Monday, February 01, 2010

"Dev.D" (Language - Hindi) (2009) - Movie Review

If the mythological stories of every religion and culture is dissected and psychoanalyzed, that would exhibit the most hypocritical and egomaniacal characters blatantly been forgiven and sometimes glorified for their acts. I am waiting for a take on that from director Anurag Kashyap or some able minded person but till the time can count itself off, “Dev.D” is under the dissection table of Kashyap’s feature presentation. Lot has been said and praised about this modern take on the long known tragic love story. It is of course as Kashyap’s disastrous previous experiment “No Smoking” shows his adamant integrity but it is not as faltering as that. Yet it does not complete itself.

Kashyap cannot wait to splash our face with the modernization of this story which begins within minutes into the film when Dev (Abhay Deol) from London asks Paro (Mahi Gill) in a village in Punjab whether she pleasures herself. Then to confirm his stance, Dev asks for a naked picture of her. Paro is the village girl with prompt modernization and the realization of the new India while playfully teases Dev is as curious and desperate to sleep with her lover. Before there is a genuine exchange of words, there is suspicion and the relationship ends before it begins. Focus goes to Chanda (Kalki Koechlin), a young curious school girl gets into a sex scandal which appears to be taken from the guide to becoming a prostitute. As Dev comes to Delhi in stalker mode of the newly wed Paro and indulges in sex, drugs and alcohol, we learn that the much idolized Devdas by the men who lost their love is nothing but a narcissistic and dangerous spinal pain in the back for every one.

I believe no one would like to talk about the elephant in the room, which is the disjointed story telling. Or more so the haphazard narration. The content is a breath of fresh air and the director is a man ready to tackle toe to toe the immersed cruelty dusted off in the stories and reality. Dev is shown for what he is. He is a rich spoiled brat never learning the meaning of life and mainly love. He wanders around to forget the reality he denies to understand. And for that Abhay Deol does not have much to do other than have a disdained look and utter words of insult now and then at the females who hopelessly care for him.

The soul of “Dev.D” is truly the songs it uses to boost the scenes which do not carry the justice to the music. Amit Trivedi’s music is not a mere hit of catchy songs which get short lived in the techno scene of the current youth. It has a precision in each of the beat and variation in the tunes. It is the mood of the film. Whatever Anurag Kashyap explained to Trivedi should have been beautiful, promising and emotional because it requires an understanding to come about such songs to fit a story which is soaked in self loath, carnality and tragedy.

Despite these qualities, “Dev.D” becomes complacent even before it starts. As swiftly it moves through the introduction of Dev and Paro followed by their failed love, the part where Chanda’s young age taking a wrong turn puts the story off. Kalki Koechlin does a better portrayal of the matured Chanda later in the film but does an amateurish acting in the earlier scenes. It becomes a play going wrong in the stage and every one panics unaware that their fiasco is instantaneous and recovery is a far away land.

As much as a jerk Dev is, he should have been given some chance to speak up of what he really thinks. The idea of Chanda falling for this damaged and rotten persona is not good enough. May be she identifies of being ostracized by society and family with Dev but he chose to do so and hardly looked back. In making Dev such a scoundrel, the film forgets to authenticate the reasons Chanda and Rasika (Parakh Madan) go crazy for him.

The feel and look is of course something new for the Indian film industry because people do not take music videos serious. That is what “Dev.D” is, a sometime thoughtful and peppy music video taken seriously. As a musical mix, it is fun to watch the drug trips Dev takes into the shady and hidden night bars in Delhi. When both the video and music clicks like it does in the night bar scene, it shows the passion of Kashyap. But those are sparsely scattered and does not engulf into a single piece of good work. “Dev.D” is a lovely mess and the mess becomes predominant.


Karthik said...

Good u wrote abt trivedi's music in detail.!!! thanks for it..

Ashok said...

Dude, I am hooked on the music :-). Its been long long time since I listened to a Hindi Movie album and loved it for every detail in the composition !