31st October, a rare Hindi film focused on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, decisively checks the first box. It, however, fails to score big on the second count.
Written by producer Harry Sachdeva and inspired by true incidents, 31st October makes a fair fist of recreating one of the darkest days in the history of independent India. Directed by Marathi filmmaker Shivaji Lotan Patil, 31st October makes the right noises but is unable to direct and land its blows with the ferocity that could get the audience all pumped up. That is a pity because it does serve a clear and necessary purpose. Its message is unambiguous – justice still eludes the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and it is about time we as a nation did something about it.
To make its point, the film tells the story of a middle class Sikh family in Delhi cowering in fear in their home and dodging the attention of a marauding, bloodthirsty mob on the day of Indira Gandhi’s assassination.