**Spoilers for Dev.D**
You cant love it. You cant hate it. And you definitely cant ignore it.
Frankly I am not very fond of the loser called Devdas. He has nothing cute or dorky or lovable. His utter absence of spine, his confusion, his defeatist attitude would make me want to run a mile if I were to encounter him in real life.
So when you go to watch the new-age interpretation by Anurag Kashyap, him of the I-have-no-clue-whats-happening “No Smoking”, to why is only the end gripping “Black Friday” and the delectable cameo of the Holywood DVD se direct copying scriptwriter in “Luck By Chance” fame, you wonder can this Devdas now Devender Dhillion-Dev.D played by Abhay Deol, the ecelectic actor whose movies almost without an exception turn out to be good if not brilliant, be different?
And different is too weak a word to describe a word Dev.D.
I have always felt one timely slap from Paro would have solved Devdas’ spine issues. But for that Paro must have an identity beyond that of a submissive childhood sweetheart. And Parminder, our new age Paro not only has a personality, she is bold enough to roll up a mattress and cycle through sarson ke khet to meet up for a tryst by the canal. This pair of lovers doesnt talk about beautiful nishaanis of love and ever aglow diyas..he asks her is she touches herself and she sends him a nude snap of herself. And when he proves he isnt worth her undying affection, she moves on not before giving him a piece of her mind.There is no societal pressure or parents disapproval, she leaves him because he fails her.
Chanda, our new age Chandramukhi (Kashyap’s tip to Bhansali, the songs from Devdas playing a couple of times and SRKs poster outside the all night place Dev visits.) is forced into being a Commercial Sex Worker because of twisted circumstances.(A true blast from the past-when she rolls up her skirt and rolls down her socks after stepping out of her house and before reaching school. I do not know if its a Delhi thing or do school girls everywhere do it? I have done it for one!)is a stereotypical girl with golden heart but not one who is harbouring hidden saintliness but instead attends B.Sc. classes on the side.
Dev is of course your typical bade baap ki bigadi hui santaan, who dopes, drinks and mows down 7 pavement dwellers. The film is roughly divided into chapters and I believe Dev’s chapter is the weakest. It begins promisingly as the aimless, foreign educated youth-a cad at heart but his trainwreck is too neon lighted and too much of shaky camera work. And his trip to self awareness and to the final turning point is a little too forced.As if the director and scriptwriter just didnt know what to do with him, bereft of the female anchors. Because Dev needs a female anchor almost consistantly. Some one to mother him.Check the scene where Paro visits him in the derelict hotel and proceeds on a massive cleaning expedition. He loves her and yet he hates her. Similarly he knows Chanda’s truth yet storms off when a customer comes calling.
There are scenes from the scene which makes fun of our own silliness. The ma wiped out of “mahilayein” on the bus. The sardar who drinks like phish. Chanda switching to tamil when asked by a customer to do so.You dont know if you should laugh at the double entrende because your social conditioning makes you cringe that bit.
The soundtrack is awesome of course. And the ’emosional atyachaar’ song got a rousing applause from the audience at the hall. Listen to nayan tarse or duniya gol or saali khushi.
Should you watch this?
Rajeev Masand says this movie can either dazzle you or daze you. I say it can disturb you. You need a strong gut to stomach the truths you may have encountered or seen at the periphery of a changing moral structure.