while others butchered them.
These aren’t just facts strung together. They also happen to be the paper-thin plot of 31st October. Devinder (Vir Das), Tejinder (Soha Ali Khan) and their three children lock themselves in their house as the city of New Delhi burns outside. Their friends from the other side of town struggle to dodge the rioters and get to them.
A story as simple as that has been embellished with a dozen unnecessary characters (each one’s death adding to the runtime), lessons on the Sikh community, Sonu Nigam singing over slo-mo riot scenes and a B-story of blossoming love, that is altogether forgotten 15 minutes into the movie.
Entirely too much time is spent on the set-up, the first half is dialogue-heavy but characters seem to ramble and the sound is terrible. When actors speak, you feel them dubbing the lines right there, next to you.
To its credit, the movie is only 102 minutes long, and you can see a sense of honesty in it. But the final product is underwhelming and looks like a small-scale remake of the Hollywood film franchise, The Purge (innocent people running scared on the streets, dodging murderous mobs).
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