wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)
Three characters tell you they are only human. They are all insecure. They are self-destructive when in love. They are directionless. And unfortunately, this last sentence can be said about the film too. While the characters are superbly set-up individually, when woven together they just don't gel. And the standards set by the start leave you feeling high and dry by the time it reaches the finish line.Read more
NOT A REVIEW - just wondering what makes atyachar (torture) worth it...
So we are flipping channels one evening and a Dev D promo shows up. The flipping stops. Abhay Deol is snorting up something. I get this queer déjà vu that feels like Requiem for a dream. The better half says, "paagal hai ye aadmi!" (This man is mad!) in-sync with director, Anurag Kashyap's name showing up on screen. And he hasn't even seen No Smoking!
I'd say, "long live such craziness." - The kind that guarantees something 'different' for its audience - whether they like it or not. The brand that even a non-consumer recognizes.
This time around it's Devdas - a novel written almost a century ago - readjusted to fit or misfit in today's environment. So, the parameters are set and yet the promos convince you that it's not going to be the same.
I'm not a huge fan of stories with Loser protagonists - especially the ones with a capital L - lead characters who are clueless and spineless. Devdas surely falls into that category. I'm getting over this misgiving, convincing myself it’s the pathos of the losers that makes for movie material. Getting there...gradually.
Meanwhile, along with the promos, the music has also piqued interest. 18 songs by the man behind the music of Aamir, Amit Trivedi. In combination with the man behind the visuals of No smoking's songs - I'm certainly in for an audio-visual treat. An intelligent musical? Is that even possible?
Of course, there's loads of talk on the movie at Passion For Cinema - how the story came about, how some of the music originated, two deleted scenes and loads more. The movie making process sounds really haphazard. I guess there are many ways to make a movie - dynamism, keeping an open mind is one of them. The most interesting bit is from Anurag during his temporary bout of depression -
I felt judged and that gave me the idea to what to do with Dev.D. Write a story about the young people who were judged by the society and were given no chance to come back. That is what Dev.D is. It’s the story of the outcasts. People we give up on, because they are stubborn, because they refuse to confirm and they don’t listen. they want to do their own shit, take their time figuring the rights from wrongs and in the process discover themselves. Like i always said, Dev.D is the story of self realization, self discovery , self destruction being one of the routes to it or the result of it.
In general, each movie brings with it excitement and apprehensions. I'm excited about a movie capturing the generation X that finds itself confused between its eastern roots and western sensibilities. I'm really intrigued by the soft porn look the official site is given. Not only is it bold, the entire concept looks like its mocking society's value system and maybe even questioning them.
Anyway, I didn't care much for Anurag's Black Friday but No Smoking was mesmerizing in a very weird sort-of a way. So, right now the series is level. The India-Sri Lanka one though we are all set for a 5-0! Woohoo!!
- meetu, a part of the audience
- meeta, a part of the audience
As the first few scenes unfold I try to imagine the understandable reaction of an audience that is fed on mainstream Hindi cinema. "Titillating!", "Voyeuristic!!", "Despicable!!!" Maybe audiences that are exposed to cinema from the world will have a similar reaction too. This is not what we do in 'our' movies. So what if almost every movie boasts a pole-dance in the name of 'item number' with the most suggestive lyrics?! Even so, I'd have agreed with them if the characters in Dev D didn't move beyond their basic needs, if they didn't try to understand each other. Or if they didn't have reasonable motivation. Or if they, like normal human beings, didn't move on from one pain to another. It's all there. Not completely satisfying, but it's there.
Not entirely smoothly but you are introduced to the characters. Even though most of us might not identify with them, we begin to enjoy them. The offense to the Indian psyche starts its onslaught with the guy who is adamant and outright disrespectful towards his elders. A girl in love can go to any extent to please her man. Another frustrated, violated, unloved teenager rebels when friends and family desert her. Each one a very strong character. And all three condemn themselves to self-destruction - even if one of them takes a socially acceptable path.
But, then something goes wrong. The writing in terms of the story just loses its charm mid-way. The strong characters turn limp as if the writers lost interest. Fortunately the dialogue stays crisp and smart. But, all the foreplay doesn't lead to anything exciting. No home-run after third base?
Tut-tut....It's not our culture to express our sexuality. We have the urge. 1,00,00,00,000 don't happen just like that! But, Shushhh! We purge the need to talk about it. And here you have the three main characters lusting like there's no tomorrow - on the big screen at that! Scandalous!! But, HOLD ON...It's explicit by implication not by expression. Not so much as a kiss in it for us to make a fuss about. And yet it comes across as imprudent. Sure the language is refreshingly candid. It's not exactly everyday language only because not all people can think on their feet like that.
And this is what sets Dev D apart. It's almost as if the camera is just waiting for a nudge, to be pushed to capture what might be happening under that bush. But the makers enjoy teasing the audience better. Of course, this also helps in escaping the censor scissor.
It's an Anurag Kashyap movie. By definition it has to try and show the society a mirror. He comments on the double standards of men and spells it out through dialogue, just in case you were trying to overlook it. The film talks about sex not only as an obsession, but also as a form of possession - this person is mine because he/she makes love with me. It drills the angst down in the songs. Almost constantly, there are words in the background song telling you something insightful if you care to pay attention. Incidentally, it was the first time I saw audience singing a song out loud in a theater.
How can I leave Abhay Deol's charm or dialogue delivery skills out? O-kay, his smile and dimples too! Yet his character, Dev's attitude made me want to slap him. Maybe because he portrays Dev's audacity that well, or maybe because Mahie Gill played Paro as if there wasn't any effort involved. I didn't need to understand much of Punjabi to know what was on this girl's mind! Am I the only one who felt like I was watching Tabu? However, the chemistry between Abhay and Mahie is completely missing when Kalki Koechlin and Abhay get together. Kalki didn't seem 100% comfortable and thus looked a little pretentious.
Dev D represents what some of the urban youth go through today. Their candor, their confidence, their conceit, their sexual desires, their redefinition of true love. It’s a story told and retold over decades, in literature and on screen. But it's more open, more bold. Unfortunately, it also feels like it's half-told.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Noyon Jyoti Parasara, AOL INDIA : ...Technically, this film looks extremely chic. It has been edited really well, right from transitions to keeping it short. Camerawork is top class.... full review
Thumbs up, by Bikas Mishra, DearCinema : ...Deol. Motwane and Kashyap’s screenplay is full of wit and humour. One great thing about the film is that this otherwise gloomy story never leaves you grim faced.... full review
Thumbs up, by Samrat Sharma, fullhyd.com : ...Anurag Kashyap's latest is not so much a flawed marriage of art and commerce, it is a complete triumph of vision; so thoroughly the work of, dare I say, an auteur, that it feels absolutely stunning.... full review
Thumbs up, by Martin D'souza, Glamsham.com : ...Every character stands out; every scene is a dream. Kashyap takes ordinary moments and peppers it with rappers to skillfully drive home the point with lyrics to match the mood.... full review
Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ...What really lifts the film are the performances and the audacious screenplay, written by Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane. It tends to lack coherence in places though... full review
Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, Mumbai Mirror : ...The concept is evidently credited to Deol, the devoted leading star of this film. It’s laudable how in a short span, the actor has scripted for himself a career that could make for a mini middle-of-the-road retrospective already:... full review
Thumbs up, by Ajay Khullar, Now Running.com : ...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.... full review
Thumbs up, by Jahan Bakshi, Now Running.com : ...What could have been a poetically tragic, bittersweet tale of two wounded, lost souls finding momentary happiness together becomes an exercise in futility and for the viewer, often sheer frustration.... full review
Thumbs up, by Smriti Vij, Passion for Cinema : ...The film felt ‘real’ to me. There is realism in the images of Punjab, Delhi. There is realistic detail in the spaces, characters - how they speak, react; realism of the kind that is once again making its presence felt strongly in our mainstream Hindi cinema... full review
Thumbs up, by Nimish Atra, Passion for Cinema : ...Dev.D is technically brilliant - Cinematography, Sound design, Settings, Editing (especially the first half) are as good as this movie deserves.... full review
Thumbs up, by Medha Dutt, Passion for Cinema : ...The film is definitely a must-watch. True, it is a take on Devdas, but it is a film where Paro and Devdas (especially the latter) grow up.... full review
Thumbs up, by Ravptor, Passion for Cinema : ...I loved the film, the 2nd half especially… with no jokes, no intrepid references, no raunchy women… just rowdy existence waiting to self destruct.... full review
Thumbs up, by Rusted Rick, Passion for Cinema : ...DEV.D is not a joy ride in the park, its not the film to watch with your Paro, it’s a hard grueling, torturous journey into Kashyap’s Heart of Darkness.... full review
Thumbs up, by Tushar, Passion for Cinema : ...From spoken words to unspoken emotions, from eyes that meet to eyes that shy away, from outbursts to guilt trips, from lost causes to lazy strolls, Dev D is quite an ode, to the road, to the after hour walks, to the very joy of aftertaste.... full review
Thumbs up, by Pragya Tiwari, Passion for Cinema : ...Anurag Kashyap has not adapted Sharatchandra’s Devdas. He has set it free from a gas chamber of confined meanings where it fought long and hard to survive.... full review
Thumbs up, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...Kashyap's real surprise lies in the way he makes the story work, about how he avoids cinematic pitfalls and makes perhaps the most honest version of the character.... full review
So-So, by Abhishek Bandekar, DearCinema : ...If nothing Kashyap’s version will go down as one of the most pro-feminist staging of the text, presenting in Paro and Chanda two mature women aware of the biased sexual standards of a patriarchal society... full review
So-So, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...Despite the clever new approach and its stylish telling, the flaw that hurts the film ultimately, is the fact that Devdas is never an engaging enough character and his story lacks soul.... full review
So-So, M TV : ...In its first forty odd minutes Dev.D sucks you into its drama, shocking you with its brazenness, and more specifically with Kashyap's audacious re-imagination of the plot and its characters.... full review
So-So, by Harshita Kohli, StarBoxOffice : ...Dev D is all about Abhay Deol and the actor has done a fantastic job. The pain, anguish and confusion are depicted so well by him that he deserves an award for that alone.... full review
Thumbs down, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...Abhay Deol is natural. Mahi is decent, while Kalki shows sparks in a few scenes only. The balance cast, including the actor playing Chunni, are strictly okay.... full review
Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.
This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Dev (Abhay Deol) and Paro (Mahie Gill) are madly in love with each other. But it doesn't work out. All distraught, Dev takes on to drugs and alcoholism with a vengeance. Along the way, he meets Chanda (Kalki Koechlin), a commercial sex-worker.
Well, it's rated 'Adult' by the Censor Board. Anyway...