From the sequence showing Dev come back for his lady love, and get caught alone with her.. to a sequence showing how he ends up on Chanda’s bed – Anurag Kashyap seamlessly paints the picture of Dev D. For most part of the 170 minute length, you sit enthralled at an amazingly updated contemporary take on Bollywood’s favourite deathwish character. Its is significant that I do not know where to start writing about this movie. Do I talk about some amazing character work by Abhay Deol, and the lady newcomers? Do I talk about how the story manages to mesh real life and fiction (take note Messrs. Mehra and Bhandarkar)? Do I talk about the amazing blend of music, madness and movie (take note Messrs. Mehra and Ghai)? Do I talk about the inventive camerawork, direction and plot (Take note Bollywood)?
It is sad that Dev D will not be as appreciated as it should – it showcases an India that people want to sweep under the carpet. You want to be taken seriously outside the country? This is the kind of movie that will make people stand up and take notice. Not insane excuses in the name of comedy and history like Mangal Pandey and CC2C. Remember that movie that everyone thinks is so awesome (read, such an awesome showcase of Indian poverty)? This is the movie that can change that.
There are a few shortcomings as Kashyap/Deol (Dev D is Deol’s concept! Respect!) attempt to update the story… but I am willing to forgive these transgressions given the sheer beauty of the 160 minutes before. There are some sequences that appear almost too randomly (what is with those 3 guys who keep standing around?) – but even these fall well within the overall mood of the film. Homage is paid to every single significant movie that could relate to this one (Trainspotting? Check. Requiem for a Dream? Check.), and even to Bhansali’s 3 hr screamfest. Mr. Bhansali? Want to make use of weird color schemes and funky camerawork? Take notes.
Anurag Kashyap has been making/working on movies that have fallen far outside the norm for a long time. There was the writing of ‘Satya’ (which I regard as RGV’s finest work).. followed by the inventiveness of ‘Kaun’. I’m ignoring the bunch of crap that follows in his writing (people need to make money, I guess), and centering on his direction. ‘Paanch’ never released, but from the 3 trailers I saw promised to unveil the dysfunction inherent to youth India. ‘Black Friday’ was one of the best movies to expose the underbelly of terrorism in India.. and ‘No Smoking’ was basically prepping for ‘Dev D’. I look forward to ‘Gulaal’, the trailer promises a nice convoluted concept anyway (‘Jack and Jill went up the hill, to fetch a pail of .. Bhosadika!’)
The sheer brilliance of Dev D is even more contrasting given the other recent movie set in Delhi (Delhi-6). Where one movie languorously introduces every single character and their great-grand-uncle on the maternal’s paternal side.. most characters in Dev D are not rubbed in your face for more than a minute. Most ideas are whipped past you, leaving you just enough time to enjoy them. And no, no song-and-dance about any major event in the movie. Except for the rocking and f*ckin’ amazing ‘Emosanal Atyachar’. The disconnect in Delhi-6’s movie and Delhi-6’s conclusion could not be more evident now, made worse by the fact that ‘Dev D’ uses Delhi. Which Delhi-6 could only ever refer to in name. The world of Dev, the characters, the dialogue, the scenes.. somehow I cannot imagine them happening anywhere else.
In short, must-must-must watch. Now.
‘Tauba tera jalwa, tauba tera pyaa-aar. Tera emosanal atyachaaa-aar.’