CAST & CREW
There are movies that come in a decade or so and changes the perception and defines a new era of movie making. This movie can be counted as one of rare those. The movie proves to be a contemporary cinema and is a retelling of Sarat Chandra Chatterjee’s literary classic Devdas. The Devdas, and, in fact, all the characters, here are contemporary ones and thus possess all the shades of today’s being.
PLOT Dev (AbhayDeol), the son of a rich businessman, is an insecure and arrogant, selfish brat. Paro ( Mahi Gill) and he are sweethearts since childhood. Instead of acknowledging her love and care, Dev nudges Paro over giddy things. He is sent to London for higher studies when his father realizes how spoilt his son is. When separated by distance, the love between Paro and Dev blossoms even more. After completing his studies, Dev returns to his hometown and meets Paro. The love that was separated for so many years takes a new shape of desperation for each other. Thus, their love unfolds. Dev then comes across a rumor about Paro, believes it blindly, and so ditches Paro. On hearing Dev insulting her, Paro retaliates and marries a much older man chosen by her parents. Dev realizes the truth of the rumor on the wedding day, but his ego holds him back from admitting his mistake. After the marriage, Dev is devastated and descends into his hell, seeking refuge in alcohol and drugs. Enter Chanda (Kalki), the multilingual call girl who can seduce in Hindi, Tamil, English and French. She was previously known as Lenny, but an MMS with her boyfriend causes her family to abandon he. She takes the job of a high profile escort by the night known by the name Chanda. Her pimp, Chunni (Dibyendu) meets Dev, gets him into drugs and eventually one night lands a semiconscious Dev to Chanda. Dev starts finding some solace in Chanda until Paro comes back to Dev’s life. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
REVIEW This movie is a sheer masterpiece in all fronts. Anurag Kashyap’s version of Devdas is set in the 21st century with the setting shifted from 1920s Bengal to early 21st century Punjab. The characters of the film are very well written. Dev does not have the charm of Dilip Kumar or the melodramatic tragedy of Shah Rukh Khan, but he is exactly the scumbag that he should be. Paro is a 21st Century girl from Punjab who is well aware of her sexuality and does not hold her feelings. She redefines the lady of modern India who does not shy away from expressing or making love to their lovers or taking the initiative for that matter. Chanda is a strong girl who does not give into the evils of the society and has the courage to not only face it but survive in it with not an inkling of regret. Even the character of Chunni is very well written. Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane have done an expeditiously superb job in writing front. The actors are all in their top form. Abhay Deol is portrayed as an arrogant heartbroken drunk lover is pitch perfect. He brings in a lot of flamboyance to the character and makes this role his own. Kalki as Chanda is good but overdoes her dialogues at some places. This a good debut for her nonetheless. Debutant Mahi Gill has the fiery Paro top notch. From laying mattress in the field to making love with her lover to spanking her lover with bitter words, she has played her part brilliantly. Her portrayal of a woman who is well in touch with her sexuality and is free spirited, bold and fearless is so genuine that the audience connects with and admire the character. The movie is one of the best debuts of actors in recent time. The supporting cast also matches the lead with a special mention to Dibyendu Bhattacharya, who plays Chunni, the pimp. His performance is a gem.
On the technical front, this is an experimental movie and excels in every department of technicality. Director Anurag Kashyap is at his best when it comes to dark humor and he sure did extract the best out of his actors and characters. His vision in this retelling is appealing and inspiring, and his witty filmmaking style adds edge to this masterpiece. He had beautifully portrayed three different shades and the transition in his character avoiding the cinematic pitfalls. This movie is a visual treat and so the cinematographer Rajeev Ravi is all hails for that. The camera work throughout the movie is excellent and his creativity in the song Pardesi is incomparable. The screenplay is also very good as is the editing. But the real hero of this movie is its music. Debutant music director, Amit Trivedi has done the mind blowing job in composing a music album that suits every bit to the movie and is narrative and bestows depth to the movie nudging the viewers. The 18 songs soundtrack is in the right emotional track even when the actors and lines themselves fail to get the job done. The music is as experimental as the movie, and the songs are nowhere close to regular Bollywood songs. The movie boasts one of the outstanding scores of Bollywood in recent times and surely deserves an award.
THUMBS UP - The characters and their superb portrayal by the actors - The treatment of this classic story. - The direction - The cinematography. - The out of the box and narrative music.
THUMBS DOWN - Some scenes seem forced. VERDICT This movie is a masterpiece and is a more relatable retelling of the classic than its predecessors. The movie is a display genius of its cast and crew and so is must watch from my side.
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