Top of the line star cast.
Bharat Shah's DEVDAS, directed by Sanjay Leela
Bhansali, is a saga of mammoth proportions, but
it lacks the power to stimulate, mesmerise,
captivate and enthral the viewer.
Son of an affluent zamindar, Devdas (Shah Rukh
Khan) opened his eyes to a world where wealth
dominated his existence. Indulged he was by his
lovely playmate Paro (Aishwarya Rai). It was a
special childhood and it seemed only Devdas and
Paro seemed to exist for each other.
The reverie was broken when elders sent Devdas
to London for education. When Devdas returned,
Paro's mother (Kiron Kher) proposed Devdas and
Paro's marriage. But it was met with
Heart-broken Paro entered into a chaste marriage
with a wealthy, much older man, Zamindar Bhuvan
(Vijayendra Ghatge), while a shattered Devdas
took refuge in anguish, alcoholism and
Chandramukhi (Madhuri Dixit), a stunning
Strange was the fate of Devdas. Intensely loved
by two women, who were never meant to be his.
One, whom he could never love and the other,
whom he could never stop loving…
DEVDAS, one of the keenly-awaited flicks of the
year, has finally released. And the hype and
hoopla associated with the film has translated
into tremendous craze for this mega venture.
However, unfortunately, all that shimmers in not
Innumerable directors have tackled the story of
two childhood lovers facing parental opposition,
going separate ways, yet loving each other. In
that respect, the story of DEVDAS holds no charm
or novelty for the cinegoer of today.
But the difference lies in the fact that the
person at the helm of affairs is none other than
Sanjay Leela Bhansali. A craftsman par
excellence. A great story-teller.
DEVDAS has the budget, the canvas, the mounting
that no Hindi film can boast of to date. The
opulent sets, the grandiose look, the mounting
and the ambience makes you gape in astonishment.
Technically too, the film is a superior product.
The shot execution, the sound quality and the
cinematography bowl your mind as you embark on a
journey that promises the world as far as
entertainment is concerned.
Bhansali also deserves bouquets for handling
several sequences with aplomb. The Kiron Kher –
Smita Jayakar fiery confrontation (first half)
deserves distinction marks. Ditto for the scene
between Madhuri Dixit and Milind Gunaji, when
the latter throws a challenge at her.
The Madhuri – Aishwarya confrontation and the
dramatic sequence soon after 'Dola Dola', when
Madhuri confronts Milind, are a few instances
that endorse the fact that Bhansali is amongst
the best in the business.
But the film lacks the grip in totality to keep
the viewer's attention arrested, which factually
was a strongpoint of Bhansali's previous effort
HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM. It is evident that
Bhansali has, this time, taken extra care to
make the frame look brilliant, but the
screenplay abounds in glitches and clich?
The first half has an enjoyable mix of light
moments and dramatic scenes and the interval
point raises the expectations of a better and
much bigger second half. But the post-interval
portions fail to hold your attention and there
are several reasons for it.
One, the Chunnilal track (Jackie Shroff) comes
as a major hindrance in the plot. Although his
significance is imperative in the script,
somehow you don't take to Chunnilal's character
and his presentation. He's been used as a mere
prop to further the story and the lines mouthed
by him grossly irritate.
Secondly, the sequences between Madhuri and SRK
are far from magical. Why does Madhuri fall in
love with SRK instantaneously, without any
reason whatsoever, baffles the viewer. Later,
Paro and Chandramukhi's friendship and making
them dance together ('Dola Re Dola') seems
Moreover, the second half is too lengthy and
needs to be trimmed by at least 20 minutes. The
'Sheeshe Se Sheesha Takraye' song, for instance,
was just not needed. Besides, the film moves at
a snail's pace in this half.
Most importantly, will a theme like this – a
tragic love story of yore – find flavour and
identification with the cinegoer of today and
more specifically with the youth and the hoi
polloi, remains a pertinent question while
watching the film.
Ismail Darbar's music gels well with the mood of
the film. Nusrat Badr's lyrics are lyrical gems.
Binod Pradhan's cinematography is dazzling.
Dialogues are brilliant at places. The sets,
props and the overall look deserve special
mention. Costumes and finery are exquisite.
And now to the performances!
Shah Rukh Khan excels in a couple of sequences,
but seems like replicating himself in the
others. Madhuri Dixit looks bewitching but lacks
the fire to carry off such a role. She goes
through her role mechanically. It is Aishwarya
Rai who steals the show with a performance that
takes you by surprise. She dominates the film
with a performance that is sure to win her
accolades. Jackie Shroff hams. Kiron Kher is
first-rate. Smita Jayakar is alright. Ananya, as
Devdas's scheming sister-in-law, is superb.
On the whole, DEVDAS belies the expectations
that one has from a film of this magnitude.
Expectedly, the much-hyped film has taken a
historic start all over, but it lacks in merits
and most importantly, repeat value, which is so
very vital to recover the colossal investment
that has gone into its making.