If you hated the different film adaptations of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Devdas for the elaborate emotional atyaachaar, it is time you watched Dev D. Anurag Kashyap turns the age old tale on its head and comes up with his modern version of the classic set in rural Punjab and then travelling to sleazy Delhi.
Abhay Deol plays Dev – the lazy, untrustworthy, alcohol and drug addicted junkie- the sloppiest Devdas of all- someone you will love to hate. Rich, spoilt and unwashed. He is in love with Parminder – Paro for short- Mahie Gill in a spirited performance. She is daring- sends nude pictures of hers across the web, after a heroic experience in trying to get them printed and scanned in a small town. She carries her own mattress on a bicycle for a quickie in the sarson ke khet – and when she gets dumped- she gives Dev such a royal snub that he never quite recovers. Her transformation from the Paro with unkempt hair to the confident composed Paro, Dev knows he has lost, is striking. Equally fascinating is Kalki Koechlin (Chanda) who metamorphoses from a school girl who raises her hemline and gets unfortunately caught in an MMS scandal to a board exam-giving, mobike-riding prostitute. She does the impossible- make you feel sympathetic for her, despite her outrageous wigs, make-up and outfits- and speaks chaste Tamil as well. Dibyendu Bhattacharjee as Chunni, the pimp, fits his role to a T.
The psychedelic treatment of the movie, the wonderful characterization of the lead actors and the seedy lanes of Delhi picturized to perfection make this film work. So does Amit Trivedi’s music which is out of this world. The movie first shocks, then it scandalizes (when the protagonists seem to be groping at each other in every imaginable situation including a poultry farm) and then it makes you laugh at the sheer desperation of Dev.
It is a movie I enjoyed. And I am leaving you with Patna ke Presley and their fabulously infectious Emoshanal Atyachaar. BTW did you notice Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the song?