Monday, February 9, 2009
Dev D - Grade B
Anurag K's 'Dev D' is like Maggi Hot 'n' Sweet sauce - it is different. I watched it by myself at an evening show on a sunday, in a multiplex, after buying the ticket from a desperate man who was trying to offload three. The seat I found myself in was between two amorous couples. They billed and cooed through the movie,and nudged each other in that meaningful way lovers do, each time there was a sexual reference on screen. My side show was almost as erotic as Dev and Paro's couplings in sarson fields, ghusaal khanas and tabelas. The movie could so easily have been titled 'Loins of Punjab - Part 2." Khair. I was determined to remain fully focused on what has been dubbed a brilliant, faultless, five star film by top critics. Hello?? 'Dev D' is bold ( the forbidden f-word uttered unapologetically), edgy ( camera on steroids), kinky ( Kalki gives great phone sex in Tamil, French and Hinglish). But brilliant?? Come on, guys. Haven't we seen all this and more with Jodie Foster doing her teenage slut routine decades ago? What about 'Lyon"? and Natalie Portman ?? Besides, how many interpretations of that ghasa peeta story ("evdas'), do we need before saying, " Enough"? I am upto there with the main man, Monsieur Devdas, a real loser of a fellow, a complete jerk, a self -obsessed beast, who in this version progresses from booze to drugs, but otherwise retains all the creepy qualities of the original. Why romanticise such a character, I ask you?? Of course, a classic remains a magnet for creative manipulation. So, one can't argue on that score with the filmmaker. Visually, the movie is an absolute stunner, psychedelic lunacy at its zaniest. Delhi's seedy Paharganj, Daryaganj and other areas favoured by international junkies, have been captured in all their depressing glory. Mahie as Paro, and Kalki as Chandramukhi, completely overshone Abhay Deol. I would have said 'mauled the guy' but he wasn't half bad in some key scenes, though I do wish he had kept his shirt on, and spared us those ugh underwear shots. Dev D was a bit of a disappointment. Much was expected, less delivered. Tau bhi - I would say, 'Isko dekho.' Brutal in bits. But truthful, too. One grouse: in an otherwise original script, why ghusaao the much publicised BMW and MMS scandals??