DevD is No Emosanal Attyachar

After decades of iconic status, Devdas has a Second ‘screen’ Coming besides Sarat Chandra Chatterjee’s epic inspiration of tragic love lost and the cosmic comparison of two feisty women. Anurag Kashyap’s screen adaptation is not just a refreshing change but coming of age of Hindi cinema par excellence (sorry not Hollywood, Hollywood is not even a benchmark).

People will either love DevD or hate it. It is surreal and psychedelic at the same time.Kashyap challenges conventions, brings alive frustration which is not religion for the angst driven but evidently there. KL Saigal, Dilip Kumar and SRK made Devdas iconic enough. Every guy on the road, in the boardroom, on the bus or in the stall thinks he has been one, however much he hates, he is secretly proud of the Devdas record/stint in his life. You know, ‘the been there, done that’ feeling.

Sometimes, DevD irritated me with the excess Punjabi-ness from dialogue to sexuality (no offence!) Abhay Deol (resident Devdas) does not need a standing ovation. He is a Jat with his acting heart at the right place, head firmly between his shoulders. Mahie Gill (Paro) and Kalki Koechlin( Lenny/Chanda) are superb. Secretly, they have done many hardcore and pro-feminists proud for whatever execution of ‘boldness’ in an otherwise MCP society. Sigh, I hate to confirm this but second wave feminism is still at its infancy in India.

There is no unnecessary melodrama, there is no poetic justice. There is business in everything. There is ego. There is esteem lost and recovered. There is the self, lost and found. There is negativity. There is also some hope. There is pure lust as much as ‘growing-into-love’, shedding of social mores, treading dangerous ground and the bizarre. Music and choreography, arresting and haunting.

London bred DevD, amorous and wild, never knows why ‘Sattu’ earns him a whack. All he is keen is-has she ‘felt’ herself? Lovers/crushes/infatuates who live by phone, separated by distance will shyly confirm this and some might feel outraged. Asking for nude pictures via email speaks of a confederate fed on secret porn and the thrill of the forbidden.

Paro does not disappoint. All that matters is him. She is not afraid caught making out by her father, and stuns the neighbourhood with her studio-cyber matter-of-fact deadlines. The sugarcane-mattress incident makes her a slut and the humiliation of being judged by someone you love most leaves her stoned. The last time you see her smile is at her wedding when she breaks into a jig. Paro does not carry the scar on the head to remind her of her pride. DevD does.

Lenny (later Chanda) who loves Madhuri songs is a happy go lucky schoolgirl sold out on bikes. I wonder if it is her mixed parentage and upbringing which makes her friendly to any Tom, “Dick” and Harry. Children of such mixed backgrounds are usually more outgoing and found to be prone to trouble. The MMS scandal makes her Chanda (let’s not miss the allusion to the moon who is the night goddess). She is a decent girl by all standards, finishes school, bikes to college, and is a bubble gum candy goddess by night.

Some digressions.

Averagely rich Indian men love frequenting brothels and joints, those who can afford have exclusive women to themselves. How many DevDs are there to take the Chandas home and live happily ever after? Or will you be drunk and broken-hearted enough to be a DevD? Not that it is an ask . The controversial question of virginity is, for most men . Getting the perfectly balanced equation of a complete woman is always a challenge for the uninitiated, trouble for the mocking kinds and mystery to the wannabes. Some happy men assume and wish to believe that it’s all in the mind and too utopic and fantasy-driven. It’s a wedge, I say. The factors helping and hindering the search are many.

The use of shades is a brilliant technique. Each character plays a façade to prove a point. The starkness of things that are, the brutal honesty and the bizarre nakedness of acceptance comes sans shades and the brilliant travesty of the narrative reveals then.

The protagonist of DevD is the gold ring, thoroughly underplayed but...

Go watch DevD.

 

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