“devaa aa gaya”… announced Dharamdas[Tiku Talsaniya] in 2002’s version of Devdas. But my Dev hadn’t arrived yet. What SLB did was excellent, poetry on celluloid; but what AK has done is more like a sonnet. I would not like to compare the two becasue SLB had his version while AK has his own subversion [pun intended].
SLB took great pains to re-create the past, an old era near Hooghly while AK has done a whole lot of research to portray Dev for the present and future. He has set a benchmark for other writer/directors becasue this is a movie that respects the sensibility of a mature audience. AK has gone a few notches up in the story-telling department. Black Friday looked like a docu-drama and No Smoking went into a fantasy and looked like AK had lost control due to his over-indulgence; but DevD is a perfect blend between visual imagery and story-telling … like Coke with Vodka.
I have followed DevD diaries and have been reading about it from inception to conception to gestation and finally reproduction. And it was worth the time that it took, becasue he has got everything right; well almost. I thought the second half dragged a bit, lost a bit of momentum; but it ended well.
AK has moved Devdas to Punjab, from Kolkata, and rechristened him as DevD. That in itself is a huge shift and makes us realise that Dev belongs to Gen-X. He has pleasure trips, guilt-free sex, enjoys a good smoke and lots of liquor, has sex-chat with Paro; in fact his dad quips in that Dev has acquired new taste .. “chicken chhodke fish, whisky chhodke vodka aur asli ladki chhodke sookhi baas ki bamboo ke peeche bhagna”. Thats Dev, always running away; sometimes from Paro, sometimes from Chanda and most of the times from himself.
He loves Paro immensely but his arrogance gets the better of him. He loves her so much that he breaks a bottle on the head of one of the villagers who brags that he has had a nice fuck with Paro and that she is great in bed; but his chauvinism does not permit him to make love
to her. So great is his arrogance that he belittles Paro, breaks her heart and pushes her away to marry somebody else. The realisation dawns on him only when her ‘doli’ is about to leave with the blaring ‘Emotional Atyachar’ in the background. Perfect song that describes the feeling and captures the emotions of Dev.
Then enters Chanda in his life. A precocious girl who was wronged by her boyfriend, he shot a video of her giving a BJ and circulated it. The shame that her parents go through when media guys hound their house waiting to make a scoop, finally makes her run away. She has been disowned by her mom as well as her friends who refuse her calls and she finally lands up in a dingy brothel, or should we call ‘pleasure house’ where rich brats visit. Dev is also brought here by a pimp called Chunni.
Some people don’t find love all their lives, but Dev fortunately or unfortunately finds love twice; this time in the form of Chanda. But both the times he fails to recognize it. When he was with Paro he did not realize it was love till she left him, and now that he is with Chanda the thought of Paro keeps haunting him. He wants to meet her once, make love to her. Meet he finally does, but Paro has moved on in life. She has been mature enough to compromise and she accuses Dev of not being in love with anybody but himself. And thats the last we see of Paro, totally out of Dev’s life. While Dev is still not able to accept this fact he drowns himself in alcohol and in his drunk stupor
he over-runs 7 people o the footpath in his BMW.
In the final reels, after his dad’s death he has a near miss accident when a car crashes against a wall beside him. And that brings in a new consciousness and he decides that he has to move on. I shall not reveal the ending but all I can say is that this Dev is a guy of the new generation; and hence the ending had to be new and believable too. A special mention should be made of the fantastic music-lyrics duo, Amit and Amitabh have done an excellent job. All the songs are apt and they have been weaved into the movie; they are almost like a smooth narrative. Mahi Gill as Paro was brilliant in the movie. She has everything it takes to make an actress, an amazing range of expressions – from grief to grin, from anger to anxiety, from love to loathing…everything. Kalki as Chanda was good but she could not express herself through her voice and face; she needed lines.
The editing was slick and 360 deg camera rotation was used to great effect. Cinematography was fantastic, capturing the beauty of Punjab, the loneliness of Delhi streets, the filthy room of Dev, dingy brothel areas; everything was shot well. And finally, Abhay and AK…from concpet to conundrum…they created it. Abhay has rasied the bar for himself, he is no longer competing with anyone but himself. I am waiting for his next and of course AK’s next titled Gulaal. Until then
… dhol yaara dhol.
This post was first published on PFC