‘October’–an Aesthetic Pleasure

Radhakanta Barik

Sujit Sircar is evolving as a leading film director who has a command over the craft of film making. He is like Satyajit Ray who uses his film as a medium for telling a story. Ray used to tell that a great literary piece can be turned into a great film. Sujit takes a problem of trees and flowers in his latest film in October. Earth Day got celebrated some time back for which this film October is going to be a great tribute. A young man meets a colleague with whom he falls in love. His love for her is like Shakespearean love—‘love at first sight. Before the responds to his language of love she falls from third floor. Just before falling she uses two words about the young man. Here love requires a different language rather than words. But symbolically these two words reach to the ears of her lover. He as a young man shows his craziness towards her lady love. While she is in coma without responding to medical treatment of a great neurosurgeon of India, this boy starts giving Sheffali flowers to her leaving those flowers in the bed. She reacts to the smell of flowers. She starts expressing her love through movement of her eyes. Lover's language is not of words but movement of eyes. It is an interesting way of telling the story of love through movement of her eyes and boy’s style of standing next to her bed. His body language talks of love towards her. She recovers and goes back with her mother to her house. In front of the house there is a Sheffali tree with flowers; The boy spends some time with her while sitting in a wheel chair. In the end she dies in the month of October when the trees are loaded with flowers. Here Sujit blends western aesthetics with Sanskrit aesthetics by taking life as eternal and time is eternal. Love is eternal which does not end with death but blossoms further. After her death her boyfriend replaces her memory with a Sheffali tree with flowers. He carries the tree with him to his house. His love remains for her and gets expressed through love for trees and flowers.

Sujit wants to tell a story to wider audience. He understands that the art of storytelling is a part of Indian civilisations. It is a part of adda which is a part of popular culture of urban society in general and Calcutta specifically. He has an intense love for Calcutta but he has not lived there. He has spent his time in Delhi where there is no such intensity in its culture which is absent here. To understand the film making he has gone to live in Calcutta which is cultural capital of India and his home town. Despite its decline of the city in industrial map it has kept its cultural capital with it. In the reproduction of cultural capital many workers such as artists, poets and film makers play a role. In film making many of these workers have been working in diverse areas of this artistic world. As Sujit says that his family specifically wife and child lives in the city of Calcutta with an objective for learning the grammar of the rich cultural capital there.

Any artist needs to capture these nuanced cultural worlds through his personal experiences. His work in the hotel industry has shaped his world of experience which has been articulated in this film. Moreover, his own experience in the hospital while his mother was in coma gives him to handle the difficult scenes of the film in a personalised manner. Moreover, there is something unselfish love without any return he understands the meaning of it which gets expressed in the film. His command over these important scenes in the hospital and the hotel industry has been handled with an aptness. These two industries have taken the centre place in modern urban life as other manufacturing industries have declined.

As a film maker he understands the value of rawness of the actors. His main actors have not come from the film world. The main character of the story comes from commercial film but Sujit has given him a rebirth in his film. His controlled acting and childish and churlish voice has made the story telling more intriguing. His craziness towards her is being shown in an indiscipline life which is a rebellious one. Urban society has a control over some body's life as to work in a disciplined way. Time is an important dimension of the urban life which this indisciplined life ignores. Moreover, a career and a profession has been got ignored in an indisciplined way exhibits the newness of storytelling. This brings a touch of rural life without any concern for a career or profession where time is his unconcerned value. Director of the film shows the suburban of Delhi where the rural life moves in a slow and casual manner which he has placed against the landscape of Dwraka which is still in making of a city. This is a part of rural Delhi specifically Najafagarh area where cultivation of wheat is going on. This area has a good coverage of Trees and bushes. Green coverage is declining as the number of species of the birds is declining steadily. Delhi is sitting over ecological percipience which can at many moments fall into a big drainage flowing in Dwaraka. This is the story of the subtext of the film which has a symbolic value in the present film. Perhaps the director wants to tell the story of an ecological disaster by showing a girl falling from the third floor but she survives. There is always hope in the world which is sitting over ecological disaster if one starts loving trees and flowers then the earth can revive its greenness. Two texts have got converged here.

The story of October is different from Tagore's baramasi but is an important month in the calendar of the Eastern India specifically Bengal. The whole month people plan to enjoy in the urban India which was there in rural India after harvesting in the summer time when no agricultural operations go on. It is difficult to place a month without work in the urban India. But people of Bengal see that they enjoy the whole month which brings the Western asthetics where a sixteenth century poem Western Wind brings joys and happiness after rains. This is not so as Tagore's every month is beautiful and sensuous with its flowers and leaves. This brings beautiful blending of Western aesthetics and Eastern aesthetics in an artistic manner.

Vol. 50, No.49, June 10 - 16, 2018