Friday, November 28, 2014

Devdas : Much Ado About No One

By the time I got around to Devdas (the 2002 Sanjay Leela Bansali film), I was already a Shah Rukh Khan fan (even if I didn't want to be one). Usually, I would read the wiki page of a Bollywood film first, think it over many times, before I decide to watch it. See, since they average 3 hours long, I'd rather commit my time to something that would really entertain and enrich me.

So, to cut this review short... I did not like Devdas. Why would a sweet and gentle Paro (played by Aiswarya Rai) and a graceful and wise Chandramukhi (played by Madhuri Dixit) fall in love and commit (emotinally) to someone like Devdas (played by Shah Rukh Khan)? He did not come across as kind, considerate, etc. His one saving grace was he kept a promise or two.  But really, I didn't think him worthy of the love of the two.

Maybe because I never had patience for drunkards and fools in the first place :)

And the two women ARE the heart of this film, really. I loved the juxtaposition between a pure, naive wife and an experienced, realistic courtesan. I loved Chandramukhi's lines where she confronted Kalibabu with the possibility that men like him could be using their own sisters/daughters when they visit brothels. See, that was a concept I never really thought of, given that it doesn't seem likely for men in my country to frequent the same brothels as do their fathers/relatives (plus everyone, even the sex workers, are transitory) whereas, it seems daughters of sex workers in India (being outcasts) are doomed to really follow their mother's trade.

I really loved Chandramukhi's character but feel it was wasted on Devdas (who physically hurt Paro! WTH?) and because of that, I don't think I will be watching this again. I doubt I can get past that.

Oh, love the set though. Kept trying to figure out where one house ends and the other begins.

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