Movie Review: DevD

DevD is not a movie for the prudes. Because it has an ‘A’ certificate, it is not a porn movie. It’s realistic. Despite knowing that DevD is modern day adaptation of Devdas, movie could hold me through all along. 🙂

Dev is a London-educated guy, who is in love with Paro, his childhood sweetheart. Dev is impudent to the core. His relationship with Paro does not work out, largely due to his fault. Paro, on the other hand, gives 100% to her relationship while she is at it. There are some hilarious instances that depict how far Paro can walk up for Dev. But she is certainly not in awe of Dev, she knows when to put him in place. Paro, after a rebuff from Dev, marries Bhuvan.

After Paro, comes in Chanda (chandramukhi). Chanda is regular rich kid until she gets into a MMS scandal. In a series of events that kick off after that, she finds herself abandoned. She continues her education, thanks to Chunni, but becomes a call girl by night. She brings alive all the fantasies for her customers that they might have come across in a Nancy Friday.

Chunni introduces Dev to Chanda. Why? Dev has loads of money thanks to his industrialist father. Dev seeks Paro again, who returns with unquestioned loyalty, yet Paro hasn’t lost her old spunk.

Dev is not your usual goody-two-shoes hero. His actions are not admirable and you don’t feel any sympathy for him. But he is not an anti-hero either. His plight to dungeons and relationship with Paro and Chanda is well-fleshed out. Both Paro and Chanda have been portrayed with flair, independence and dignity. :possible spoiler: Unlike Dev, she hasn’t been going through any emotional atyachar, she seems to have a good life with her Bhuvan. That is a masterstroke. :possible spoiler:

After you have watched the movie and introspect, you will laugh at Bhansali’s Devdas. Naah, this not to discredit Bhansali’ vision, only to credit Kashyap’s vision. To his credit, Anurag Kashyap has given his due to Bhansali. Chanda’s name in the movie is inspired after she watches Bhansali’s version of Devdas on television. Chunni’s character is interesting too, though Kashyap has used him mostly as a facilitator in the story.

I liked the movie because though in extremes, it was believable. I could believe a wayward, purposeless  guy’s search for love. I believe that no matter how bad our circumstances, we make our choices. Dev chose to be a recluse. Chanda chose to be a call girl. Paro chose to be with Bhuvan. All of them had it hard, but none were forced to make the choice. They made their choices of freewill. This is true for our lives too. 😦 Dark humor in the movie was a plus.

Abhay Deol and Mahi Gill (Paro) were good. Kalki Koechlin who played Chanda was ok. (Kalki, by the way, is also Anurag’s live-in girlfriend.)

As for music, I couldn’t take too much to emotional atyachar song. To me, it was a disconnector in the movie. Instead I liked Amit Trivedi’s rock Saali Khushi, Nayan Tarse, and Dhol yaara Dhol. There were actually many more tracks in the movie, about 18.

All in all, go for it. You would hate it only if you are a prude and blind to the truth that is all around you.

My rating: 3.5 (Nikhat Kazmi’s rating of 5 in TOI is overrated. I was curious to see Khalid Mohammed’s rating, for Aunrag has taken him to task in past. Alas, I coundn’t find it anywhere.)

Photo courtsey

45 Responses to “Movie Review: DevD”

  1. 1 Vikas Gupta February 13, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Good review, Thanks!

    I am not seeing movies for some time though!

    Glad you called in question Nikhat Kazmi’s ratings! She often goes overboard; also it is well known that she is a one-time plagiarist!

    Khalid vis-a-vis Dev is conspicuous by absence!

    BTW, I don’t like the new Hindu movie reviewer. I liked Zia Us Salam more! This new woman (can’t recall her name) reviewer with the Hindu even made factual errors in the review for Ghajini. My rejoinder was of course not published by the Hindu!

  2. 2 Vikas Gupta February 13, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Oh! I learnt a few new words too!

  3. 3 Poonam February 13, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    @VIkas: Which ones did you learn? atyachar? 😛

  4. 4 Dev February 13, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    I couldn’t have missed this movie…I was bang on target. First Day First Show (Reasons in next to next sentence)
    Hey! I think Mahi Gill did an excellent job for a debutant.
    And coincidently, I again get a movie that use my name!!
    (Thinking::Shouldn’t I go for a trademark) 😉
    DevD has done a really good job of showing us what India is actually culminating or rather maturing to. And poster of the movie are just awesome. Nice review. Keep up the good work lady.

  5. 5 Vikas Gupta February 13, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    @Poonam’s reply (which words):

    No not the Hindi phrase (I had thought about this phrase long ago).

    The words/phrases are prudes and ‘goody two shoes’! I knew of the first word but somehow I was unable to incorporate it in my usage; hopefully this time I am coerced enough.

    Years of preparation for the Civil S. Exam took its toll on me; otherwise me and dictionary were inseparable!

  6. 6 Chirag February 13, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Ok So, when you say 3.5 I get confused, I mean should I torrent it or watch in the movie hall 🙂 , BTW, last hindi movie I watched in movies hall was…….wait I can’t remember, shit, oops can’t say shit.

  7. 7 Poonam February 13, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    If you are patient sorts…watch it on DVD. You can stretch this rating to 4 , if you really want an excuse to watch in the theater. I wont rate more than this (not fair) or you will be disappointed due to expectation failure. 😛

    If you are a movie lover, love unconventional stuff, watch it in theater. Savour every moment and listen sound you hear in the movie.

  8. 8 Oxy February 13, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    U can’t even imagine how glad I am after reading this review. I can’t even explain. Ur style of reviewing is different than mine, I agree but u say it so damn straight that people wont be carrying any doubts in their mind when they end reading. “U will hate it if u r prude and blind to the truth around.” This sums it up perfectly.

    I do not wish to be preachy here but to be brutally honest, few lady friends of mine have refused to watch this because of misconception that it’s all about sex. And am glad that u (a lady) reviewed it. I never had imagined that such a day I would be defending a movie based on the fact that few ladies are refusing to watch it. Sorry, to bring in this incident here but it’s truth. I would also like you to read this article by a friend:

  9. 9 Biju Mathews February 13, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Your review is amazing!!

    Keep Blogging!

  10. 10 Reema February 13, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Hmm I will watch it once but on DVD

  11. 11 vimal February 13, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Khalid stopped writing in papers. Catch his review at PFC :

    Its 5 on 5 for me 😀 At no point in the movie, did I feel that I am being challenged as a viewer. Wonderfully scripted and executed. and yeah 18 songs, but again, it just gelled with the characters, scenes and the proceedings. It was more like a musical ! Will own a DVD of this for sure !

    Nice review, but how come only 3.5 when you havnt mentioned any of the flaws that you felt ? and what according to you didnt work in the movie?

  12. 12 Kirit Kiran February 14, 2009 at 1:25 am

    I have a question – where is the damn review? For starters, it is a film and not just a movie. There is a difference or I guess reviewing films has become somewhat a fad eh?

    Post a review, will ya?

  13. 13 devesh February 14, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    5 is wht it desrves…it’s been long since i saw such a great flick with awesome camera movements and chreography…despite most of us watching muvi knew whts going to happen next still ppl were gelled to the seat and laughing at scenes which were actually making them go shocked…DEVDAS since ages had been a character of pity and sympathy since ages….ppl used devdas for ppl who just ignore or rather quit any material happiness for which many cud go to any limits…MOVEON has become word of the day for most of us ….but this modern devd is a character who goes to extreme in both ways…now ppl will think twice before christening someone as devdas cause it shows guy has been f*cking uncountable girls…being high abt average all the time and living to the max although in negative sense…talking abt paro she somehow couldn’t prove her innocence and just as we can see her saying to that worker “TUMHE MAINE KABHI KUCH MANA KIYA HAI”….depicts her walking down a bit long even for strangers…dreams has no ends so she married bhuvan thinking i’ll derive pleasure out of this relationship… so no true love….
    music wise …bold scene wise i would agree nikhat to name it as a milestone for indian cinema muvi which raised the bar for indian cinema…
    WHeN LiFE tUrnS BitChy WaKe uP tHe DoG in you …

  14. 14 Ashish Gourav February 14, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    same here…well by watching three Hindi films in the recent times, I see a sudden birth of loud and outgoing female characters which was well played by Sri Devi in past.
    To be more precise
    analyze the characters of Kareena Kapoor in “Jab we Met”….Asin’s Portrayal of “Kalpana” in “Ghajaini”, and “paro” and “chanda” of this movie

  15. 15 Arpit February 14, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    i read the story in TOI … got 5 whopping stars….would love to watch it…..and the song its just too weird but still i liked it 😛

  16. 16 Smita February 15, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Am somehow still not convinced to watch this one 😦 not my kind of movie…

  17. 17 Amit February 15, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Guess I have to catch it up at home. I was looking forward to watching it. 😦

  18. 18 Sirop February 15, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    I would give it a 4 😉

    I love the fact that something different and new and well made, which is not escapist cinema is mainstream. I like.

    Good stuff!

  19. 19 Nikhil February 16, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Most ridiculous movie I’ve ever seen! Yeah, I had the misfortune of being dragged to see this movie in ah’bad… It was such a pathetic waste of time and money! Bah! 😀
    Is there negative rating? I’d give this a minus 2… 😀

  20. 20 arvind February 16, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    nice review ..
    dont know when i will see it though ..
    dont get time to see movies these days and too many movies get released these days 😦

  21. 21 Quirky Indian February 17, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Nice review…though I am not sure if “They made their choices of freewill”….definitely not in the case of Chanda, as she had no option left. Hers was actually the best defined sketch. Paro too had no options left – the only way she could avoid marrying Bhuvan was if Dev said yes.

    Dev was actually the only guy who, to some extent, made choices.


    Quirky Indian

  22. 22 Poonam Sharma February 17, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    @Vikas: I am glad that you could learn something from my frivolous review. 🙂 See Vimal’s comment about Khalid.

    @Oxy: GLad you liked the review. Yup, I read that article. It does bring out closet hypocrisy very well. I ahd written a long comemnt before this in my reply to you but I list it in UPS crash.

    @Biju Mathews, Reema: Let me know what you think when you watch the movie.

    @Vimal: I know Khalid stopped writing reviews. I read Vikran BHatt’s piece abotu ti in HT. THnaks for the link, I didnt know he was reviewing it for Anurag’s site though. 🙂

    I did not rate DevD higher than this, because I could not ignore the reaction of my companions. It was hugely morbid for them. 😦 I cna talk more about other recation, so I thought rating 4 will will give rise to expectation failure as I did with SM.

    @Kirit Kiran: I thought just putting dictionary (I am assuming you dont have it) meaning for review should be enough in your answer:

    Look at again; examine again
    Appraise critically
    Refresh one’s memory

    Take your pic, will ya?

    @Ashish Gourav: hmm..yup..charcers surely are evolving now…but Asin’s character in Ghajini was too good to be believed.

    @Arpit: At that rate, movie might be bit weird ot you too but its an A movie..are yuo an adult yet. Even I ahd to show my ID to get in.

    @Smita: Don’t restrict yourself by saying..’not my kind of movie’ Btw what makes you think so?

    @Amit: Does Manhattan has Indian movie halls? I am sure you guys use torrent?

    @Sirop: As I said to Chirag (in my previous comment), you could stretch it to 4. Yup, even the worse critic has to agree it WAS different.

    @Nikhil: Huh? YOu really mena it? I guess, to each, his own. 😦

    @Arvind: Me too, many movies are lying unwatched with me. Less time, a common grouse. 😦 Hope you can catch up with your movies soon.

    @Quirky Indian: I guess I made my point very clear in our email conversation.

    I stand by the belief that all chacraters made their own choice. Their circumstances explain their choices but do not justify it. But you are entitled to your opinion. 🙂

  23. 23 Vikas Gupta February 17, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    @Poonam’s reply, Khalid Mohamed, Vimal, Hindustant Times

    Yeah! Thanks. I saw it; Khalid quit HT in Jan says Wikipedia. It also says Khalid gave 5 star to only one film: SM!

    There is some controversy whether Khalid was sacked or he quit; and Big B and Amar Singh are also in picture. I did a preliminary research and landed on the Hoot story January 29, 2009. I am quoting the Hoot story.

    The latest in a string of senior editorial departures is Khalid Mohamed, the senior film critic and writer at Hindustan Times. Mohamed was fired from the post of national culture editor. He had anchored the entertainment pages of the daily from Mumbai and was responsible for the section called HT Cafe.

    Then the 2 comments say (excerpts):

    The story of what happened to KM is not straight. The official version is that he was asked to take a pay cut but refused, and quit. The unofficial version (floated by KM himself – we have it on good authority) is that Big B and his Chhota B (Amar Singh) got KM sacked. Why KM should float this rumour is not known — perhaps he thought it would make people think Big B was the vengeful no-gooder in this relationship. But it is KM who comes out looking bad. In this matter, all sympathies are with Big B because just how often KM used HT to write viscious things about Big B and other members of the B family is in black and white for all to see.

    Do get your facts right.. quit not sacked. He put in his papers a month back.

    If you are following Presstalk you will also know how HT is indiscriminately firing employees (even mocking and physically driving them out!)!

    P.S. : BTW, Presstalk even did a post on me because I irritated him!

  24. 24 Quirky Indian February 17, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Poonam, already replied to your mail! Yes, we both have differing views on this. Cheers.

  25. 25 nidhi February 17, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Hey Poonam,

    First, very good review. for all purposes, my piece can’t be called a review, just a critical analysis in literary terms for something that i was truly inspired by. and hence, the ‘definite spoiler’. 🙂

    then, I would, like an over-the-top Nikhat Kazmi, give the movie a 5 while still under the tide of emotions. but from a more sane vatage,the movie still deserves a 4, if only just for how grounded in today’s reality it is. don’t you think?

  26. 26 Critic February 17, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    I guess we all like movies which depict things that we cannot do in real life. If this argument is correct, then DevD is far from reality. Just two questions:

    a. Are the girls of such a loose character that they will run to sleep with a past lover, with just one phone call?

    b. Are the girls so crazy about having Sex before marriage, that they will f* anywhere (beginning of the movie)? I think girls are much more shy before marriage.

    c. If Dev was so rich, why the hell he was living like a Dog?

    Its a SICK movie. Rather suitable for ultra modern Indians with perverted minds.

  27. 27 Arpit February 17, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    nono………..i am 17 will turn 18 this june
    so i can only get the DVD 😛

  28. 29 Alice February 19, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    i louuuuvvveeee the movie… i love the pun and irony! the songs are amazing as well…

    its time Anurag Kashyap stoop up and took a bow or did an encore…!

  29. 30 Anil February 22, 2009 at 12:49 am

    Nice movie at least on technical levels. And no stupid over dramatic sequences unlike typical bollywood movies. My personal rating would be 4 as at several moments I felt direction would have been more tight- it lacked continuity at several points. And the car-crash scene, where Dev had a sudden reveleation of his mistakes, could have been better. Still worth a watch and refreshing. And finally, no rip off of some foreign movie (which most of indian director’s do)

  30. 31 Poonam Sharma February 24, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    @Vikas: Thank for your replies! I read every link you provided here. You are fast and resourceful, which is why I called you ‘nimble’ 😛

    @Quirky Indian: Never mind, it was a good discussion. 🙂

    @Nidhi: True, your was not a ‘review’.

    Yes, 4 would have been ok (as per me), but I couldn’t rate it for because my companion found it too morbid. I couldn’t ignore that so tried to give a balanced rating that doesnt disappoint the one who went to thatres after reading my review. 😀

    @Critic: Nothing you said is worth responding. I already wrote in my review taht movie is not for the ‘prudes’. Keep you moral ideas to yourself, or to where they are appreciated.

    @Arpit: Ok! I was just curious. 😛

    @Alice: Then you are one of my kind 🙂

    @Anil: See my answer to Nidhi above about my rating. And like you, I too feel that crash scene, which awakened Dev, could have been better. Thanks for your comment here on Visceral Observations!

  31. 32 critic February 26, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks Poonam for your comments!

    I am ‘critic’ and I tried to analyze the story of DevD in a rational manner, the way many others are doing here.

    Be a sport, appreciate different views and stop giving personal advices in a topic of discussion ( ~ “Keep you moral ideas to yourself, or to where they are appreciated”)

    Still, I appreciate your view and agree that it is not for ‘prudes’. At the same time, I would also like to subject the work to ‘Logic’, whether it is DevD or Omkara or Ramayana.



    • 33 Poonam Sharma February 26, 2009 at 3:38 pm

      Well, dear ‘critic’, YOU started it when you said in your previous comment:

      Rather suitable for ultra modern Indians with perverted minds.

      Which is why I asked to keep your ideas of morality, as evident by the questions raised by you in your previous comment, to yourself. Nothing pleases me more than crtiquing a movie’s pros and cons, if in right spirit.

      I respect different views and believe in free expression of speech, which is why your comment and others are still there.

  32. 34 critic February 26, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Well, we cannot clog your blog with a comment-reply-reply-reply-reply session 🙂

    ‘Perverted mind’ itself has nothing to do with morality. It just means that – “something that is perverted from a main stream thinking/ behaviour”. Whether it is good or bad is not the point here. I dont take it personal nor expect you to take it that way.

    To sum-up, I felt this way about Dev D – Show this movie to 1 billion Indians, not more than 1 million (0.001) would like it. I read at many places that Girls are afraid to watch it!

    I definitely dont think, you will delete my comment. Because, then your thought process would get caught into right & wrong, good & bad, proper & improper, etc., cycle.

    Happy blogging!

    Don’t ‘restrict yourself’ on account of clogging my space. Your ideas of morality are evident from your questions in your first comment. Your definaition of ‘perversion’ may have been impacted by that. I am glad that you concede that this movie is not for prudes.

    As for deleting comments, when I decide to delete any comments, I assure you I will never feel those hangups that you have suggested. I keep comments like yours here so that more people may be aware that such thoughts exist.

    • 35 critic February 26, 2009 at 4:43 pm

      I call it moral policing.

      Cant analyze a different view, if it is radically different? Analyze the words in my comments repeatedly and think about what I am trying to explain.

      As for deletion of comments – I cant do much….It would leave some pain in my shoulder 🙂

      Its so strange — ‘Freedom of expression’



  33. 36 Sree March 1, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Good review!! 😀
    This is one movie where I felt I didnt burn my pockets!! Could relate it with the stuff happening in our times!! Hmm..

  34. 37 Poonam March 13, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    @critic: Enough analysing done already…no more, Thank you! I hope you got what I meant to say.

    @Sree: Glad you liked it, Sree! I agree its the stuff happening with the times. 🙂

  35. 38 Ava March 14, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    I would definately rate it higher, more so because it is such an bravura effort, an attempt to break molds and ring in something new. Plus, it is very good cinema, very coherent and interesting. The songs were definately a huge plus, for the lyrics, music and picturisation. Fab ! I am glad you liked it.

    I didn’t rate it higher to balance out my companion’s reaction. My sister, in her own words, “it was her worst movie experience”> Some people find all the that debauchery and flickering dark screens bit psychedelic. But yes, I rate it high for bold portrayal of female characters, who knew their minds. Path breaking indeed. 😀
    BTw. Ava, Welcome to my blog! 😛

  36. 39 Man of Roma March 21, 2009 at 1:00 am

    Dear ‘Critic’,

    It seems that you first comment was not very rational, I’m sorry to say that. It was that of a person being disgusted about something he perceived as ‘sick’, which seems to me the opposite of any rationality or serene consideration.

    Thanks, man of roma, for taking up cudgels on my behalf 🙂

  37. 40 Ravinder Malik May 8, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    I do not completely agree with ur rating or review of the movie. i apologise but to u dont have to give away the story of the movie while reviewing. Also the sonf ’emotional atyachar’ is probbaly what keeps the viewer interested. this is one of the most phenomenonal use of a background score/song ever. The movie builds up by depicting the story from Paro’s and Chanda’s point of view and takes a final flight with the DevD part. he

  38. 41 Ravinder Malik May 8, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    I do not completely agree with ur rating or review of the movie. i apologise but to u dont have to give away the story of the movie while reviewing. Also the sonf ’emotional atyachar’ is probbaly what keeps the viewer interested. this is one of the most phenomenonal use of a background score/song ever. The movie builds up by depicting the story from Paro’s and Chanda’s point of view and takes a final flight with the DevD part.

  39. 42 Indian Homemaker September 18, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Both Paro and Chanda have been portrayed with flair, independence and dignity. :possible spoiler: Unlike Dev, she hasn’t been going through any emotional atyachar, she seems to have a good life with her Bhuvan. That is a masterstroke. :possible spoiler:

    I also reviewed this movie, because I loved it, and what you mentioned above is what I had loved the most. The masterstroke, felt like poetic justice and also seemed more real… most girls in India would move on in similar situations.

    And I agree that Dev was easy to imagine as a spoiled, ruined (well, almost) son of a rich man.

  40. 43 NKSingh November 4, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    it is fantastic movie. i have waathced four devdas. one and two totally tried to stick to the script and depicted bangali culture and restraind emotions whereas the third of Bhonasali was Mumbai version. It is north indian version especially punjabi culture. The orginality of the piicture is sthat it depicts a scenrio and culture which is realistic and direct in perception. It is a new product inpsipired by sharat but seen in Punjabi light. Beautifully enacted and photographed excellently without making us bored due to its fast pace. Nothing less than 5 rating out of 5.
    Prof NKSingh

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