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Transient Thoughts

Sunday, March 15, 2009

DevD

If I am not forgetting some other interesting film in the interim, and not counting full comedies, since these are mostly packed with jokes, and don't need nor contain a strong plot or 'deep' characterization, DevD for me is the best Hindi movie since Omkara. 'Luck by chance' also had a certain something, but that movie unfortunately was 'phony' in parts.

Two thumbs up to director Anurag Kashyap, as the film critic Rajiv Masand would say, for showing (or creating) an interesting facet of Delhi's dark side. The bar to which Chunni (a pimp in this version of Devdas) takes Dev when they first meet has a three-guy dance band. The point made, I suppose, is the audience in the bar is interested in the aesthetics, rather than the sexuality in the dance. This makes the audience self-indulgent (they are drinking and doing drugs) by choice rather than due to a weakness of character. Anyways, that's my interpretation. The dark side of Delhi, a world of alcohol, drugs and prostitutes, is not shown in a sordid light, but in a clean, colourful, Bohemian light. One certainly hopes it is so in reality.

I have always thought that one should be self-indulgent if one can afford it. There are some things to be said about a wasted youth. Especially if you stop wasting your youth while you still young. Like Dev does in this film. And especially if you have large family wealth to start life afresh with. Like Dev has in this film.

In the three hours or so, the passing of six-ten years is successfully conveyed. When towards the end, they show Dev sitting at a spot by a canal where he used to sit with Paro as a young adolescent, this 'much water has flown under the bridge' (there is a bridge near the canal, too, by the way) is hightened. But the fact that Dev is still young and can start a different phase of life afresh, is refreshing for a viewer like me, nearing thirty, who has the habit of thinking sometimes about how life has turned out since college, but still feeling young, fresh, optimistic and eager about new things to come, new things to do.

The film makes one feel happy to be alive. No computers, no offices figure in this movie. Sugarcane fields, marriage parties (with booze served) and lots of pubs and bars. A life richer and more varied than that in an IT city. I loved the scene where they show the closeup of a hen in a poultry farm, and then as they zoom out Dev and Paro are seen trying to start something in the far corner.

The music too is whacky and off the beaten track. Music by people who are serious about music but don't take it seriously. Emotional atyachaar is awesome.

Contrasting this film with Delhi-6, I could not stop myself giving negative points to the latter. While DevD shows a young, determined, willful Paro quarelling loudly with her father when he wants to get her married off to some guy, and then in her anger pumping at a borewell till it looked like it's handle would break, Delhi-6 shows the old sterotype of a tyrant father almost managing to get his daughther (who looks like a film star!) to a pot-bellied, baldish fellow.