Its trailer first got people wondering about what October was all about. And now the movie has released to favourable reviews. Meet Dan and Shuili, and the man who brought them to life. Tata Sky listens in to Varun Dhawan, Banita Sandhu and Shoojit Sircar reveal the story behind the making of October.
Shoojit: Yes, it is the story of a boy and a girl but it’s not a love story. This is a film about relationships.
Varun: I’ve counted. The team has 11 national awards. The first day of the shoot, I was very nervous. I was afraid I would be exposed as a non-actor and Dada would throw me out. Dada told me, “Don’t think about the lines; just listen to what your co-actor is saying.” I forgot I was shooting; I was observing, I was listening, and it hit me in the moment. After that, I didn’t have to act.
Varun: What fascinates me is that for Pink, they only released the poem.
Shoojit: Yes. In all of Juhi’s scripts, there’s always a meaning behind every little thing. ‘Shuili’ means Parijat or Night Jasmine. You will see the significance of these names when you watch the film.
Shoojit: I shot all the films for Tata Sky’s Acting Adda. I also shoot commercials. During the making of Pink, I was shooting a commercial for Double Mint. I saw Banita’s audition tape and immediately knew that I wanted this girl for the ad. Later, I met her at the screening of some film. We were looking for a girl who is 20, who is mature in her thinking, in the way she conducts herself, who could express herself with subtle reactions. I knew she was my Shuili.
Shoojit: Varun was mostly accidental. When we met, I saw Dan in him. I can’t explain why I felt so strongly about it.
Varun: I pursued him!
Banita: One of things I learnt from Shoojitda is that this was a personal journey; I learnt to slow down and live in the moment. Varun never made me feel inferior because he’s so successful; he’s been so supportive.
Shoojit: The music was specially scored by Shantanu Moitra, because more than songs, the background music takes the narrative forward.
Varun: Dada’s methods are unusual. I would go to him and say, “I’ll play him like this” and Dada would say, ”No, you don’t have to do anything at all.”
Banita: I say this as a compliment; Dada is quite manipulative – he’ll only feed us ideas in bits, as and when we need to know.
Shoojit: We have to manipulate the actors so they become the character. And once the actors become acclimatised, they begin to manipulate as well, and improvise.