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??


Anonymous said...

poor dear Shobhaa,
we really seem to be pushing you too much these days! You really are posting far too many blogs these days, hoping that readers will not read the previous comments about the Devil's Advocate interview:

khushboo said...

Agree with the repeatability, but i think you missed a important part here and that is movie is about the old devdas situation in today's time. If the same kind of character is alive in today's time what his story would be like. We have MMS and
Car accident having like this. Where at time we don't see the whole picture. Such incidents are imbibed innovation.
this is today's story.

mystiquedew said...

Gawd! Am having a headache..
Even while i echo ur thots abt an over-used idea..this is definitely getting a bit too much..every once in a while i pop in and every time its the same stowwy..

Is it that nothing makes ye happy? or this whining makes ye happy?

Smile :) :) :)

Subhajit said...

Agreed...not an outstanding movie...

But one which U should go and have a's different and it's not typical masala.

Anonymous said...

The only thing not required in the movie was the BMW angle,was unnecessary.
Otherwise you have missed the mark by a lot Mrs De or may be not your fault,you need to be on the right side of 30(or the wrong side,whatever is the your way of looking at it!) to appreciate it.
I can watch this movie just for the music. It rocked. Period

Vee said...

Yea, Hello? We have not seen this kind of thing made in our country. Never. The story is indeed gheesa peeta and Bhansali totally screwed it. Anurag has made a mockery of Bhansali’s version and not the original one (two references for that; in original Dev doesn’t go abroad, he goes to Calcutta(then) and Bhansali sends him to London and other is Paro n Chandramukhi never meet in original).

Mahie and Kalki indeed mauled Deol cuz that was the intention of Anurag. He has shown the ladies who are rational, doesn’t-take-a-shit and decide things on their own. So, what’s wrong in that? Dev belongs to today’s youth and when he gets screwed up in love he leaves a shabby life. Not all of today’s youth but I would say few do too and Dev is one such. Oh, look around and you will see so many examples. There wasn’t a requirement of showing waxed chest and Jockey underwear. And BMW and MMS scandal is ghuasoed cuz for no reasons.. It just carries the story forward. Shouldn’t have grouse with that.

Please read my review if time permits. I am really interested in knowing your take. Am I being too cocky there?

Harish said...

o! de. i would call this movie a masterpiece. I loved every frame, every dialogue... this is how a today's adaptation of a novel should be. yes yes.

i loved both the heroines. fantastic is not the word. i could shower many superlatives on them... i hope they get some meaningful roles in bollywood.. and dont end up being branded as a slutty bimbo.

regarding abhay's character, i dont feel it romanticizes the character.. infact i feel it doesnt pass any jjudgement.. leaves that to the viewer.

I toh am in love with the movie... and i think it is oscar material... but guess the committee would have billo barber or some otehr movie for the oscar race...

anshul bhardwaj said...

Dear Mrs De,

I appreciate your intelligence. But please explain:
1 Could you concentrate on the movie while sitting in between those any two delhi guys?

2. Could you appreciate the music of the film while enjoying their lecherous moves?

3. Why should nt the BMW/MMS be made part of the film considering the director never had a hit in his career and these are sure shot means to secure a hit?

4. if a great celebrity like recommends watching a ghisa pita story of devdas again, does that mean the interpretation is beyond brilliant this time. Are you not contradicting yourself?

5. Are you giving it less stars because you want to make your blog sensational?

6. Is it not female chauvinism that makes you say that the heroines overshadowed the hero? Wont you agree its was Abhay who came with this brilliant idea and actually did justice with it?

7. What made you expect MUCH from a director who has always delivered duds? Is that not your over-expectations? [its like I expecting you to be as interesting, intelligent and courageous as Mallika Sherawat]

Anonymous said...

hey ya everyone, it takes a special kinda gal to go to a movie proudly alone.I love going to the movie by myself but there are people who think that's freaky behaviour.But there are few people who give a damn about judgement.Also,I'm 24 and I perfectly relate to this lady's writing.For those who think being on the 'right' side of 30 matters,they are surely on the wrong side of nowhere.Name another celeb blogger whose writing is as vibrant and delightful.C'mon guys, she shares stuff ranging from Ambani's hospital to the latest movies to travel anecdotes.Give the lady due credit.I was a big fan of Carrie Bradshaw until I read SD's blog. Afterall, Carrie is fictional, Shobhaa is a real observer, unconventional despite the comfortable trappings of conventionality.

Nikita said...

Dear Shobhaa,
Although we have seen it all with Jodie Foster, Natalie Portman and the likes but something like this is radical for bollywood. I kept exclaiming throughout the movie, "Is this really bollywood!" The movie should be appluaded just for sheer courage, for the daring to show the heroine carrying a mattress to the fields for an amorous tete-a-tete. And what's wrong with the f-word anyway?
Why do you call the story of Devdas gheesa peeta, it's anything but that. Aren't there too many irresponsible, indecisive, and smitten youngsters around who can relate closely to Dev D? Aren't there so many girls and women around who have known at least one such eccentric person and dealt with him? How can the story of such a person be gheesa peeta? The character of Dev has not been romanticised, if anything, the youth is learning lessons from it.
I disagree that the ladies have outshown Abhay Deol in the movie. His character was meant to be that way.
It is so unlike you to not appreciate any expression of art that is true and bold. I wonder whether the couples on either side of you were distracting!! :-)

Another Kiran In NYC said...

I think this Deol fella is quite delectable. Unexpectedly I met him amongst friends and he is very, very, very bright and very endearing all wrapped up in lassi-praatha muscles.Thats right I wrote praatha not parantha. Big difference there.

And you know what else? He listens extremely carefully and reserves judgement which is more than many young men of his age.

Excuse me a minute while I wipe the drool off my wrinkly chin!

Havent seen Dev D so cannot comment on the movie, but he was pretty good in Honeymoon travels.

Perhaps a trip to the desi theatre is in order!

Sidhusaaheb said...

Doesn't sound like a movie I'd want to watch...Thanks for the review!


Shobhaa De said...

Delectable Deol, Kiran?? U shld have met his uncle Garam Dharam during his prime. Now that's delectable. But Abhay is supposed to be really cerebral, witty and serious about his work.
The one good thing about the film was its original take on a stale subject. Plus, the inspired casting, especially of the two girls - can't imagine Kareena or Katrina coming anywhere close to these two.

Anonymous said...

The movie was great! The underwear scenes etc are deliberate...typical of all bachelors - in fact, it's briiliant coz it spoofs john abraham's u/wear scene in dostana...the movie is twisted and amazing - maybe Shobhaa, you are just too old for this sorta stuff now

Films like Dev D make me v excited for Hindi cinema...i think it beats the pants off Slumdog M

Kalki (amazing vulnerability), Mahi (all fire) and Abhay - all amazing.

Anonymous said...

Please stop mixing Hindi and English. Stick to what you know best English or Hindi. Don't murder both of them. Its not cool, its irritating - to say the least.

BTW, you don't even get the usual phrases right - like ghasa peeta should be ghi(ee)sa peeta .

OK. I am not sure why I m writing this because neither do I read your columns nor do I care about your books or blogs. I was just passing by and couldn't resist commenting on the junk you have written.

Next time - just post your pictures. Thats all I need to see (if I drop by again).

Piper .. said...

Just wondering how you react to retarded morons, who think they are God`s gift to mankind(and err womankind!) and hence take it upon themselves to denigrate your opinions by trying to thrust their imbecile ones upon the world! Do you just ignore?

ek-ladki-anjaani-si said...

Nahi re De' kya baat you talking about... after speaking to *aham this morning, I took "time off" from work and rushed to Devon... only to look for Dev D.
Yaar come'on.... you have to love this movie. *Aham said I must absolutely watch this movie immediately, so I did - LEAVING DR GILL'S WORK aside. Yes google him... the cardiologist in Chi-Town... only to see Abhay. I agree with Aham... no way... this is Oscar material... and AKNYC... yaar dekho yeh movie... you will be shocked. Sorry De iss baar toh me and you don't see it parallely! Meri sorry hai!

Anonymous said...

Shobha, I am not sure if you have been able to make up your mind about the movie. The title says Grade B ...but most of body of your blog has nice things to say about the movie !!

Harish said...

Thankx re Ek ladki... You really bhaggoed to devon. I knew u will toh love ths phillum... Thr r so many dialogues like remember 'Ran#* word out of fashion hai, log abhi commercial sex worker bolte hai'... And that scene where paro asks for the room chabi saying 'tereko mil gaya na, ab mainu chabi de' and whr the scandel girl calls her dad a bastard for watchng the oral sex vdo of hs daughter... Or 'saare logo ne download karke mazze loote and they call me a slut' wow. Wow. Wow. Ths is a movie that shows women as not sex objects... But treats them at par with man even in libido. Gr8! Dê merko toh yeh film classic lagga. Jai anurag kashyap, jai ho!

Anonymous said...

good review.

Anonymous said...

What's your take on The Pink Chaddi Campaign n the Pub Bharo Andolan?
I personally think it is awesome.
Way to go lasses!!

Priyanka said...

Dear Shobhaa,
I have always been a great fan of your columns. I have been reading them since I was in school. I remember how I used to rush every Sunday to the get the Sunday TOI to be able to read your column..! Well that was years ago..! Now I read your blog as often as time permits me too.
I will have to agree with you that the '4/5 star rating' for Dev D is unjustified (even though the movie was well directed, the actors did a great job...and more..)
I loved reading your review. I too went to watch the movie Sunday evening at a multiplex, albeit with a girl friend!
I do not know if I have not gotten the essence of the movie or is it just some other thing in my subconscience that has made me write the review that I wrote. I seem to be having a totally different take on the movie/concept... If you do the time, Do check it out -

Keep writing..! Good luck..!
PS: @ anonymous
If you do not care as much about her columns or books or whatever she has to write why do you even bother reading what she has written on her blog(even if you claim that you randomly came across the review). You think she writes junk – I think you should just mind your own business. Everyone has the freedom of speech /thought / and to express their views….

Now that I have said in many words what I could have in few, I will stop rambling..!

Anonymous said...

I have not got to see the movie, but i have heard it is not worth all the stars. But I really liked Abhay deol in Socha na tha.

Harish said...

lina since you have brought up the topic of the Pink Chaddi... i would like to inform all De's BlogDost's I have managed to collect 13 chaddi's as of now...

Guys do you know i have heard that the ram sena is going to roam around with sindoor, mangalsutra and rakhi around on valentines day. They will get any couple they find married or if they arnt a couple couple... they will be made bhai behen...

wow. how creative.

and we can oppose a creative expression with a creative punch.. wow.

for all those who feel appalled by teh way women are treated in this country... you could protest by sending soiled dirty dirt cheap pink cheddi's to ram sene.

for collection points you could visit


Please participate only and only if you feel that women shouldn't be molested and raped.


sheel said...

Common Sobha

It seems you are loosing your critical skills. You just cant criticize a story because its an old one.

Tell me.. Is this really an old story?

If you have seen the same Devdas, as and when it was made. or for that matter several hollywood movies that is made again and again. It seems people have learnt to appreciate hollywood movies just bcoz its exotic and criticize very good hindi movies just Bcoz.. "ghar ki murgi, dal barabar"

It seems you were occupied more towards what was happening towards your left and right in the theatre.

Watch it once again to appreciate the way movie is made. I can tell you enough reasons, why it is one of the best.. but go find it urself.

Pranaadhika Sinha Devburman - Bat said...

Dear Shobhaa

Youre smart, and rich. Youre also outspoken about things because you can afford to be , as a Mumbaiikar [which most people aren't aware of].

I loved reading Superstar India because it showed the truly smart side of you, the one that thinks.

Please, for the sake of the real love and respect that people like myself have for your smartness and proper writing, do not bother with film reviews.
Anurag Kashyap is a fantastic film maker and there will never be another quite like him.

Much love

@GirishMallya said...

Am reading your blog after a long time, it was losing its edge. This post was lot better, and have to agree with most of your views. But I would personally rate it as one of the best hindi films (definitely among modern hindi films, read 30 odd years).

Piper .. said...

I was wondering about your take on the 'Pink Chaddi" campaign as well. And here`s another petition link to stop moral policing. Do sign it as well, if you think its right.

Pritesh Patel said...

I thought 'Dev D' was text book perfect.

Anonymous said...

Guys, leave Shobhaaaaa-di alone :o)!

If she writes about socio-political issues, she is asked to shut up, because she destroyed her credibility by supporting Raj Thackeray.
If she writes a film review, you all lambast her!

What CAN she do now?

Kush said...

Well, I believe that Dev D is a story of today's youth. And a first of its kind and it rocks. Let me explain it this way:
There are some who are unable to appreciate the classic novel, The Catcher in the Rye. It takes a certain amount of waywardness and screwed-up-ness in life to understand and appreciate that book. Similar it is with Dev D.
Yes, we didn't need those angles and could-a done without them.
It is pointless to compare it with western classics. They are great movies, but this one coming from a Bollywood director and targetting Indian audiences certainly needs to be lauded. Now you can't compare Kashyap's Dev D with Martin Scorsese' Taxi Driver!?

This movie also in its mockery of Bhansali's Devdas says out loud that we don't need the likes of them and Karan-fucking-Johars and any of SRK's cult; that what today's youth would rave for is not three hours of bullshit melodrama but a visually stunning, psychedelic, megalomaniacal, colourful film noir based not in New York but in saddi dilli.

Seriously, I think its time for SRK to make a movie on similar lines as Sunset Boulevard. He is a more subdued and controlled version of the protagonist of this classic, Norma Desmond.

Bindu Nayar said...

At the onset..gr88 fan of your writing and thot u had this awesome goddammit hurts to say...that ibn interview screwed it up for ya somehow..not a good it ?

commin to Dev D...The world knows Devdas was a loser but the director wanted to showcase the movie in today's perspective...what's wrong with that ? i think the movie was good.. n Abhay deol has set a genre for himself..cheers to that

rupak said...

Ms De,
The movie was great. The scandals were not necessary but only added the extra angle to it.
When Mr. SRK came out with the devdas couple years ago... no one called it an overused idea. when an adaptation is made in a much better way, the concept is called overused. An altogether great watch. Not to be dared with family.

And people even dared bring their younger children to the halls even though the rating is a clear A. Grow up People.

Isha said...

I believe the movie was inspired from the english, mock up of shakespearean drama - Othello .. to just 'O'. Devdas migt be ghasaa peeta or whatever u said in hindi, but its still special its iconic. And its always thrilling to see a sexy indian dude like Imraan hasmi, scarred in the melodramas of lurveee. ;)

Fenil Seta said...

Hello! A very nice take on DEV D! My views almost matches yours! :) If possible, do read my take on DEV D as well:


Sujoy Bhattacharjee said...

Jodie Foster in Taxidriver is a totally different character with not even a remote connect with Kalki. And surely you were referring to Natalie Portman in Leon not "Lyon", where she DOES NOT play a slut.
And Mahie and Kalki overshadow Abhay Deol....this takes the cake.
Ms. De (or whoever ghost-wrote it for you), this is what happens with armchair-intellectualism and a tin-can for a brain.

|Ashwini Shenoy| |Advocatus Diaboli| |Rusty Writing| said...

I just bummped into your blog. i liked your review though i disagree with a couple of things. Here's where you can check my post on the same []