Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Shahrukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai, Jackie Shroff, Kiron Kher
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
Member Movie Reviews
Sarah J. from SMITHSBURG, MD
Reviewed on 3/8/2010...
This is a tragedy, but it is exceptionally well done. At least one scene in this movie will haunt me. This reminds me of a Shakespearean tragedy. So much pain, and so many moments when the chain of events could have been changed. If only.
I will definitely be seeking out this director, as well as the author who wrote the book that the movie was based on.
A divine reverie of emotion
S. Ferguson | 02/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"DEVDAS is an exceptional Indian movie you will want to see more than once. The superlative dancing, brilliant acting, luxurious costumes and magnificent scenery all contribute to this film's greatness. If there could be one word that describes this movie, according to its creator Sanjay Leela Bhansali, that word would be `emotion'. The film is a tone piece, a sustained study of emotions from beginning to end. The male star is Shahrukh Khan - yes, the most famous & loved man on the planet, adored by literally millions. Nicknamed SRK, Shahrukh is the consummate skilled actor whose magic takes you inside his heart. In the 1950's film `Rebel Without a Cause' James Dean showed us the anti-John Wayne hero who cries openly, displaying feelings of loving tenderness. SRK has this same genius. It is as if both men wear their nerves outside their skin, giving the audience entry to feelings we normally suppress. From beginning to end, the film `Devdas' is thick with intense emotions. Childhood sweethearts are forced to separate through the usual deadly sin of pride. Devdas, the hero played by Shahrukh Khan, with a single minded determination then proceeds to drink himself to death, drowning his sorrows in alcohol - ever tormented by suffering pain and guilt, the loss of his one true love. Life's one chance of happiness, lost.As most of you may know, alcoholics are anything but heroic; they are selfish cruel children, hurting any and all who love them. SRK has said that his character is spineless, with a mean streak. Only within the realm of Shahrukh's unique imagination and superior creative talents, does Devdas' stumbling, surrounded by beauty and love, down into degradation and narcissistic death become art. The two women mega-stars in this film are so famous in India that they don't even bother to print their names on the DVD. Aishwarya Rai (Ash), a former Miss World, has an exotic, delicate kind of doe-eyed gazelle beauty that becomes more mysterious the more you look at her. She plays the childhood sweetheart who is forced into a loveless marriage for money and social status. However in my opinion, it is the courtesan Chandramukti, played by Madhuri Dixit, who steals the show. Hopelessly and unconditionally in love with the wounded Devdas, Chandramukti's dancing is the perfection of ritualized desire and eroticism. A more classical beauty, Madhuri Dixit is a highly accomplished dancer. Her magical performances of an improvised form of Bharata Natyam are mesmerizing, enticing, and out of this world dazzling. Classical Indian dance follows a strict form, but - like a raga - that form is meant to be improvised within and has absorbed many influences. There are many, many forms of Bharata Natyam and you will notice some modern stylistic elements in the 'Devdas' choreography - and the music. Bharata Natyam is a form of yoga and the dancer must be more than skilled at the gestures and postures, which are the realization of intense feelings. The dance is intended to not only make the dancer 'One' with the higher frequencies, but also to draw the audience up into those realms.India has always understood that creation is the manifestation of desire. Desire lies at the Heart of all things. Desire, passion, feelings of love, loss and separation drive each and every one of us. It is our capacity to FEEL that will bring us Home. The film `Devdas' is a reverie of both human and divine emotion, feeling, and desire. Indulge.
One of my favorite Bollywood films
Nabih B. Bulos | Baltimore, MD USA | 06/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I must admit that I am a relative newscomer to the great realm of Bollywood, and so I shall refrain from commenting on such intricacies as the dance forms, the faithfulness to the original novel, etc...
What I can comment on, however, is the marvellous nature of this film. Sharukh Khan is excellent as Devdas, with his usual quivering bottom lip and shaking of the head schtick in full force here. He depicts the decline of this character (an anti-hero, with every meaning of the word) in a very dramatic yet believable fashion. Aishwarya Rai is, of course, absolutely gorgeous as the main love interest. The real star, however, is most certainly Madhuri, who in her depiction of Chandramukhi steals the show with little effort from the rest of the cast. Truly winning in her depiction of the courtesan who is blindingly devoted to Devdas (in spite of his, quite frankly, pathetic character) she is heartbreaking, and when she dances with Ms. Rai in the "Redola" dance (I hope I spelt that correctly) she is simply fantastic.
Perhaps not the most typical Bollywood movie out there, and a strange introduction to Bollywood I suppose, but an excellent one nonetheless. Highly recommended."
S. Mann | Gold Coast, Australia | 06/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"DEVDAS - India's Cleopatra July 17, 2002 by Sandi Mann (Australian)
**Quick synopsis: Childhood loves, Parvati (Paro) and Devdas, are reunited when he returns after 10 years abroad studying. Paro has kept a diya burning all that time as a symbol of their love.
Paro's mother suggests the sweethearts marry, but is scornfully rejected by Dev's mother, as Paro's family are of lower caste. Paro's mother is publicly humiliated and vows to marry Paro off within 7 days, to an older man much wealthier than the Mukherjees. Paro goes to Dev's room at 2am to seek a solution, but he vacillates. He writes her a letter saying to forget him and leaves home, shattered by his family's attitude. Paro agrees to marry the older man to respect family honour.
Dev meets up with his college pal, Chunnilal, who introduces him to the gorgeous courtesan, Chandramukhi. (and obviously a very financially successful one - judging by the golden `kotha') Dev realises his mistake and rushes back to Paro, but it's too late. Her wedding is already in progress.
He goes back to Chandramukhi who worships him, but he can't reciprocate, or forget Paro. He drowns himself in alcohol and when it's apparent his life is almost over, he keeps his promise to go and see Paro one more time**
ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH! Don't think because you saw DEVDAS once in cinema, you can make a reasonable judgment of this film. You will need to see it again and again to unfold the many layers, and appreciate each facet and nuance. Don't deprive yourself of that delight!
Some critics have suggested that the lavishness of the visuals distracts from the storyline and other elements...silly people! This just means you have to go back and see it again and again.
I saw beauty in every frame: a visual smorgasbord, eye candy everywhere you look. Even in the stark, sombre scene as Devdas lay dying, there was the softly falling bright red blossoms, and the lustrous, luxurious pearls. Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali said that this story had so much soul that it deserved the opulence and grandeur and I agree. If you take away the mindboggling spectacle, what are you left with? A soul-stirring story (written, incredibly, by 17 year old Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1901, but not published until 1917, because he didn't think it worthy) which DESERVES all that splendour.
Remember CLEOPATRA? In 1963, it was acclaimed as the costliest movie ever made. At $US40 million, taking inflation into account, it probably still is ... DEVDAS is India's Cleopatra.
With a movie of this magnitude, obviously you can't please everyone. Too much like the revered Bimal Roy version and SLB would be accused of copying, but being different from it, SLB was accused of changing too much!
Whether you like it or not, this is a movie for posterity. Its technical perfection will never be surpassed. Right from the first notes of the opening credits, you can tell ...This is ART in its highest form. Definitely a movie for grownups! You will get out of it, what you bring to it of yourself. So, if you don't feel the poetry and romance and majesty in your soul....? Don't blame Mr Bhansali...
Sets (Nitin Desai), choreography (Saroj Khan/Birju Maharaj), cinematography (Binod Pradhan), costumes (Abu-Sandeep, Neeta Lulla and Reeza Sharif) and music (Ismail Darbar) were all simply superb. I can't tell about the dialogues and this makes the storyline a bit hazy for me in places, also. But what means more to me is ambiance, atmosphere, mood ~ the soul of a movie, and this one has it BY THE WHEELBARROW LOAD! Repressed desires and thwarted passions simmer and seethe in emotionally charged scenes unequalled in eroticism and symbolism.
Was it a coincidence that after Devdas escorted Paro to her wedding, he forsook his former colourful "London-Returned" clothes and from then on, only wore simple white ethnic clothes. (the colour of death and mourning) This is in contrast to Bhuvan and Kali Babu with their colourful exotic clothes. Even Dev's father had that lovely colourful pashmina.
And in the ecstatic "DHOLA RE" everything in the scene was in the bridal colours of red and gold. Perhaps this symbolized the 2 "brides" of Devdas - Paro and Chandramukhi? How ironic that they were celebrating his life, at the same time as he was rejecting it.
Some western reviews from Cannes Film Festival said people (read: western people) walked out in disgust over the "vulgar display of extravagance"! To me, that was like trashing India's culture and heritage: grossly impolite, insulting and dare I say...ignorant! Typical ~ depravity, decadence, brutality and obscenity are more acceptable to the western mentality than beauty and splendour. This movie was made entirely for the meagre sum of less than $US12million...that wouldn't even pay for the lead actor in a US movie: now, THAT'S what I call obscene!
I was awestruck and humbled by the mammoth scale and sumptuous glory of the sets. As Paro ran through her mansion I was thinking, surely this can't be just a set built for a movie?...this must actually be somebody's home.
Paro's entrance was probably my favourite of her scenes - the focus on the diya made it seem that the symbol of their love was more important than she was... "My love, this lamp is you". Her hand movements then and in the dance that followed, Silsila Yeh Chaahat Ka were exquisite.
I understood Paro. She was vain, spoilt, selfish, wilful and a tease, but I believe she loved Dev. She wouldn't have befriended Chandramukhi otherwise, as that was a loving and selfless act, putting Dev's wellbeing above her own jealousy.
Another part which moved me to tears, was when the scar on Paro's forehead started to bleed, when Dev was coughing up blood in the train. It was kind of supernatural, like a psychic bond...it reminded me of ASOKA, where Arya and Kaurwaki were calling out to Pavan, Asoka gave a little start, as if he actually heard them. This is evidently a common theme in the mystical East, probably less so in the pragmatical West.
Great job, Ash! Swinging on a swing, holding hands with Shah Rukh, gazing adoringly into his eyes - how hard could that be? I know about 10 million girls who would love to be in your place...ISHSH!
Madhuri (as Chandramukhi) in the full flower of her beauty has never looked more exquisite, a Class Act. One of her costumes, a mindboggling creation weighing almost 20 kilos had to be redesigned so she could dance in it (without hurting herself!)
I understood Devdas. The "I'll show THEM" attitude...if I was denied what I valued most in life, I would try to show how little I valued that life. Very self-destructive! (But I swear the poor babe spilt more than he drank!) Seems like he was a bit of a pyromaniac, too.
There was criticism made of Shah Rukh's so-called stock expressions of quivering lip and shaking hands...but you can't tell me your hands wouldn't be shaking and your lips quivering under those circumstances? a slow and painful way to die, I would think: from the inside out.
Shah Rukh is definitely in his prime (I've been saying that since ASOKA, but he just keeps getting better) and just when you think he has reached the pinnacle of perfection in his craft, he surpasses even himself ~ his eloquent eyes searing his pain permanently into your heart. It constantly amazes me where he finds all that intensity, pain and rage within himself. Anguish, regret, depair, defeat: those luminous, limpid eyes tell it all. Nobody in Bollywood OR Hollywood can show pain quite like Our beloved Baadshah.
Some critics said Chalak Chalak was out of place (like Aa Tayer Hoja in ASOKA which I also loved) but to me it was a rousing, rollicking drinking song, joyous and playful, and one of the few times in the movie that Devdas had some fun...and who would want to deny him that?
Shah Rukh had already broken my heart with the Prime Minister's video (Kya Khoya, Kya Paaya)...what more damage could he do? But to see his chilling death scene in DEVDAS, his glazed eyes and lifeless body, was one of the most devastating scenes we are ever likely to see...this man is a Genius, and a certifiable Living Work of Art.
Just thinking back now to some of the highlights ..."SSSH! I said: I object!" to his father; "You are guilty and you will drink till death! No objection..."; the thorn in the foot by the waterfall scene; the settee burning; the wedding procession; all the scenes from the train journey to the end ---and, Oh! so many more! make me want to rush out and watch it again immediately.
Why did Devdas let himself be talked into that last fatal drink? He grabbed that drink so hungrily, like he was eager to embrace death. Devdas was dying anyway and nothing could save him. Even before he took that first drink, he was already dead inside.
Any negatives? Not really, it would just be nitpicking. Some of the lighting was a bit dark for me, and the opening scenes were unnecessarily long and irritatingly loud.
And maybe the hairstyles were just a little too contemporary: - the dry, dull lifeless look with wispy tendrils framing the face is a glaringly recent affectation. I'm sure in the 40's, hair would have been sleek and shiny and glamourous...that's it, really!
Dev's sister-in-law deserved her slap, as did Paro's (step) son-in-law...but I reckon Dev's mother could have done with one, too! And as for Dev's father....! Some dysfunctional family, na? I loved Paro's mother, she was a gutsy lady!
Comparison ARE odious, and comparisons with the Bimal Roy adaptation of Devdas could have been avoided if SLB had called it `Paro' or "Devdas & Paro" (based on the novel Devdas) Known to be the filmi hero most in touch with his feminine side, Shah Rukh would have no ego problems with this being regarded as a `chick flick'. He doesn't have to prove anything anymore - he will always be THE STAR of whatever movie is graced by his presence.
These changes would make it a perfect movie for me, but then it wouldn't be Sanjay Leela Benshali's vision - it would be mine!
Here's a brilliant idea - DEVDAS SHOULD BE DUBBED IN ENGLISH! As long as it was Shah Rukh's own rich husky voice...
Three hours go by so fast, it seems like three minutes and you don't want to leave that magical, long ago world...but with Devdas gone, what else is left?
In a 5 star rating system, 6 stars should be awarded exclusively to DEVDAS, because this movie is in a class of its own, without equal and we would be extremely fortunate to see another movie of this calibre in our lifetime...