Monday, February 09, 2009

Review : Dev D

An egotistical brat returns from London to meet her childhood love, only to blow her off with his saddistic ways, resulting in love getting married to a widower and brat resorting to liquor and a kothewaali. That's as crisp and accurate summary of Devdas you can do. Still it's surprising to see fascination of bollywood with the character and the story. Three times, three directors made their version with top actors of respective times. Anurag Kashyap definitely does not belong to aforementioned genre. He believes that those movies/story are too melodramatic. He believes that Devdas is nothing but a sore loser. And that's how Devdas takes a big leap of faith, if you will.

Kashyap's Devdas is not totally a biographical of a man of misery. Dev, Paro and Chanda all get their own narrative until they converge. Dev, in the beginning, is no cute child artist who gives a hug or an innocent kiss to his childhood love. Instead he threatens his girlfriend to bite her hand if she doesn't obey him and he does. In one of the rare hilarity of the movie, when asked to leave for London, Dev asks whether he is being sent to London because he was caught smoking or for calling his father 'Sattu'. Shahrukh Khan's passion towards Paro is in expression is with melodramatic Koi tumhe chhue yeh main bardaasht nahi kar sakta, while Dev (Abhay Deol) here, looking at nude picture of his girlfriend,with expressions full of lust, goes Paro, main aa raha hoon. Paro (portrayed beautifully by Mahie Gill) too, on the other hand is no silsila yeh chahat ka girl of yours. She is succumbed to lust as much her man is. I was probably the only one in the whole cinema to laugh out loud when she starts carrying a mattress on her bicycle stand, but that shows the extent she is willing to go to follow her lust and that of her man. When, now cult song, "Emosional Atyaachar" by Patna ke Presleys breaks during her marriage celebrations, uncaring of her surroundings she breaks into a zesty dance, much to shock of her relatively-old husband. When asked by his ex about physical satisfaction from relationship, she not only retorts, she goes on to say, tumhe tumhari aukat dikha rahi hoon. While Sharat Chandra's Chandramukhi does not have much background to identify with, Kashyap's Chanda (Kalki Koechlin) goes through roller-coaster of teenage, scandals, hatred until succumbing to Easy Money for her life. Dev's journey of rise, fall and redemption goes through dark --figuratively and literally-- nights, lots of vodka, mountains of himalayas, grief of the father's death, misery of a criminal and lot more. Even if that meant a little dragged and arbitrary second half of "self discovery" and "epiphany". That's where movie deserves its share of criticism.

Two strongest department to come out of these movies are cinematograpy and music. Kudos to Amit Trivedi and Kashyap for not only creating a surreal music, but also blending it to the film so beautifully that in spite of 18 tracks, it never distracts narrative, but only adds to the effectiveness. For example, after confronting her ex, when Paro leaves hotel, in slow frames, hiding her sorrowful eyes with sunglasses, to the tunes of saavan barse/ chubhan de hazaar/ saavan barse. And it's amazing how much sense Dhol Yaara Dhol or Paayaliya makes after having actually seen the movie. DevD's sojourn through underground pubs and drug bars reminds you of another visually stunning expression of misery, Requiem for a dream. Originally, Abhay Deol himself conceived the idea of Dev.D and he knows his character well. It's sure a challenge to portray someone whose perpetual mood is that of sorrow and masochism. I will go on to say that Devdas is one of the most unidimensional character you'll ever come across in hindi cinema in the ranks of all babujis of Alok Naths and maas of Nirupa Roys and Reema Lagoos. Only for that, if for nothing else, Abhay Deol deserves accolades. Mahie Gill as Paro makes an interesting debut. She does not make a cute or girl-next-door debut, but a role that requires her to shed clothes in first few minutes of movie and not for titillation that one. Challenging and well done! Kalki Koechlin is passable as Canadian-Indian high class prostitute. Chunni here gets more color than Sharat Chandra's counterpart here. He is not just an accomplice of Dev, but a shrewd drug dealer and an accomplished pimp. Kashyap will surely get some of his fans back he lost with "No Smoking".

Thumbs up for beautifully crafted and visually stunning film. I say bring on more.
PS:- Just as I was about to publish this, I got the answer for Special Thanks to Danny Boyle frame at the beginning of the movie.

4 comments:

Eliza said...

makes me more excited to watch it...waiting for it to come on bwcinema

Bhavin said...

waiting for it even more now!!

Anonymous said...

Good, but no cigar....

now read this :)

http://firstcitydelhi.blogspot.com/2009/02/high-and-dry-notes-on-dev-d.html

Ujjaval said...

Totally different aspect of looking at that movie which I didn't have.