Monday, June 28, 2010

Devdas (1955)

Devdas 1955 film poster I have always contended that the key to making a palatable film from an unpalatable story is a good director, and Devdas is a good case in point. Its not my favourite story at best of times, but I decided to watch it just to see what Bimal Roy has done with it. While his version does nothing to reconcile me with my least favourite of fictional characters, it does leave me with the satisfaction of having watched a well-made film.
Devdas Mukherjee (?) is the spoilt younger son of a rich landowner (Murad). He runs wild in the village, making mischief and creating havoc in the school. His best friend/staunch ally is the younger Paro (Baby Naaz) whom he tries to bully all the time. But even at that tender age, Paro will not stand for it. When Devdas is in trouble at school and hides away in an orchard, Paro brings him food and refuses to give away his hideout to the grown-ups. But when he hits her for not fulfilling his unreasonable demands, she promptly gives him up to authority and he gets a thrashing!
Tired of Devdas’s unruly behaviour, his father packs him off to a boarding school in Calcutta. Devdas returns to the village occasionally, keeping his childhood friendship with Paro alive. The years fly by. Paro grows up to be a lovely young woman (Suchitra Sen), and Devdas, a handsome young man (Dilip Kumar). The two meet and inevitably fall in love in adulthood. Paro’s observant grandmother thinks the time is ripe for the two of them to be tied in wedlock. She broaches the subject with Devdas’s Maa (Pratima Devi), but his father firmly scotches any attempt to make a match between his son and “the daughter of a poor, lower caste Brahmin” (Devdas comes from a higher caste Brahmin family).
While Paro’s father is enraged by the Zamindar’s rebuff and resolves to marry his beautiful daughter into a richer family than the Mukherjees’, Paro is firmly resolved on marrying her love. She slips into Devdas’s room that night, assuring him that she cares nought for convention and parental authority. She loves him and will marry him in the teeth of opposition. Devdas, however, is made of more conventional stuff. He escorts her home and tries to talk his parents into arranging his marriage with Paro. When permission is firmly denied, he takes off for Calcutta in a huff. Poor Paro is left in a limbo, waiting for his answer to her daring proposal. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he then sends her a letter telling her that he doesn’t reciprocate her feelings and urging her to forget him!
The moment the letter is gone, Devdas is beset with doubts and regrets. He makes his way back to the village, but its already too late. Paro has received his letter. He pledges his love and promises to get his parents' consent, but Paro has had enough of his vacillating. His parents insulted hers, and now he’s insulted her! She’ll marry the man her parents have chosen for her (yay!) rather than this man whom she cannot depend upon. An enraged Devdas hits her with his staff to leave his mark on her face - the gesture of a spoilt child who, denied the toy he wants, would rather break it than let anyone else play with it!
Having indulged in his temper tantrum, Devdas once again retreats to Calcutta. But this time he knows that Paro is lost to him for keeps, and his pain threatens to overwhelm him. He had, on his previous visit, taken up with a dapper, alcoholic-about-town – Chunnilal (Motilal). Now, in his pain, he turns to Chunnilal for help. The latter introduces him to alcohol, and Chandramukhi (Vyjayanthimala) - a lovely courtesan. From there, Devdas’s self-destructive downward spiral begins.
Devdas hates Chandramukhi - he hates her profession, her kotha, and most of all, the fact that she is not Paro. Instead of being repulsed by his disapprobation, Chandramukhi is drawn to this bitter, angry young man (hmm… she should’ve been born in the 70s - she could’ve had her fill of angry young men then)! She extracts a promise from Chunnilal to bring Devdas over again. Nothing loath, Chunni Babu does. And so, Devdas begins to spend his time mooning over Paro in Chandramukhi’s company! His frequently expressed contempt for her surroundings, her customers, the trappings of her profession, and everything about her, prompts a major change in Chandramukhi. She gives up courtesaning (yes, I know that isn’t a word, but I refuse to use "prostituting"), bright clothes, beautiful jewellery, etc., and changes into Devdas’s devoted (and virtuous) slave practically overnight!
 
In her married home, Paro is also gearing up to compete in the saintly stakes. Her new husband is a very rich Zamindar, decades older than her, with grown up 'children' from a previous marriage. The wedding over, Paro takes off her wedding finery, and systematically goes about turning herself into a saint. She conciliates her angry step-daughter, earns the undying affections of her step-sons, devotes her time to taking care of everybody in the household, and in general, ascends to the highest planes of saintliness. The only time she descends to normal human feelings is when she gets news of her beloved Devdas whom she still loves wholeheartedly. Didn’t anybody give her the 'Handbook of the Aadarsh Bhaartiya Naari (ideal Indian woman)'? It states very clearly that a woman cannot entertain any feelings for a man that may be construed as adulterous. Funnily enough, her path to sainthood isn’t imperilled by this fatal sin.
Need I tell you what happens next? I’m sure most of you know what happens to Devdas, Paro and Chandramukhi, even if your knowledge came by way of the worst Devdas adaptation ever! Devdas comes over as a weak, spoilt and self-centered, man-child, and the film does nothing to explain why Chandramukhi loves him so! Paro’s feelings may be explained by her seeing in him her first crush and a man romantically going to the dogs for losing her, but what does Chandramukhi see in him? Is she perhaps a masochist? Does she like being upbraided for being exploited daily by rich men, and for living a life that she probably had no hand in choosing?
Considering how much I dislike the story (you didn’t realise that, did you?), there was still a lot to like in the film. My favourite part of the movie was young Devdas and Paro’s friendship. Baby Naaz and the actor playing young Devdas did a great job and their interactions were so close to that of real-life children. Plus, it sets the stage for what follows, showing up Devdas’s spoilt character and Paro’s unwillingness to be bullied or humbled. For the rest, the dramatics were uniformly understated, making it a very quiet sort of film, in spite of all the high drama (a man destroying himself for LOVE!) it incorporates. And the performances were mostly good, with only occasional lapses into hamming - something that all the three leads indulged in, at times! I usually love Suchitra Sen, but here it was Vyjayanthimala who was my favourite. She looked glowingly beautiful, danced very gracefully and was very sweet in the scenes where Chandramukhi takes care of Devdas. And to cap it all, the film comes framed in Kamal Bose’s lovely black and white cinematography which makes the simple sets a thing of beauty.
Considering that this is the most re-made/adapted story of all times in India (and Pakistan too!), comparisons with other adaptations are inevitable. Of all the Hindi versions I’ve seen, this one comes closest to the book, in spirit and in deed. I saw the 1936 version (starring the legendary K. L. Saigal as Devdas) as a kid and all I can recall is everybody’s sing-song dialogue-delivery and extremely theatrical acting. The Sanjay Leela Bhansali version had Shahrukh Khan essaying the role with less theatrics but with all the hamming he could possibly bring to the screen. Of course, my chief gripe with that version was that it squeezed out all the human warmth of the story and replaced it with glitter and glamour. Which brings me to the latest adaptation: Dev D. That does its bit to improve the story, but the artsy cinematography made my eyes ache. Give me the simple beauty of Bimal da’s black and white films, any day!

45 comments:

  1. Yes, This is perhaps the best adaptation of Devdas to this day. I too, loved Vyajayanthimala as Candramukhi. Though Suchitra Sen is beautiful, her accented Hindi is too irritating! And, Dilip Kumar is the best Devdas. Thumbs up for Motilal, too. And, lovely songs!
    Great post!!!

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  2. Bimal Roy's films are always a pleasure to watch, even when you don't always like the story, or plot. I hate the story of Devdas too.

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  3. Great Review, this is a film i have to revisit i saw it in my early days of bollywood fandom and couldn't really get into it as much, now that i'm familiar with all the actors and well versed in Hindi cinema i guess i'll see it differently.

    As far as Bimal Roy goes stay well away from his Biraj Bahu, its one of the most annoying films i've ever watched, of course taht doesn't take away from the LEGEND that he is

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  4. I haven't seen this version yet. I confess that my knowledge came by way of the worst Devdas adaptation ever! But I saw Devdas (1953) in Telugu few years ago, starring Nageswara Rao and Savitri and liked it better. Bimol Roy's version is due still.

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  5. Thanks for the excellent review, Bollyviewer!
    Now what can one say about Bimal Roy's Devdas? It has passed into the Hall of Fame of Indian Classics. As a kid, I did not understand it and even the songs I did not like. When I saw this movie as an adult, the feeling was totally different. Dilip Kumar has excelled himself in the role of the frustrated alcoholic lover, on the path of self-destruction. In fact, all the three names: Devdas, Paro, and Chandramukhi are universally known and are often used in proverbs and parodies. I still remember Dilip's dialogue: KAUN KAMBHAKHT JEENE KE LIYE PEETA HAI...where he gives went to his despair. As Dilip said: Devdas’s character was a child trapped in a man’s body. Of course, the stress compelled him to see a shrink whereafter he refused PYAASA and did some comic roles for a change. Vyjayantimala had turned down her Filmfare Award of the Best Supporting Actress stating that she was the heroine of the movie. Dilip Kumar was to perform the hat-trick, winning the Best Actor Award for DEVDAS, AZAAD and NAYA DAUR. There were other Awards for the movie as well.

    In a film function Shahrukh Khan had the blessings of Dilip and Saira for his role in the newer version of Devdas. It stands to his credit that he dared do Devdas. From 1955 onwards, no one else dared to do that role. Some disguised roles were attempted that’s all. But Shahrukh had to resort to Bacardi during the shoot. When someone asked Vy about the two roles, she said that Dilip Kumar acted as Devdas, while Shahrukh acted as himself!

    My favourite songs are: MITWA NAHIN AAYE by Talat Mehmood, where Dilip looks so very frustrated that it requires courage to watch him, just as one requires courage to watch the Mashal role of HEY BHAAY.....! I also like O JAANEWAALE ...What a beautiful piece of string instruments it contains. Perhaps the most popular among the songs there was TUU JISE QABOOL KARLE. Rafi Sahaab had just one song: MANZIL KI CHAAH ME.N; while O PANCHHI, I remember, was filmed on the childhood characters of Devdas and Paro.

    O there are so many things to talk about when one talks about DEVDAS!

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  6. Sharmi, Suchitra's rather stagey dialogue-delivery was a lot worse than her accent! She was so much better in her later Hindi films, though she was never too comfortable in Hindi, I think.

    Banno, good to know I am in good company when I hate Devdas! :D

    bollywooddeewana, Biraj Bahu is also based on a Sharat Chandra novel. So its bound be full of women raring to martyr themselves over idiotic males! I hope I remember your warning, because I am quite likely to pick up a film based on Bimal Roy's direction.

    sunheriyaadein, I wish I could understand why this story is so popular! Its been remade in so many languages and so often!!!

    Nasir, Dilip is certainly the best Devdas I've seen so far, but I thought his acting was pretty hammy in parts. Interestingly enough, I thought that his most famous dialogue from this film (the one that you mention, too) - Kaun kambakht bardaasht karne ke liye peeta hai, main to is liye peeta hoon ki saans le sakoon - was very close to Shahrukh's 'acting' in his role as Devdas!

    The songs were lovely, but except for Aan milo aan milo and Jise tu qabool kar le, they didn't make much of an impression. Its clearly not one of S. D. Burman's popular soundtracks.

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  7. Oh, and weren't Pran and Johnny Walker in cameos here, as two drunks who come to Chandramukhi's kotha?

    I must admit that this and the 2002 version (eeeeekkkk!!!) are the only ones I've seen till now. And this one wins hands down when it comes to that competition, at least. I'm with you, by the way, on hating Devdas. What a .....!

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  8. They were, and they even made a guest appearance in the last screencap of my post!

    More for the "I Hate Devdas" band? We should make a facebook group so we can all stop feeling outnumbered by his fans! ;D

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  9. @Bollyviewer: Of course, I don't remember the exact wordings of that dialogue after so many decades. Maybe the dialogue was the same as you mentioned for Shah Rukh Khan.

    Yes, as you mention, the songs are not upto the S.D.'s standards. But they are so relevant to the story.

    As you know, the important difference in the two versions is that the filmy one where Chandramukhi meets Paro and actually they dance on the occasion of the festival; whereas in the previous one they don't meet. Not to speak of the costly sets, jewelleries, dresses, and opulent sets used in the latter version. The most annoying thing in my opinion was the Chunilal's role played by Jackie Shroff, with sort of sing-song dialogue delivery; whereas Motilal's Chunilal looks so realistic.

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  10. As a film, this version of Bimal Roy makes the best of a very irritating story, but the music of the 1935 one is truly outstanding.

    Saigal's version maybe too much in the 1930's style, but am so glad that it got made, for the following:

    -Babul mora naihar chhoota hi jaye (one of the best songs ever in hindi cinema for me- and that is saying a lot, I know)...although the version for the record accompanying the movie is much better than that from the movie itself.

    -Balam aayo baso mere man mein
    -Dukh ke ab din beetat nahin

    I will even put up with Devdas story for such gems, just MHO.

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  11. Nasir, I wasn't referring to the words of the dialogue but the style in which they were delivered by Dilip Saab and SRK. I thought that Dilip Kumar was hamming it up big time, in that scene.

    The latest Devdas is annoying in so many levels that its impossible to pin down in a few words! The only reason I enjoyed watching it was because I saw it on DVD with a large group of friends. We had a lot of fun laughing at the general hamminess, and Kiron Kher's Punjabi accented Bengali dialogues that were inserted rather inappropriately.

    bawa, the songs in Saigal's Devdas are classics, for sure. I must admit though, oldies fan that I am, I've never been able to acquire a taste for Saigal's singing. So the beauty of his Devdas soundtrack is largely lost upon me.

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  12. I'd love to see this for Motilal and Suchitra Sen, not being much of a fan of the story like you. Your review is so comprehensive and entertaining that I feel I can hold off watching it a little bit longer- something that's happened before via ur blog! thanks!

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  13. Shweta, thats what blogs are for - to save others 2+ hours! ;D

    If you must see Devdas (not an adaptation) this is your best bet - and you can't have a better reason to watch than Motilal and Suchitra Sen! :D

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  14. bawa--I like "baabul mora" too, immensely. I've heard some other people sing it but I like K.L. Saigal's rendition best. I didn't realize it was from Devdas 1935.

    Bollyviewer-- Madhuri Dixit's Kathak pieces were fab and I'm also a big fan of Vyjayantimala. Don't think I will like the story--haven't been able to sit through the SRK one in its entirety. The lure, if I watch it though will be Bimal Roy.

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  15. I read your post with great care and interest. Bimal Roy's Devdas is one of those movies that I suspect I will see one day out of a sense of duty, but I am not at all looking forward to it.

    Like you, I *despised* the execrable Bhansali version, and while some of what I despised about it was Bhansali's excess and awful direction, I also just plain don't like the story. At the same time, I have read before - and again here - that Roy is more faithful to the novel. Whether that means I'll like the movie less or more I can't say! Also I don't really like Dilip Kumar any more than I like Shah Rukh Khan. So.

    But as I said, I do feel a responsibility, especially as an outsider, to watch this movie and try to understand its context and appeal.

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  16. Saw *this* Devdas last year, and quite liked it. Dilip Kumar holds the distinction of being the only actor to make me feel even 1% sorry for Dev. Really liked the emphasis on the bit where he knew once he sent the letters that he shouldn't have, but hated the character's lack of confidence and/or will to do anything about it but whine. Oh, well. At least Devdas films tend to bring out some great music.

    I have yet to see the Saigal version, theatrics and all. Thanks for your comments there. :)

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  17. Since we are talking about films based on Sarat Chandra novels, I was wondering if you have seen "Swami". I saw it on DVD again last night and really enjoyed it for the direction, beautiful Bengal countryside, songs, Shabana's lovely Bengal cotton sarees (also the bengali style of wearing sarees), Shashi Kala's role. Khusboo is another Sarat Chandra novel - the film was by Gulzar and it has some lovely music by RD Burman. I think we did have a chat about this earlier. Basu Chatterjee was a good film maker. Some of his good films include - Khatta Meeta, Chitchor, Swami, Priyatama (Neetu Singh & Jeetendra), Choti Si Baat etc

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  18. Swami's songs include : Pal Bar Mein yeh kya ho gaya, woh mein gayi woh man gaya by Lata, Ka Karu Sajani aayena Balam by Yesudas, Yadoen mein woh, sapno mein woh by Kishore and another lovely duet by Asha & Suresh Wadkar - ghar jayegi - filmed on Hema and Dharam and includes a nautanki with false horses

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  19. bawa, I just checked. Babul mora is from Street Singer. Nice song anyway composed by the deposed nawab, Wajid Ali Shah.

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  20. sophy, I didn't much care for Madhuri's dancing in Devdas - she is capable of much better dancing and has done it in earlier movies and stage performances. Unlike Madhuri, Vyjayanthimala is not a Kathak dancer, and it shows in her dancing, but she is so graceful and charming that it doesn't matter a whole lot!

    And thanks for that info about Babul mora naihar chhooto jaye. I had no idea that was Wajid Ali Shah's writing.

    Filmi Geek, I can completely understand your sentiments - I watched this one last Sunday, after a lifetime of avoiding Devdas, and only because it was made by Bimal Roy. If you dislike the story (as I do!) you won't like the movie any better for being more faithful to the book, but you may like it because it is a very well made film.

    theBollywoodFan, Dilip Kumar was pretty believable as the spineless Devdas. If I was ever going to be sorry for any Devdas it would be this one, though I am usually of the opinion that the only good thing Devdas ever did was to self destruct and leave the world a better place without him! :D

    Filmbuff, I've seen Swami a very long time ago. Its there in my to-watch pile so I should get it to it sometime. Didn't realise that it had all those great songs in it. I only remembered Ka karu sajni.

    I love Khushboo in spite of not liking the story too much - that happens to me with all Gulzar films! And I love Basu Chatterji's films, too. He made another Sharat Chandra adaptation - Apne Paraye - also with Shabana Azmi.

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  21. Yes I have heard of Apne Paraye but haven't seen it. I have seen only lovely song on DVD - Shyam Rang Ranga Ra Har Pal Mera Re" Amol Palekar, Shabana and a bunch of kids - seems to be a family story.

    BTW, both Shabana and Girish karnad did a great job in Swami

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  22. Ouch, I missed that last screen cap! I guess I was just so absorbed in reading what you'd written, I stopped paying attention to the pictures. *blush*

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  23. The SWami DVD also has Mahes Bhatt's "Saransh" and Shyam Benegal's "Mammo". Both these are excellent movies. A young Anupam Kher portrayed the role of an old father very well in Saaransh - it also had a touching story (humane). Farida Jalal was superb in Mammo. Again it is a touching humane story reflecting the after effects of partition (note the story is not set in the partition days). I would strongly recommend these two movies if you haven't seen them already.

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  24. Filmbuff, Apne Paraye is a family story about misunderstandings in a joint family. I remember liking it a lot when I saw it, years ago.

    Saransh got a big build up on DoorDarshan and even though I saw it more than two decades ago, I remember it pretty well. Mammo is in my to-watch pile because I pick up any movie directed by Shyam Benegal! I know its a pretty touching story of the human cost of partition and haven't yet worked up the courage to watch it.

    dustedoff, Devdas does seem to have that effect on people - women, mostly! ;-)

    bawa and sophy, looking for K. L. Saigal on youtube, I found the videos of one Dr. Sangeeta Nerurkar singing Saigal songs - very VERY beautifully! If you haven't already seen them, here's her rendition of Gham diye mustakill - its amazing.

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  25. Do you have an email address to discuss movies that you haven't reviewed here?

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  26. Bollyviewer, yes, I like Sangeeta Nerurkar's "babul mora" too. She's very confident and a good copy. About Wajid Ali Shah, Satyajit Ray was so good at casting-- Amjad Khan in Shatranj ke khilari really does look like Wajid. I'll have to see the movie again but I think this might have been Amjad's best role outside of Gabbar Singh. It will be nice to hear your take if you review the movie.

    About Madhuri Dixit, I haven't seen her in anything other than Devdas. I like the dancing eyebrows in "kahe chhed"

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  27. Filmbuff, you can contact me at bollyviewer_at_gmail_dot_com. Would love to hear from you!

    sophy, Shatranj Ke Khiladi was certainly Amjad Khan's best film - his performance was superb. Who'd have thought "Gabbar Singh" could express anguish so subtly and believably, and without any loud dialogues! When I saw Wajid Ali Shah's portrait, I realised that Ray must have cast him because of his looks. I've been meaning to write up that film, but so far I haven't been able to get beyond gushing over it!

    Madhuri's dancing in Devdas was very filmi, and she looked like she was too weighed down by her heavy costume and jewels to move much! I once saw a stage performance of hers on TV (it was for some awards function, if I recall correctly), where she did very good Kathak (NOT the filmi kind!). Even her filmi dances earlier on were so much better - just see how fluidly she moves in Chane ke khet mein.

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  28. This is an ever green movie and even its dubbed in many languages.

    But this movie made a buzz in Telugu Cinema industry.

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  29. Since everybody hates the Sanjay Leela Bhansali version, I feel I have to say a few words in its defense.

    Say what you will about SRK in the thankless title role--I'm not sure any approach will make this character fully sympathetic. After all, Devdas is callous, abusive, self-pitying, and self-destructive. Given those elements, going operatic makes as much sense as any other approach (someone underplaying the role would have gotten lost in SLB's outrageously lush visuals).

    But what makes the 2002 version so special for me is Ismail Darber's music, and the way that the songs are so carefully woven into the narrative. In fact, the songs convey absolutely crucial information, particularly in the sequence "Bairi Piya," "Morey Piya," and "Kahe Chhed Mohe." Then there's the astounding dancing of Madhuri and Aishwarya--not to mention how mind-boggling SLB's picturizations are.

    Devdas was the second Bollywood film we saw, and we were mesmerized by it (I realize that we're in a distinct minority). I know it's a film that people love to hate; but it's so obviously a labor of love for everyone involved that I just can't share that disdain.

    Bimal Roy is, of course, one of the greatest directors of not only Indian, but world cinema. I do, though, feel that the story of Devdas requires larger-than-life emotions, something that the SLB version provides.

    Give me a moment to get under cover, and then you can start throwing things!

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  30. Very good arguments in defence of Bhansali's Devdas Pessimisissimo! I have only seen Bhansali's version and while i do feel that he has OTT in some aspects, i agree with you about needing this kind of direction to digest a story like Devdas. I think the original Devdas versions - what ever the language ie telugu or bimal roy's hindi would have been too full of pathos.

    Bhansali's Devdas had awesome music by Darbar and of course the picturisations were good too.

    Bollyviewer, thanks for the eaddress. will send you an email

    cheers

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  31. Beauty Tips, I had no idea that Devdas was dubbed in other languages. I thought everybody made their own! :D

    Pessimisissimo, that is certainly a great way to look at SLB's Devdas, and I am sure you are not in a minority in loving the film (all my SRK-loving friends adore it). I might have been less critical of it if I could bring myself to like the songs, or even the picturisation. I just found all that opulence very oppressive (I disliked Jodha Akbar for the same reason)! Plus, while I'm no thrifty soul, all that money spent on prettying up my least favorite tale does feel like extravagance on a grand scale. But I AM glad that somebody appreciates SLB's labor of love while so many of us don't! :D

    Filmbuff if you are interested in Devdas screen adaptations, you really should watch this...

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  32. I exactly have the same emotions for Devdas like you.
    And I saw the movie few years back again, but was not really very much enthusiastic about it.
    The best part of the film was Dilip's drunkenness, Vyjayanthimala's dancing and the song 'aan milo' song.
    Everything else was lost on me.
    I think that Devdas could have become a scathing commentary on the caste system and the society's failings, but it doesn't!
    But I am still curious of Saigal's Devdas. The only good thing btw of Bhansali's Devdas were the dances, everything else was overboard

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  33. harvey, Dilip's drunkenness was hilarious. His first drunk scene was really hammy, but he improved as he went along "because of practise" (as my watchalong companion Gebruss put it!). And I agree that Devdas can be many things but it never is. WHY is it so enduringly popular in the public mind?

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  34. I think Devdas appeal, as a story, is in two things.
    1) Devdas is caught between tradition and his personal love. He isn't self-aware enough to balance these two aspects. It could be easy for others not in that position to ask him to have a spine. But, for people who intrisically believe that tradition is better than personal decisions, it is a hard struggle, and he took the coward's way out.
    2)Paro and Chandramukhi have less freedom about what they can do outside the society dictates. But I think they admirably bear their cross. While they may not be particularly liberating role models, they are still willing to walk the walk rather than being escapists (like Devdas).

    I like the Telugu version the best. The SLB version's major flaw is not understanding the subtleties of the story and leaving the audience unmoved. I think the meeting of Paro and Chandramukhi completely defeats the purpose of their struggles agianst love and social constraints. It somehow indicates that Devdas is someone great enough to be fought over rather than showing that Devdas was an instrument to make them realize they could be different than what they are bred/expected to be in their respective lives.

    Anyways, I don't particularly like tragedies.

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  35. Devdas comes across as a man caught between wanting Paro and not wanting her, not somebody caught between tradition and personal love! He likes her well enough until she declares her love - then he does not want her. But the moment he decisively breaks up with her, he wants her again - very much like a child wanting a toy only when he cannot have it!

    The only tragedy about Devdas is that Paro AND Chandramukhi love that silly twit! As to Paro and Chandramukhi learning to want more from life after encountering Devdas, I'd like to think that it's because they must surely realise that life MUST hold something better than him in store for them! ;D

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  36. @Bollyviewer,

    Lol @ "silly twit". No disagreement there.

    I wrote above as "tradition" vs "love" because I consider this vacillation in Devdas is between his inherent prejudice against marrying someone poor and missing Paro as a person. He wants her but not at the cost of going against his family and his social status. It is too late by the time he makes up his mind.

    I try to be fair to Devdas because I hate him so much :). Especially, since he expects Paro to stick around even after his rejection.

    The only moral of the story is NOT to be like him :)

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  37. Hehe I must admit that I do not try to be fair to him, even though I dislike him so. The moral of the story, as far as I am concerned, is that the moment you see the faintest Devdas resemblance in a person, RUN!!!! :D

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  38. 'Babul mora naihar chhooto hi jaye'is not from KL Saigal's Devdas at all, but from his film'Street Singer'(1931.)
    It is an original thumri set to music in raag Bhairavi, by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh himself, composed under his takhallus (nom de plume) 'Akhtar Piya.'
    'Mora naihar' was a reference to his beloved kingdom, Awadh, which was taken away from him by force by the British E. I. Co.in 1856 and he was exiled to Metia Burj (Calcutta) where he died 30 years later.

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  39. v p singha, thanks for that aside on Wajid Ali Shah. If Satyajit Ray's depiction of him (Shatranj Ke Khiladi) was faithful to history, the Nawab was very keen on music and poetry. I did not know that he was exiled to Calcutta, though. By the way, one of the commentors above had already pointed out that Babul mora naihar is not from Devdas but Street Singer.

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  40. When the old producers, Musician, Directors, I mean like Bimal Roy Nausadji,S.D.Saheb (Burmandaji) and of course old actors will reborn?

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  41. We do have pretty good musicians and directors today too, but film making styles are so different now that I doubt that even a reborn Bimal da could recreate his 60s films today.

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  42. Hi Bollyviewer, I just wanted to let you know that I was inspired by some of your comments to write an appreciation of Devdas, and wanted to thank you!
    cheers!

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  43. I love your sardonic style of narration :)

    Do write about Aandhi sometime. Stumbled on your blog while searching on Suchitra Sen.

    Here is my version :)

    http://dimpsdawns.blogspot.in/2012/06/aandhi.html

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