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All the buzz around ’31 October’ – The movie depicting 1984 riots

By Tarika Narula

31st October ” is an upcoming political thriller starring Soha Ali Khan and Veer Das that has had the media abuzz lately. The movie has been directed by national-award winning director Shivaji Lotan Patil, while Harry Sachdeva has written and produced it.


The film is about the true-life story of a Sikh family trapped in the riots. The movie is the first attempt of mainstream Bollywood to showcase the story of the genocide of the Sikhs in which organised mobs mercilessly killed more than 3,000 people, and over 50,000 were displaced in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination in October 1984. Prior to “31st October” the riots of 1984 have been depicted in critically acclaimed movies like Amu, Hawayein, Punjab 1984, Kaya Taran, Chauthi Koot, Kush etc.

The Buzz: Since the subject is a sensitive one, the movie has been running into troubles with the film certification board for over four months.

  • As reported, the CBFC first told them ‘why are you raising that topic again‘?
  • Following which 40 cuts were suggested but due to the persistence of the makers, it was finally cleared with nine cuts.
31 october
A still from the film

The latest in the list of controversies is a PIL filed by a Delhi-based close aide of the Congress party asking for a ban on the movie, due to which the movie’s release has been postponed from 7th October to 21st October 2016.

The team of “31st October” has decided to donate a  part of their box-office collections to the Widow Colony in Tilak Vihar, Delhi, which provides shelter to thousands of families affected during the anti-Sikh pogrom.

Humans of Delhi, a Facebook page that brings conversations from the streets of the Capital city to the social media, also collaborated with 31st October to tell stories of people who survived the riots but whose tales of injustice were conveniently pushed under the carpet as time passed.

The film has received massive accolades at various international film festivals at Toronto, London and Vancouver. The Vancouver International Film Festival website states about the movie, “Torn from history, made with urgency and passion, vital for Indian culture but meant to move the world.”

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