After his wealthy family prohibits him from marrying the woman he is in love with, Devdas Mukherjee's life spirals further and further out of control as he takes up alcohol and a life of vice to numb the pain.
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Devdas Mukherji is black-listed by his multi-millionaire Zamindar father, Narayan. After completing 10 years of study; Devdas return to his home-town where his family prepares to welcome him but their happiness changes when Devdas prefers to visit his childhood sweetheart, Parvati alias Paro before paying respect to his mother. After so much years Devdas finds he is still the black spot in his father's life especially when he is prevented from marrying Paro who happen to be a lower-caste girl. Eventually time passes with Paro's family arranging her marriage to a much elderly man named Bhuvan Choudhry where she is introduce to Bhuvan's children - who happen to be within her age group. This sadness not only breaks Devdas heart but confines him to alcohol in a big way. Soon Devdas starts to frequent a brothel and catches the eyes of a courtesan named Chandramukhi - step by step Devdas starts to head towards a path of self destruction.Written by
DEVDAS recalls the Hollywood musicals of a long-ago era
DEVDAS (2002) is a beautifully mounted romantic melodrama based on a popular Indian novel published in 1917. When I first read about the film and its enthusiastic reception at Cannes, I had high hopes that this might become the first Bollywood film to cross over to arthouse audiences in the U.S. While watching it, however, it became clear that the class-conflict narrative would be a tough sell these days with its supremely overwrought tale of parental disapproval, family honor, unrequited love, and two beautiful women's complete and utter devotion to an irredeemably dissipated man who is left with nothing. It's also more deeply rooted in Hindi culture than the other Bollywood movies I've seen and would most benefit a viewer who had more than a passing knowledge of it.
In comparing DEVDAS to MOHABBATEIN (2000) and TAAL (1999), the other Bollywood musicals I've seen, I would cite a few Hollywood parallels. DEVDAS is like a Jeanette MacDonald-Nelson Eddy MGM musical of the 1930s (e.g. MAYTIME, 1937, with which it shares some surprising similarities) to MOHABBATEIN's SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS or TAAL's BYE BYE BIRDIE. (When I saw MOHABBATEIN I also thought of WEST SIDE STORY and GREASE.)
I enjoyed MOHABBATEIN and TAAL much more, but I was still gripped by DEVDAS and its high romantic expression of love through song, dance, and incredibly rich, poetic dialogue. It's a powerfully old-fashioned film, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
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