Genre: Drama/ Romance
Devdas, the desi heartbreak icon from the 1917 Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay novel has over the years had over a dozen stars play it in as many languages. Probably, the audience’s emotional connect with failed romances that real life is replete with is the lifeblood of this century old character. Vis-à-vis the Dilip Kumar, Nageswara Rao, and SRK versions, Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D is contemporary, creative and realistic.
Having rated Kashyap’s ‘No Smoking’ among the worst movies I know of, my prediction was quantal ‘either Dev D would be truly amazing or turn out to be a complete disaster’. A neat script-art-music and a flawless Abhay Deol turned Dev D into a masterpiece. Although different in packaging, this time, Kashyap had the comfort of Devdas being a well known story. Probably lessons from the abstraction misadventure were well learnt.
Set in Punjab, debauched Dev, the London educated son of a rich industrialist, dumps childhood sweetheart Paro, probably for being promiscuous, showing the decadent male obsession with virginity. The break up hits him hard as she moves on and marries an older man with kids. Dev turns to vodka and drugs funded by a doting father. Events lead a lost Dev to finding solace in Chanda, an escort who has fallen from innocence!
Unlike SRK’s melodramatic Devdas, one is not expected to feel for Dev, but only witness the events as they happen. Rich as he is, Dev has no care for money or inhibitions as he sleeps around, albeit with Paro eternally dwelling on his psyche. A wise man once said, “We are happy or sad with things or events only based on how they affect our emotions. Money and materialism are indirect; but love hits it hard and direct”. Dev embodies this!
Have you ever wondered why you never see a female version of Devdas? Going by Dev D, it has something to do with their innate ability to handle emotional issues better and to move on while the men live in the past and loathe themselves in self pity! Paro not only moves on but also makes it a point to rub in during a rendezvous with Dev, making the best of both worlds with little regret. The selfish hypocrisy of Dev and Paro is evident!
Chandramukhi has always been my favorite character from the story. She is someone who loved Devdas unselfishly when he is at his deepest trough, all alone, shattered and intoxicated with his lost love! Newcomer Kalki koechlin, the French belle, portrays it to perfection from a schoolgirl turned MMS victim and then into flesh trade. Surely, the ending to this story, though not revealed here, will surely leave you with a good feeling!
Sensuousness here is with no-holds barred. Imagine Paro carrying a mattress to the fields to accommodate for her desires with Dev! Can it ever get more direct? Hats off to Anurag Kashyap’s most relevant adaptation of Devdas reflecting today’s acceptance of casual relationships and hip hop lifestyle. Also thralling you are its 18 songs including the anthem Emotional Atyachaar that flow with the movie. You just can’t have enough!
Rating: 9/10 – Must watch creative and in-your-face version of today’s Devdas