Abhay Deol is one of the most talented young actors in Bollywood today – at least I think so having watched all of his films, except Ek Chalis Ki Last Local.
It would be interesting to see what kind of a spin, Deol and writer-director Anurag Kashyap (Black Friday, No Smoking) will give to Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyaya’s Devdas. Anurag Kashay is remaking Devdas, as DevD, set in contemporary India.
Bollywood has seen two adaptions of Devdas so far, Bimal Roy’s Devdas (1955) starring Dilip Kumar, and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas, starring Shahrukh Khan. The first was a straightforward adaptation of the novel, the second was a laborious adaption with nothing new to offer, on the whole.
Interesting enough, Shahrukh Khan did manage to portray the other facets of Devdas‘ character – his self-indulgence, confusion, and self-flagellation – that went beyond the conventional portrayal of Devdas, which glorifies him as a man who loved too much.
Abhay Deol seems to have a good understanding of the character as well. In his interviews, he has described Devdas as a spoilt, sulky brat, indulging his obsession and addictions. So its not just about love lost. Anurag Kashyap has written in his blog that, “It’s the story of the outcasts. People we give up on, because they are stubborn, because they refuse to conform and they don’t listen. They want to take their time figuring the rights from wrongs and in the process discover themselves. Like I always said, DevD is the story of self realization, self discovery, self destruction being one of the routes to it or the result of it.”
This I think is a very good interpretation of the book. Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyaya’s characters be it Devdas or Srikanta are people who are essentially bloody-minded and contrary. They are smart enough to know what is wrong with existing societal norms but are too confused about how to deal with it.
In Srikanta, Abhaya, one of the women in Srikant’s life who has a big influence on him says, “You think one thing, say one thing, and do another.” Sarat Chandra’s characters are people dissatisfied with the curent state of affairs but do not know who they are and what they want.
In DevD, Chandramukhi is a young student Leni (Kalki Koechlin) who is thrown out by her family after an MMS scandal in school. Leni stays with a pimp Chunni and is Chanda by night, a professional escort, while during the day she is Leni, a student.
DevD has 18 tracks, an eclectic mix of genres, very engaging.
DevD stars Abhay Deol, Mahi Gill as Paro, and Kalki Koechlin as Chanda. DevD has been written and directed by Anurag Kashyap.