I was sold on the idea of this movie right from the time I saw the first trailers sometime in November last year. As promos and interviews by the actors and the director revealed more and more about the film, my excitement only grew. When the fateful first weekend of February finally arrived, I was sure of this; Dev. D may not impress everyone, but it would certainly shock them all.
Though I didn’t get a chance to watch it on the first day itself, the initial reviews suggested that Anurag Kashyap had finally struck a chord with the critics. This was a surprise as I had feared that Dev. D, like Kashyap’s previous effort, No Smoking, would be largely misunderstood. I was then determined not to let anything come in my way of watching this movie the next day.
But as fate would have it, watching Dev.D wasn’t going to be so easy after all. You see, Dev.D was not just a hit with the critics, the audiences had embraced it as their own too! Simply put it, the movie was running house-full shows wherever it was available.
After an unsuccessful attempt at securing seats for the 3 o’clock show at a standalone multiplex, my friends and I rushed to good ol’ Eros, only to be greeted by serpentine queues, the likes of which I had never witnessed at Eros. Thankfully, we managed to get a hold of 3 stall tickets for yet another house-full show.
What was noteworthy was that the audience compromised of people from all classes and walks of life, right from south Mumbai college students to the kinds you find whistling at Gaiety and Galaxy. ‘Emosional Atyachaar’ it seems had surpassed all barriers!
As Abhay Deol made his appearance on-screen for the first time, the crowd burst into a round of applause, whistles and cheers. Thereafter, clapping and cheering almost became a regular exercise after every stunning visual, every witty line and every peppy song.
And then came ‘Emotional Attyachar- The Brass Band Version’, which, seeing the way the audience sang along, should be called the Karaoke version! Dev.D, I’m sure wouldnt have been able to pull even half the crowd that it did, had it not been for this song.
That however, does not take anything away from the director Anurag Kashyap. He may not be the first one to remake a classic, but he has definitely redefined the way female sexuality and music are handled in Hindi cinema. By seamlessly synthesizing contemporary controversies with a fab multi-genre soundtrack (courtesy Amit Trivedi) and a cryptic, non-linear narration, Anurag Kashyap shows what a phenomenal talent he is.
Debutante Mahie Gill as Paro, delivers an honest and powerful performance. Regardless of what the future holds for her, she will always be remembered as the girl who bicycled to the fields with a mattress tied to the carrier.
The other new face, Kalki Koechlin who plays Lenny who later turns into Chanda effortlessly essays one of the most daring roles scripted in Bollywood. Her irreverant act as Chanda makes Tabu in Chandni Bar look like a Susheel Bhartiya Naari.
The star of the movie however, is undoubtedly Abhay Deol, who is also credited for conceptualizing the movie. It’s amazing how Abhay has gone from being “Sunny and Bobby’s Cousin” to the face of off-beat Bollywood in just a little over a year. Not once does he go over the top playing a role which he could have so easily hammed like SRK did in his outing as Devdas.
The other stars of this movie are Chunni, a new age pimp/drug peddler played by a very talented Dibyendu Bhattacharya and three brilliant dancers; Sinbad, Ammo and Jimi a.k.a. The Twilight Players, who give new life to the brilliant numbers ‘Saali Khushi’ and ‘Pardesi’. The camera-work and the set-design too are such that each scene makes for a poster-worthy still.
To review this movie would be redundant. It goes without saying that this is one of the most significant releases ever in Indian cinema. Take a bow Mr.Kashyap and Co!