Devdas - Your Say II
ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH! Don’t think because you saw DEVDAS once in cinema, you can make a reasonable judgment of this film. You will need to see it again and again to unfold the many layers and appreciate each facet and nuance. Don’t deprive yourself of that delight!
Some critics have suggested that the lavishness of the visuals distracts from the storyline and other elements…silly people! This just means you have to go back and see it again and again!
I saw beauty in every frame: a visual smorgasbord, eye candy everywhere you look. Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali said that this story had so much soul that it deserved the opulence and grandeur and I agree. If you take away the mind boggling spectacle, what are you left with? A soul-stirring story (written, incredibly, by 17 year old Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1901, but not published until 1917, because he didn’t think it worthy) which DESERVES all that splendour.
With a movie of this magnitude, obviously you can’t please everyone. Whether you like DEVDAS (the movie) or not, this is a movie for posterity. Its technical perfection will never be surpassed. This is ART in its highest form. Definitely a movie for grownups! You will get out of it, what you bring to it of yourself. So, if you don’t feel the poetry and majesty in your soul….? Don’t blame Mr Bhansali!
Sets (Nitin Desai), choreography (Saroj Khan/Birju Maharaj), cinematography (Binod Pradhan), costumes (Abu_Sandeep, Neeta Lulla and Reeza Sharif) and music (Ismail Darbar) were all simply superb. [As an Australian girl non-Hindi speaker] I can’t tell about the dialogue and this makes the storyline a bit hazy for me in places. But what means more to me is ambiance, atmosphere, mood ~ the soul of a movie, and this one has it BY THE WHEELBARROW LOAD! Repressed desires and thwarted passions simmer and seethe in emotionally charged scenes unequalled in eroticism and symbolism.
Some western reviews from Cannes Film Festival said people (read: western people) walked out in disgust over the vulgar display of extravagance! To me, that was like trashing India’s culture and heritage: grossly impolite, insulting and dare I say…ignorant! Typical ~ depravity, decadence, brutality and obscenity are more acceptable to the western mentality than beauty and splendour! This movie was made entirely for the meagre sum of $US6million…that wouldn’t even pay for the lead actor in a US movie: now, THAT’S what I call obscene!
Remember CLEOPATRA? In 1963, it was acclaimed as the costliest movie ever made. At $US40 million, taking inflation into account, it probably still is … DEVDAS is India’s Cleopatra!
I was awestruck and humbled by the mammoth scale and sumptuous glory of the sets. As Paro ran through her mansion I was thinking, surely this can’t be just a set built for a movie?…this must actually be somebody’s home.
Paro’s entrance was probably my favourite of her scenes – the focus on the diya made it seem that the symbol of their love was more important than she was. Her hand movements then and in the dance that followed, Silsila Yeh Chaahat Ka were exquisite.
I understood Paro. She was vain, spoilt, selfish, wilful and a tease, but I believe she loved Dev. She wouldn’t have befriended Chandramukhi otherwise, as that was a loving and selfless act, putting Dev’s wellbeing above her own jealousy.
Another part, which moved me to tears, was when the scar on Paro’s forehead started to bleed, when Dev was coughing up blood in the train. It was kind of supernatural, like a psychic bond…it reminded me of ASOKA, where Arya and Kaurwaki were calling out to Pavan, Asoka gave a little start, as if he actually heard them.
Great job, Ash! Swinging on a swing, holding hands with Shah Rukh, gazing adoringly into his eyes – how hard could that be? I know about 10 million girls who would love to be in your place…ISHSH!!
Madhuri (as Chandramukhi) in the full flower of her beauty has never looked more exquisite, a Class Act. One of her costumes, a mindboggling creation weighing 30 kilos had to be redesigned (at a mere 16 kilos!) so she could dance in it.
I understood Devdas. I would have done the same. The “I’ll show THEM” attitude…if I was denied what I valued most in life, I would try to show how little I valued that life. Very self-destructive! (But I swear the poor babe spilt more than he drank!) Seems like he was a bit of a pyromaniac too!
There was criticism made of Shah Rukh’s so-called stock expressions of quivering lip and shaking hands…but you can’t tell me your hands wouldn’t be shaking and your lips quivering under those circumstances? … a slow and painful way to die, I would
Shah Rukh is definitely in his prime (I’ve been saying that since ASOKA, but he just keeps getting better) and just when you think he has reached the pinnacle of perfection in his craft, he surpasses even himself ~ his eloquent eyes searing his pain permanently into your heart. It constantly amazes me where he finds all that intensity, pain and rage within himself. Anguish, regret, depair, defeat: those luminous, limpid eyes tell it all. Nobody in Bollywood OR Hollywood can show pain quite like Our beloved Baadshah.
Some critics said Chalak Chalak was out of place (like Aa Tayer Hoja in ASOKA which I also loved) but to me it was a rousing, rollicking drinking song, joyous and playful, and one of the few times in the movie that Devdas had some fun…and who would want to deny him that?
Shah Rukh had already broken my heart with the Prime Minister’s video (Kya Khoya, Kya Paaya)…what more damage could he do? But to see his chilling death scene in DEVDAS, his glazed eyes and lifeless body, was one of the most devastating scenes we are ever likely to see…this man is a Genius, and a certifiable Living Work of Art!
Just thinking back now to some of the highlights …”SSSH! I said: I object!” to his father; “No objection, M’lord”; the thorn in the foot by the waterfall scene; the settee burning; the wedding procession; all the scenes from the train journey to the end ---and, (Oh! so many more!) make me want to rush out and watch it again IMMEDIATELY!
Any negatives? Not really, it would just be nitpicking. Some of the lighting was a bit dark for me, and the opening scenes were unnecessarily long and irritatingly loud: that’s it, really!
Dev’s sister-in-law deserved her slap as did Paro’s (step) son-in-law…but I reckon Dev’s mother could have done with one, too! And as for Dev’s father….!!! Some dysfunctional family, na? Paro’s mother seemed like someone I would enjoy knowing.
These changes would make it a perfect movie for me, but then it wouldn’t be Sanjay Leela Benshali’s vision – it would be mine!
Here’s a brilliant idea – DEVDAS SHOULD BE DUBBED IN ENGLISH!! As long as it was Shah Rukh’s own rich husky voice…
Three hours go by so fast, it seems like three minutes and you don’t want to leave that magical, long ago world…but with Devdas gone, what else is left?
In a 5 star rating system, 6 stars should be awarded exclusively to DEVDAS, because this movie is in a class of its own, without equal and we would be extremely fortunate to see another movie of this calibre in our lifetime... ****** 10/10
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