No Smoking, released towards the end of 2007 was according to me the most under rated film of that year. Now Anurag Kashyap is back with a sling shot called Dev D, hitting everyone who doesn’t appreciate free spirited independent cinema.
What is it about a story that was written in 1917 that makes filmmakers re-imagine it in their own way generations after generations? Right from the most popular Bimal Roy’s version to Bhansali’s Devdas to Anurag’s Dev D the character is trying to redeem itself.
What Abhay Deol’s concept does is, it turns around the entire premise of Devdas & sets it in a contemporary setting. It is like what Baz Lahrmun did with Romeo & Juliet. One problem I had with the original story was the way it culminated and that is where the master stroke of Dev D scores. Vikramaditya Motwane & Anurag Kashyap’s screenplay is Sarat Chandra on an overdose. It is a treasure house of scenes which are truly remarkable and moments which will linger in your mind hours after the film has ended. It intoxicates your mind with so many visuals of alcohol & drugs that even a teetotaler will be reeling after the film ends. That’s the power of this audio-visual medium called Cinema. The screenplay demands a second viewing to get the finer nuances of it. Abhay Deol masters the act of the self destructive Dev so perfectly that it comes across as real. Mahie Gill churns out a live wire performance not seen on screen in the recent past. It reminded me of the performance of Anuradha Patel in Ijaazat & Smita Patil in Arth. Kalki bites into a role which none of the current crop of actors, seasoned or debut will ever think of doing in their wildest dreams. After being in the Industry for almost a decade Dibyendu Bhatacharya finally makes one notice his performance loud and clear. Whatever role he does in the future he will always be remembered as Chunni. It will take another strong role to break this tag.
The fresh new talent who takes this film to a different level altogether is Amit Trivedi. He is like oxygen to this film. His is what I call ‘the complete film soundtrack’. Every song fits into the narrative like a perfectly finished jigsaw puzzle. My favorite on screen song is Pardesi choreographed & performed by the Twilight Players. The Camera work of Rajeev Ravi makes Paharganj look like the Amsterdam of India. The fields of Punjab come across as refreshing as possible, even though we have seen it umpteen numbers of times.
Final few words: Missing Dev D would be an Emotional Attyachar to oneself.