He is controversial, eccentric, emotional and unconventional. Anurag Kashyap has gone from making cinematic greats in the form of Black Friday to the infamous No Smoking. While he still stands strong and firm by the script of No Smoking, his boisterous ways has managed to keep him in the news for the right and wrong reasons. His new venture Dev D, a progressive look at the historical Devdas, is said to be contemporary and entertaining. Looking to break his jinx at the box office and receive critical acclaim from his “friends,” the critics, Kashyap swore that his new flick was bound to create waves. Read on to see if Anurag’s Generation-X version of the classical Devdas manages to live up to its avant-garde reputation.
In true modern day fashion, young Dev (Abhay Deol) is shipped off to school at the tender age of twelve. He departs for London leaving his childhood love Paro (Mahi Gill) behind to yearn for him. He returns, now a grown man, eager to hold Paro in his arms. While the lovers reunite, they also become victims of a misunderstanding after which Paro is married off, leaving Dev in a state of melancholy. Rich and irresponsible, he turns to drugs and alcohol, moves out of his family home and falls into a deep self destructive rut. Enter Lenny (Kalki Koechlin). Young, rebellious and bored with her mundane school life, she is thrown out of her house after a shameful MMS scandal and is taken in by Chunni. The pimp forces her to indulge in a life of sex and prostitution by the alias of Chanda. She decides to take on a double role, playing Lenny the school going girl by day and the sexy boudoir Chanda by night. Dev and Chanda meet only to detest each other and while the latter falls in love, Dev is still mesmerized by his first love. Dev is left at a blurred crossroads where he must decide between life and love.
Anurag Kashyap has taken a delicate and usually orthodox story, added conventional millennium norms: drugs, sex and revolution, making it relatable to the current generation. Kashyap’s understanding of the current generation is fabulous. His script incorporates a vodka drinking, cocaine sniffing Dev; Paro emailing nude pictures of herself to Dev; and a phone sex indulging Chanda. His personality of being an extremist works in Dev D to his advantage, making the script different and fresh in many aspects. Another facet to the script is that even though every moviegoer already knows the repeated plot, they are still in for a slight shock when they see the unconventional manner with which the movie has been executed. Shock being the key word here, as some of the behavior of the characters is outrageous and scandalous. However, Kashyap takes on this wild attitude in a wicked fashion. He includes some dry tongue-in-cheek humor too, which subtly points out his belief and take on love. Additionally, the mind-bending scenes between an intoxicated Dev and school girl Chanda are shot magnificently in typical Kashyap flair.
The letdowns are few. The “misunderstanding” between Dev and Paro was not as well thought out and clearly could have been resolved. Also, why could educated Paro agree to marry a widowed man with two children? A girl of her stature and strength would normally speak out and disagree to such a match. Additionally, Dev’s evil indulgences are financed by a doting father but why? Clearly, in this day in age, fathers would kick their sons to the curb instead of funding their daily doses of coke. The scenes between Chanda and her pimp are boring. Towards the end, as the movie works towards the climax, it becomes a tad bit monotonous.
Abhay Deol is once again top notch. He is proving to be an actor who prefers to stay away from the usual run of the mill scripts and does a great job in those roles. Deol plays Dev D’s role as the bratty decadent pardesi who is heart-broken to the ‘T.’ His chemistry with both the leading ladies is sizzling. Watch out for the scene where he blatantly asks Paro to get down with him on the fields and later when he expresses his remorse to Chanda. After Oye Lucky, he is back with a bang and is turning out to be an actor par difference and excellence. Mahi Gill is decent and natural in her portrayal of Paro. She lights up in the intimate scenes with Deol. Kalki Koechlin, who was supposed to be the new find of the movie, is strictly okay. She definitely should consider a few acting classes, however she exhibits great confidence onscreen.
‘Emotional Atyachar’ is top class. Its witty lyrics and choreography is unique, adding some spice to the emotionally charged love story. ‘Pardesi’ too is another song to watch out for.
Dev D is Anurag Kashyap’s first love story and his interpretation is quirky and alternative which is naturally expected of him. In a nutshell, Dev D in true Kashyap fashion will make you gape at the bluntness of the characters and the story. This one is not for the children, so leave them at home. Otherwise, Dev D is one to watch and talk about. No emotional atyachar here – Dev D is a must watch.