‘Dev D’: reinventing the wheel (IANS Film Review - Rating: ***1/2)

February 6th, 2009 - 6:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Film: “Dev D”; Cast: Abhay Deol, Mahi Gill, Kalki Koechlin; Music: Amit Trivedi; Direction: Anurag Kashyap; Rating ***1/2 Whatever you do, do not fall in love.

Love will consume you, embitter you, devastate you. Love will lead you to destruction.

The past three generations have seen Devdas, adapted from Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel, in some form or the other, the most recent being Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s successful attempt in 2002. We already know the story inside out - or do we?

Meet Anurag Kashyap’s Dev (Abhay Doel)- he’s brash, arrogant, ill-mannnered, demanding, lusty, impulsive and yes, self destructive.

Meet Dev’s Paro (Mahi Gill) - she’s beautiful, doesn’t mind sending snaps in the buff to her lover and breaks into a jig at her own wedding.

Meet fate’s abandoned Chanda (Kalki Koechlin) or Lenny as we are intially introduced to her as. She loves her parents, goes to school, and well…on the way meets her boyfriend who ends up doing a lewd MMS on her. Life is cruel and Lenny becomes Chanda or Chandramukhi as we know her. Please note - the girl still continues her education.

It’s not only that Kashyap has successfully stirred clear of drawing caricatures of the characters we already know, he’s reinvented the wheel in other ways too. Sample this - it’s not caste or class differences that separates the two young lovers, it’s libido and a momentary lapse of reason.

Dev never was in control and Paro’s marriage gives him the trigger to go full throttle towards destruction. He comes to Delhi and walks into Paharganj.

With the name of Paro on his lips, Dev crashes to sleep on Chanda’s bed as she smokes a cigarette and watches him curiously. Love or ‘emosanal atyachar’?

While Punjab was the setting for the first half of the film, it’s the bylanes and the bars of Paharganj where the action takes place in the second half. The editing is dizzy and effective, the music good in parts, the performances by all three lead actors are spot on - extra marks to Kalki.

As you watch the film and see Dev steadily guzzle vodka and obsess about his lost love you wonder when he will hit rock bottom.

But love is also known to set you free, uplift you, rescue you.

So, go fall in love.

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