Dev.D: Anurag Kashyap’s Contemporary Take On Classic Devdas.

Dev.D: Anurag Kashyap’s Contemporary Take On Classic Devdas.

Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s classic novel Devdas has been adapted for the silver screen by various directors. From legends like KL Sehgal, Dilip Kumar to Shahrukh Khan, they all played the character of Devdas and added their own respective touch to the character. Anurag Kashyap says he thinks Devdas is not just a man with a broken heart, it is now an adjective. 

Kashyap personally never liked Devdas the original book. However, something changed when Abhay Deol told Kashyap about a sequence where he saw a man after a breakup in an American club,  drinking glasses after glasses. Abhay Deol suggested they should come up with a modern version of Devdas set in the US. Kashyap liked the idea but he wanted to set this film in India and this became the basis of modern Devdas. As Kashyap didn’t like the book itself, he told Vikramaditya Motwane to make a screenplay out of the book. 

 Devdas is a classic because it tells us about the society of the late 19th and early 20th century, the caste and class discrimination and in the middle of these, there is a tragic love triangle affected by all the factors. Kashyap also modified the first draft presented by Vikramaditya Motwane with a contemporary touch in it. In the film, we can clearly see some plots were inspired from the contemporary news of that time. For example, the back story of Chanda we see in the film is inspired from the DPS MMS scandal of 2004, and the scene where Dev runs his BMW over some people sleeping on a footpath was inspired from the Sanjeev Nanda Hit and Run case of 1999. 


What Makes It Different But Still Resonates With Devdas Image?


Kashyap says he wanted to make a film about the youth and how the youth sees men-women relationships. From the very first scene, we can sense that this film is not a usual replica of Devdas. Here in the film, Paro and Dev share intimacy online. The film is set in Punjab and Delhi, so the dialogues and linguistics of the film are pretty raw and contemporary, which is quite contrary to the sophisticated dialogues we see in PC Barua, Bimal Roy, and Sanjay Leela Bansali’s Devdas


The caste and class divide was a prime factor that separated Dev from Paro but in Kashyap’s Dev.D, it was absent. Rather, Kashyap explores the human insecurities and mistrust in relationships to do the same. Kashyap kept the film episodic where first, we are exposed to the character of Paro then Chanda, and finally to Dev. What makes this unique is that all these characters are vulnerable and Chanda comes out to be the stronger character in comparison to Paro. We all know the classic controversy that Vajaiyanti Mala refused to take the Filmfare Award For Best Supporting Actress for her role of Chandramukhi in Bimal Roy’s Devdas. Because she thought that Chandramukhi was as powerful and important as Paro. 


What we see in Dev.D is that Dev finally settles with Chanda and does not die as originally written in the Book. Kashyap said in the film's promotion interview, that the film is about second chances and this we see as the film ends. We see references of Sanjay Leela Bansali’s Devdas many times, it is shown that the Chanda is inspired from the character of Chandramukhi of Devdas.

Dev.D: Anurag Kashyap’s Contemporary Take On Classic Devdas.

Reference of Devdas in Dev.D. (Pic Credit- UTV Pictures)

The other thing which made this film a unique and trademark Kashyap product is the use of light in its cinematography. There are different shades of light to display different emotions in the film. There is a  yellowish tone in the film to show the intimacy and warmth in the character. The color's shades of blue and green are used to display the destruction of the character of Dev while drug abusing. Pink shade in the film shows compassion associated with Chanda with whom Dev finally finds his love.

Dev.D: Anurag Kashyap’s Contemporary Take On Classic Devdas.

The colour pink is associated with Chanda. (Pic Credits- UTV Pictures)

Dev.D: Anurag Kashyap’s Contemporary Take On Classic Devdas.

Dev.D: Anurag Kashyap’s Contemporary Take On Classic Devdas.

Use of blue and green for showing drug abuse. (Pic Credits- UTV Pictures)

The film’s cinematography has a surreal touch to it, especially in the second half.  The way cinematographer Rajeev Ravi captured the neon lights and alcohol clubs in dark streets is just amazing. The film won the Filmfare Award for Best Cinematography of that year. Anurag used a special camera to shoot the self-destruction scenes of Dev in the Pardesi song sequence and to shoot the point of vision angle of Dev. 

Dev.D: Anurag Kashyap’s Contemporary Take On Classic Devdas.

Point of Vision shot. Pic Credits - UTV Pictures.

The other backbone of the film was its National Award-winning soundtrack by Amit Trivedi. Emotional Atyachar and Pardesi were the chartbusters of that year. The film had 18 tracks with Punjab and Haryanvi regional music touch. Every song of the film shows the mental and psychological situation of the characters and actually drives the film forward. This was the first film for Amit Trivedi as a composer. The film also used The Twilight Players in a unique way. It also introduced them in films for the first time. We see them in two songs Pardesi and Saali Khushi and in the second half of the film, they see the destruction of Dev as a neutral observer.

Dev.D: Anurag Kashyap’s Contemporary Take On Classic Devdas.

 The ‘Twilight Players’ in ‘Pardesi’ song. Pic Credits- UTV Pictures.

Kashyap introduced two new actresses in this film, Mahie Gill as Paro and Kalki Koechlin as Chanda. Both did a phenomenal job. Mahie Gill won the Filmfare Award for Best Actress and Kalki won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. 

The film gained a cult status with time. Many critics rated this film under the black comedy genre, which I think is a subjective thing. You guys can watch this film on Netflix and decide what you think about this film.

Author Biographical Note: The author is pursuing graduation in Physics (Hons) from Ramjas College, University of Delhi, India.  He is working for Explore Screen: The Cognitive Dialogue as an intern. 

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