DevD has been hyped up with shower of praises on the lead Abhay Deol and director Anurag Kashyap, and once you immerse yourself into Anurag’s kitschy cinema, you’ll be a fan too. Dev D is a fresh and contemporary take on Sarat Chandra Chatterjee’s Devdas. The story revolves around a Chandigarh – Delhi drifter Abhay Deol who loses the plot of marrying childhood friend, and goes into descent with alcohol,, drugs, and whores to give him company in Delhi’s dark underbelly. Dev (played by Abhay Deol) comes back home to Chandigarh after graduating in London, all excited to conclude a long standing phone-sex relationship with Paro (debutant Mahi Gill), by getting into the sack, and marrying her. Things don’t go like he wanted to, and he goes in to a self-destructive phase, meets the hooker Chanda (debutant Kalki Koechlin), falls in love while still passing out each night.
The first half of the movie is brilliant, and engages you with its subtle humor, an impressive full-of-attitude performance by Mahi, and the very real description of Chandigarh and the wedding in the family. Little details like the guy puking after drinking a complete bottle of vodka, the need of a mattress for a romp session in the fields, and the crude language of the boys impress you, and sucks you into the story, like Kashyap wants you to. Mahi mainu nahi karna pyaar adds to the emotional overflow, the brilliant Yeh meri zindagi hai introduces Chanda in a beautiful cinematic way, and the kitschy Emosanal Atyachaar gets all the whistles in the theatre.
The second half, though enjoyable for Abhay Deol’s antics, the soulful Pardesi, and the plot twists, is a little longer than you would want. The story plunges into a never-ending loop with neon lights and vodka overload. It is clearly indulgent, slows down the flow, and aimed only to impress the audience with the brazenness. Blame it not on the script, but probably on the character of Devdas, the boring loser, as it was written.
The songs add to the narrative at each point, and makes for what otherwise would have been typical dialogues. The brilliance of the movie is not just the script or the audacious manner in which Kashyap sets up the characters’ actions and intentions, it is in the brilliant cinematography, screenplay, and art direction. A movie which impresses one on all these technical aspects, and has a wonderful music score (Amit Trivedi) would surely be rated high by critics. It’s an in-your-face and story, and there also would be people who wouldn’t like it for the same.
Abhay Deol emerges as the star, and after Manorma Six Feet Under and the recent Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye, is the scene stealer here. He’s given a fearless and a rare performance as the erratic drifter, you’ll remember him much after you’ve come out from the theatres. The clever story telling and the engaging narrative makes you stand up and applaud Anurag Kahsyap’s work. It’s a rare Hindi film, which impresses you with the cocksure concept, and an equally brilliant execution.