Film: Dev D
Director: Anurag Kashyap
Cast: Abhay Deol, Mahi Gill, Kalki Koechlin
After hearing the story of Devdas and the two women in his life, one wondered how different can different really be. Kashyap as usual surprises as he brings to life the character of Devdas, Chandramukhi and Paro to life only this time with a twist.
Dev D is what you would simply call a stylish and scholarly film. It begins with a bang, it’s as urban as can be and then somewhere down the line begins losing it but luckily before all is lost the film ends.
Like in all the versions in this one too Dev (Abhay Deol) and Paro (Mahi Gill) are madly in love with each other, only this time love with a whole lot of lust. The spin begins when a little slime ball ruins things between them and off Paro goes to get married with another man.
Lost in love, Dev turns to alcohol and drugs. After a lot many pills and alcohol, achieving a high, he lands up at young Lenny’s aka Chanda’s (Kalki Koechlin) quarters, a prostitute by profession and a student by will. What ensues is the exploration of three sinuous lives and the rediscovery of love.
What’s great about Dev D is the fact that it isn’t pretentious; it weaves reality, acknowledges the fact constantly that the plot is in fact motivated from Devdas and showcases an alternate youth culture.
Dev D is extremely well written and what it’s evident that Kashyap knows film. In a sense Dev D is India’s first recent film that can be showcased, understood and appreciated internationally. It is as stylistic just as it is well scripted.
What you see is an experimentation of different styles from various other films, which amalgamates to make one strong film. For example you see the style that Trainspotting had, you see the exploration of sexuality that Lolita or Le Mepris had, and you see the art of using song that perhaps Om Dar Ba Dar highlighted. Dev D not only celebrates various styles but through it all develops its own unique one.
Brilliant dialogues back the movie throughout and adding to that are scenes and moments you will walk out remembering. You simply cannot miss the scene where Paro scans and e-mails her nude picture to Dev who, sitting in London in an instant decides to head back home to Paro. There are tons of great moments like these in the film.
The film also weaves real life incidents to make the film more relatable, including the Delhi school MMS scandal and the BMW hit and run case.
On the other hand, the film is clearly separated into two halves. The first which is absolutely rocking and the second which is good till the point explanation starts pouring in. The second half is where the film disappoints. While the film makes you think, shocks and has you in awe in the first half, it underestimates you in the second. Additionally the film turns predictable, so much so that you know how it’s going to end.
The film towards the end, after having built up the character, for a small bit does not know what to do and thus goes on this trip that has no consequence to the film, to a point where for the first time you think its just indulgence and nothing else.
Kudos to the entire technical team involved in Dev D. The film is superb to look at and the editing is brilliantly slick. The use of colour, music and the shots captured are fantastic. It adds a completely new dimension to the scenes. Having said that, you don’t quite connect with either of the characters and are merely looking at them from behind the fourth wall, the reason for which perhaps only the director can best explain.
When it boils down to performances Abhay Deol is the hands down winner. He nails his part and proves his finesse. With this he proves he is one of the finest in the industry. Comparing two actors is never a good thing, but one just can’t help it in Gill’s case. She looks acts and performs like Tabu. She is terrific and one can’t wait to see more of her. Koechlin by far is the weakest link, she performs well and there’s no doubt in that, but fails to make you go wow.
You can be one of those people to write this film off. Even though the second half is not as good as the first; the truth is, it’s still a fantastic film. A film that is strong in content and is superbly stylistic. Dev D is a cult film that will be remembered. You ought to watch it.