Dev D Review – Dick-Sucking, MMS, BMW Version of Devdas

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Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay would be rolling in his grave were he to watch this new version of Devdas in which a blowjob, MMS, a BMW and a servant’s idle gossip constitute pivotal moments in the story.

Not your grandfather’s Devdas, eh?

No sir, not this one.

This is a Lenny, you’re the best, 21st century version of Devdas. 😉

Different Devdas, Yet Nice

For all those convinced that a decent Bollywood film is but a mirage or a contradiction in terms, we say: Wait, there’s Dev D.

It’s been nigh on 11 months since we first watched Dev D, a movie we enjoyed and one we quickly added to our must-review list.

But what with the pressures of everyday blogging, lassoing our herd of commenters and the need to consider fresher content, we put the Dev D review on the back-burner and never got around to it. That is, until now.

Finally we rewatched the movie the other day, Hey, we relished this lust-full tale the second time as much as we did during the first watching.

Sure as hell, Dev D ain’t no masterpiece (hey, the Indian soil just isn’t fertile ground for masterpieces) but still a welcome respite from the unceasing deluge of Bollywood crap that foul up the movie screens.

Poverty of Good Scripts

Given the paucity of good movie scripts in India, it’s no surprise that Dev D director Anurag Kashyap took the easy way out and plunged into yet another adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s legendary Bengali tale Devdas, a tragic story that’s been told time and again by Indian filmmakers with varying degrees of success.

The difference with Dev D is that it’s set in the modern times, featuring priapic boys taking pictures of girl-friends sucking their dicks and then passing them on via cell-phones and rich, drunk brats in BMWs mowing down people on the road.

Is this an instance of art imitating life considering the above were widely reported real-life incidents in Delhi.

True to the Devdas tale, our principal protagonist is, of course, Dev (Abhay Deol), newly returned from studies in UK to a small Indian town.

Then there’s Paro (Mahie Gill), Dev’s childhood inamorata waiting for his return; and later comes the pimp Chunnilal followed in short order by the randi (prostitute) Chanda (Kalki Koechlin).

What follows Dev’s return is the comical, desperate furtive smooching between Dev and Paro and soon after their separation triggered by Dev overhearing servants gossiping about Paro’s promiscuity and her love-making so ferocious that it breaks the bed.

No sooner does our impulsive, enraged, jealous Dev ditch her than Paro marries a widower in Delhi. Now Dev’s dormant demons are unleashed, propelling him into a downward spiral of alcohol and drugs.

Is Dev merely lusting and grieving over the loss of Paro’s curvaceous body or does a genuine love and remorse lurk behind his obsession for the now-married lover.

Who can tell? Not Dev and certainly not director Anurag Kashyap.

But why cavil over uncertainties here. Just go with the flow in this wild, fast ride.

Enter Chanda

As is to be expected, the depressed Dev follows Paro to Delhi.

But the moment has passed and while Paro is willing to wash Dev’s clothes, clean up his hovel and consign the liquor bottles to the trash bin, she’s just in no mood to blow his dick.

That the young school girl Lenny willingly does. No, not Dev’s but her boyfriend’s dick, at first.

Alas, Lenny’s innocent blowjob (yes, some blowjobs are innocent) has catastrophic consequences for her family and eventually herself.

Pity the poor dipsomaniac Dev, as he now seeks refuge in the boudoir of Chanda, the prostitute avatar of Lenny battling her own demons after her dick-sucking episode ends in her becoming a fallen woman.

Good Bit of Acting

The acting of the three main characters is pretty good by Indian standards.

Although much of the attention has centered on Abhay Deol, we felt Mahie Gill and Kalki Koechlin were more than a shade better.

Never has a girl looked more beautiful than when Paro rushes to the mirror after Dev in a violent fury brands her ugly, the sounds of Mahi ve song playing in the background. Sad that Mahie’s character was not as elaborate as that of Abhay Deol and Kalki Koelich.

And never has a young’s girl’s cries been more plaintive than when Lenny (the pre-Chanda) pleads with her mother on the phone to take her away from the unhappy setting in her Indian grandmother’s village.

But it’s as Chanda, the hooker in the garish reddish-pink room with the tart tongue and bewitching smile, that Kalki comes into her own.

We’d love to see these two girls in more movies.

Pleasing Music

Besides the fine acting, visual appeal and tight screenplay, what likely added to the popularity of Dev D with a small section of the quality-starved Indians hungering for good movies is the pleasing music minus the weird picturization that’s a depressing hallmark of Hindi and regional language Indian films.

We liked the music so much that we purchased two tracks Emosanal and the fast number O Pardesi, the latter picturized in the speakeasy. By the way, the entire album is available on iTunes.

Overall, we’d say Dev D is one of the few Indian films worth watching though in keeping with Bollywood’s commercial sensibilities our modern-day Devdas gets a new lease of life at the end rather than a loss of life as per the original tale.

If in this telling of the tale, the tormented Devdas ultimately finds his peace in the randi’s arms rather than in the quietus of death so be it.

Dev D is now available on Netflix Instant Play as well as on DVD with English subtitles.

5 Responses to "Dev D Review – Dick-Sucking, MMS, BMW Version of Devdas"

  1. MAK   June 11, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Dev D was amazing. Wonderful movie.

    And did you know chanda (Kalki Koechlin) is from Pondicherry? Responds:

    Yes, we’re familiar with her background.

  2. முனிAndy   June 11, 2010 at 10:01 am

    SI, thanks for the Dev.D review.. Has the comments-shutdown been lifted or this is only temporary? Responds:

    All izz well now. The comment shut-down was just temporary.

  3. DW-A(1/2)Dr.   June 12, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Took a long time coming but finally u did do it 🙂
    Pretty much agree to everything u said except the selection of songs. Emosanal Atyachar didn’t do much for me-music wise. I think “Nayan Tarse” and “Yeh Duniya” are much much better. Hard to believe but the film had some 16 songs! U want to know another one with that kind of number? “What’s your rashee?” Ok, so the songs here weren’t your typical b’wood dance numbers, still no easy task to make us sit thru them all.
    Btw, I did come to comment earlier but the comments were blocked and also (plz correct me if i’m wrong) I remember not finding the dedications tag. Its not a problem and FSM forbid, neither a complaint still just wondering why… 🙂 Responds:

    1. We like “Nayan Tarse” and “Duniya Yeh Duniya” too.

    As a matter of fact, we like all the songs..just that we purchased Emosanal and O Pardesi first.

    Most likely, we’ll purchase the CD.

    2. Yes, you are right about the missing dedication tag at the top.

    Just forgot about it initially and added it a few hours after publishing the review. When we did a search of the comments, we realized so many SI readers liked the movie. BTW, the comments were closed only briefly.

    Sorry about missing the dedication initially.

    BTW, we also saw Gulaal. Decent but not in the same league as Dev D.

  4. DW-A(1/2)Dr.   June 12, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Yay! You saw Gulaal too! 🙂 Gulaal is more intellectual what with the poems and the multitude symbolism. Remember little of it now but at that time I spend a day just thinking about those. Now, I know how busy you are so I am not asking for a whole review. Maybe a paragraph along with some other movies.. Responds:

    Yes, we’ll do a post on Gulaal along with a bunch of other movies. Movie Gallery (a large DVD rental chain in the U.S.) is closing and getting rid of their DVDs for about $5 a piece. We purchased four foreign movies.

  5. sganeshkumar1989   June 13, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Dev D was one of my favorite Hindi films of 2009.Will comment more about it later.
    What about the movies which I asked you to watch? 😀
    I received the Membership card for British Library last week.Apart from 3 books,I can also rent 2 DVDs for 3 weeks.Planned to check a couple of Bogart films this time.Next,I’ll rent Matchpoint along with some other popular film. Responds:

    Will watch your movies (hopefully soon).

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