Dev-D…What a movie. No, it’s not futuristic. Instead, this movie depicts modern day love stories. Behavior of people like you and me who fall in love. And then manage to screw up their lives in a unique way. I was mesmerized by Dilip Kumar’s Devdas and I had cried (yes cried) through Shah Rukh Khan’s Devdas. This one, however, steals the cake for me because Abhay Deol’s concept is my concept. I thought I was done with “sentu” (Sentu- short form for sentimentality) stuff. It’s my way of dealing with downturns in life- Drink,
dope and die.
What made me watch this movie? You really want to know? My coworker, emailed me .mp3 file of X-Rated Version of “Emosional Atyachaar”. I haven’t been able to sing this song ever since without silently muttering lines like “Hai poora ka poora mind fuck yaar…tera emotional atyachaar” (Translation- Your emotional torture completely fucks my mind). A piece of advice: Don’t listen to it if you are not well educated in Hindi gaaliyan. By the way, why is it okay for people to abuse in English and not okay for people to abuse in Hindi? A person is “cool” if he abuses in English. A person is a bloody gawaar and ghaati if he abuses in Hindi.
The movie sticks to the basic story line of Devdas- Devdas and Paro are childhood friends. Devdas is a rich and misbehaved kid who is sent away to London by his father (fondly called “Sattu”). Dev returns back to Chandigarh, India after what seems like almost a century. He romances with Paro amidst sarso ke kheth and lots of hoopla (Older brother is getting married). Devdas manages to lose Paro and land up in Chanda’s (Chandramookhi) haveli.
The story line actually has a lot of “twists”- Devdas’ sis-in-law is no bitch. Devdas’ dad, Sattu, is quite a decent man himself. And for a change, he doesn’t hate Paro. And Paro’s a Jatt who doesn’t shy away from abusing men or admitting her sexual fantasies. Dev, on the other hand, is the biggest Male Chauvinist Pig (Long form for MCP) of all.
Paro’s character is probably my favorite. I liked her because her role explores the characteristics that define a modern woman. A woman who is strong enough to explore her own life and to break away from societal stereotypes. She is from a typical middle class family. She’s well educated (college topper, of course) and yeah, sexually frustrated. Only in India women are not allowed to be sexually frustrated. She doesn’t shy away from sending her long distance boyfriend a nude picture of her upper body. In fact, she has more balls than any man- she clicks her pic using a film roll camera, gets it developed at a film camera store, manages to ignore store owner’s perverted looks, goes to a cyber cafe (yes, they are still called cyber cafes in India), scans the image herself after abusing the cyber cafe guy and emails it to Dev. After Dev returns to Chandigarh, she asks her admirer, a servant of the house, his room keys- “Dev is back!” The servant of the house, unfortunately, professes his love for her. He manages to convince Dev that Paro is a top quality slut. Paro doesn’t look back and gets married right off the bat to a Punjabi guy who is rich and the father of two kids.
I fail to understand how men trust others more than their women. He dumps Paro and drinks and dopes to death (well, almost). Dev’s “friend”, Chunni babu (dressed in a green shirt and red tie), takes him to Chanda, who is actually quite young. An eighteen year old girl who helps guys get off over the phone by seductively talking and moaning in Tamil, English, French and Hindi. Chanda’s character is quite interesting- She is the famous woman who was involved in Delhi’s MMS scandal. Her mom kind of disowns her and her dad kills himself. With nowhere to go, she lands in a modern day brothel. She wears jeans and a tee shirt, rides a cool bike and goes to college when she’s not being a commercial sex worker (CSW).
Dev and Chanda actually fall in love and live happily ever after.
The reason I really like this film is because it celebrates womanhood- you can choose to be either Paro or Chanda. The director, Anurag Kashyap, explores different angles of a common woman’s life. He shows how women are actually much stronger than men in many ways. Paro moves on pretty quick. Dev doesn’t. He, in fact, chooses to meet Paro’s sister-in-law (who has a thing for him) to get back at Paro. He spies on Paro using telescopes. He calls her at 11 pm at night. And in a fit of emotion, tells her that he still loves her. Paro brings him back to Earth and shows him the reality- that he’s had his chance. Very briefly, the movie also talks about the importance of having safe sex. How it is never embarrassing to get yourself tested frequently and to request for a condom.
People make mistakes and they move on. Each experience makes you into the person you are. Oh, and our lives never come to a complete stop for anyone. We can always pick up the pieces and create a new mosaic. What society construes as acceptable in one part of the world might not be acceptable in some other part of the world, but this doesn’t make your truth or experience any less significant than mine.
Abhay Deol, as Dev-D, gives an outstanding performance. I haven’t seen any of his movies. This is my first. I really hope this won’t be my last Abhay Deol movie! He’s so different compared to his cousins. I also hope to see more of Kalki and Mahi Gill. Both were spectacular.