Review of Dev.D  

Posted by Vee

Those who have followed the lives and works of makers like Sriram Raghavan, Sudhir Mishra, Shimit Amin, Hansal Mehta, Onir, Anurag Kashyap will know that these makers have always taken risk. Few succeeded, few did not and others were labeled self-centered psychopaths (read just Anurag). Isn’t every artist/actor/director/producer? Didn’t we just see that in LBC? But Anurag has been subjected to all kinds of brickbats since he made ‘No Smoking’. I loved his ‘Black Friday’ immensely and was excited about NS like hell. I did not understand it first time. I spoke to few filmi friends, discussed and went for repeat watch. This time I liked it. I became fan of Anurag.

Dev.D unlike his NS is not a self-indulgent cinema but yes, it definitely shows the pain and anguish the man has gone through in this industry. He vents out his fury through Dev; A man in search of salvation after screwing up his love life. The movie in all departments takes Indian Cinema a few notches higher. Watch it to believe that it is nothing less than a Nolan or Fellini or Scorsese. We have our answer to west, east, middle, left, right, up, down. And the answer is Anurag Kashyap.

I usually do not go with the disclaimers. However, here I would wish to say that if you are an escapist, ignorant, and fragile then skip the movie and this review as well. Others read on.

As we all are aware by now that Dev.D is a contemporary take on Sarat’s celebrated novel Devdas. Bimal Roy (sticking to the book) and SLB (a bit twist by arranging a full fledged meeting between Paro and Chandramukhi) have given their versions. Anurag’s version in actuality is a convincing mockery of SLB’s version. There are four to five direct and countless indirect references to SLB’s version. From a Sonapur and Kolkota, the movie shifts to picturesque sarson-ke-khet of Punjab via 'London' to neon-lit Pahar Ganj in Delhi. A rich father who threw Devdas out of house in earlier spoils him rotten in this by justifying to mother, “Tumne bachpan me bigada, Mai jawaani me bigad raha hun.” The two ladies who had a cheesy confrontation of ‘Devdas loves you more’ exchange just a strange ‘Hi’ here and both proclaim ‘Dev doesn’t love anyone.’

The real protagonist of Dev.D is Amit Trivedi’s music and background score. His 18 songs aptly placed throughout recite the story. You can almost call it a musical. I have never experienced something like this before where you can almost feel that you do not need dialogues, the songs says it all. Anurag himself confessed sometime back that Amit’s music was so impressive that he changed his script to rationalize and credit Amit’s work. Welcome to new-age Bollywood. Times are changing. Those who understand and believe in lucid and rational cinema know that SLB’s Devdas was a ridiculous movie with idiocy written all over it’s frames and the essence lost in its grandeur. Chuck it. Embrace brand new Paro, Chanda and Dev.

Dev (Abhay Deol) is sent to London for studies. The only motivation for him to return is the nude pics of Paro (Mahie Gill) which she diligently scans and sends after having a steamy internet chat with Dev. ‘Dhol yaara dhol’ begins and Paro is cheerful with dreams of a good life ahead. Dev is back. His elder brother is getting married. ‘Hikknaal’ and ‘Maahi Mennu’ (the two Punjabi numbers of the lot) steps forward the story along with Dev’s and Paro’s failed attempt to sleep with each other. Misunderstanding follows and Dev insults her, tells her to stop dreaming that she can get married in his family (aukaat nahi hai teri) almost calling her a slut. Dev’s father in fact is keen on making Paro his bahu. What an irony!!! Anyways Paro’s father gets her married to much elder Bhuvan and just before her marriage Dev realizes he was at mistake and not her. But it’s too late, gulps down full bottle of Vodka, vomits and falls with a huge thud in front of the baraat. What an ‘Emosanal Attyachaar’!!!

Enter Lenny (Kalki Koechlin), a class XII student in Delhi. She is a cheerful and smiling girl who is dating a visibly very old to her boy. She does stuff to him, goes on bike rides with him, and is not apologetic about it. ‘Yahi Meri Zindagi Hai’ background score tells her story. The boy makes MMS. The girl is made fun of. The family is shattered. They leave country but the ghosts do not. Lenny gets into argument with her father when he says that he indeed has seen the clippings of her doing the stuff to boy and asserts she knew what she was doing. “How could you watch, fucking coward? I am your daughter.” Father kills himself, mother abandons her. She is left alone to be picked by a pimp and later gets into prostitution. Yahi Meri Zindagi gives way to ‘Ye Kaisi Kaisi Aankh Micholi Khele Zindagi.’ Lenny makes course for Chanda (Chandramukhi). Chunni (Dibyendu Bhattacharya) gets her client but also makes sure she finishes her education. She is taught the nuances of the profession (master-slave, phone erotica et al) in the mid of passing the board exams. ‘Paayaliya’ takes her into the new world; she has killed her ghosts. She has moved on. Dev enters her life. Dev, who by now in the guilt of losing his love is an alcohol chaser, pills popping, self-centered wreck mocks at Chanda’s show of compassion. “When in pain, it’s good to talk” she says. “What do you know about pain?” he replies. He leaves her place and goes back to his earlier histrionics. The ‘rock version of Attyachaar’ shows Dev wandering on streets, hiking between Delhi Metro and buses. When legal bars close, he ends up elsewhere. The dancing trio mocks at him, ‘Meetha Sa Chadha Hai Bukhar’ becomes his state of mind, he is ‘Pardesi’ in his own mind. He tries to find out ‘Saali Khushi’ which is lost. He calls Paro. Re-enters Paro. Content with marriage Paro to whom he desperately wants to make love to and requests to be loved back mocks at him too, “Tum kisi se pyaar nahi kar sakte. Tum sheeshe se shaadi kar lo.” What a scene it was when she makes him see the reality, “Itni mat peeya karo. Kisi se itna bhi pyaar na karo ki baaki cheeze nazar hi naa aaye.” She is clear, she doesn’t need him anymore. She shows him his aukaat, leaves him infuriated more than before. Welcome to new-age women. What a rip-off to Aishwarya’s self pity in earlier version.

He is lost again. ‘Nayan Tarse' does the same. He is having a trip. He drinks more. Chunni follows him, wants him to come back to Chanda (after all Dev is loaded). Dev gives in, back to Chanda. Chanda with her new ‘Dil Me Jaagi’ beat goes out with him; they share steaming Momos, jump into swimming pool, talks about her pain. “Half of the country downloaded the clipping, had fun out of it and they turned back and called me slut.” Dev shares his pain. Chanda agrees to Paro’s stand. “You can not love anyone.” I have moved, she has moved. You move on ending with calling him a slut. Dev leaves her again, gets into drunk-driving-killed-seven-people fiasco. His father dies. He goes to the funeral; brother ignores his presence, gives money to settle the court case. Dev doesn’t return to Delhi. ‘Duniya Gol Hai’. He blows away the money too. He is completely broke, sleeping on the road next to dog, sees a speeding car hitting the wall. The man dies. ‘Abhi bhi wakt hai’. He traces Chanda, finds her at steaming Momos joint. She takes him in. He confesses that he never loved Paro in true sense as he never saw her carefully actually and accepts he indeed is a slut. ‘Ek Hulchul Si’ marks the happy ending with duo having a bike ride.

The movie has Anurag’s style of film-making stamped all over it. The first half is radiant, full of life as we slowly gets introduced to the characters. It’s the second half that would blow your mind off. Each and every person can comprehend the happenings. The third plus after Amit’s exceptional music and Anurag’s characterization of the trio is Rajeev Rai’s photography. The movie gets dark in the second half with almost the whole second half shown in neon-lit streets and bars. The concept is by Abhay Deol which Anurag wrote along with Vikramaditya Motwane to give it a position of a formal script. Nikhat Azmi of TOI who surprisingly gave it a 5 star rating (surprising not because it doesn’t deserve but cuz Nikhat finally acknowledged good cinema) says for Abhay: Manorama-6FU and OLLO were just trailer, Dev.D is the class act from Deol. Not that the movie/Abhay needs her approval. Anurag had limited audience so far, but now the audience will multiply. Anurag has given Bollywood which is decomposing day by day a boost. And Abhay is the real star-baadhsah-king-ace or whatever those titles are called that few stars keep calling themselves with. One says 'I am King', then other replies, 'So what? I am Ace' for which third smiles mockingly at both of them. But it's Abhay for me and for many fans who find him the torch bearer of coming-of-age cinema in this country.

P.S. It is A rated but it is not porn as the belief of few goes. It’s not even soft-porn as the belief of many goes. It's a contemporary, on-your-face, blunt, straightforward and extremely engaging cinema.

P.S. 1 – I have seen it twice so far and will go for few more dekko. That’s what an excellent piece does; every time it throws up something marvelous.

This entry was posted on Sunday, February 08, 2009 and is filed under , , . You can leave a response and follow any responses to this entry through the Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) .

49 Pointless but Viscous Comments.

Guess u stopped there itself. Ah?

LOL :D No I didnt :) Forgot to write good review :)cant say more as I havent seen it yet.

Lol, I ain't looking for praising words.. Read, that's all I want. Do see it Reema. Don't go by the general belief. Watch and Judge ur self. Thanks!!!

Buddy Boy ! You must publish this in PFC. None of the reviews there would come even close to this attempt of yours. Brilliant review, though you have revealed frame by frame till the end. Loved the movie, and now loved your review ! and I just hope the makers remain this way and bring us similar meaningful and good cinema. An inspiration for the so called show men in our country.

@Vimmuuu, the PFC has been flooded with reviews of Dev.D. I intentionally did not send to them this time as I wanted to put it here asap and they take long sometimes to publish. Thanks for your kind words.

That's the beauty of it boi! I have revealed it frame by frame as I did not know any other way to write it down cuz music plays the central character here.

I second your thoughts there. Amen!!!

P.S I am happy u too loved it.

Bloody fabulous review babe! another masterpiece from you!

With this review in mind will check out the movie.

ps: just finished Slum dog...still dont know what to think about it...and I think that is the trouble with reading so many reviews:)

@Angel, Why are you fucking always so kind with your words despite I goof up...?? U r a sweetheart beyond...beyond...forget it...

Btw, Pls do check out the movie and for Slumdog... do say what you feel, no matter if takes long..

This comment has been removed by the author.

good, bad, ugly? will decide after I watch it myself. As yoiu rightly said to Angel, the viewer's joy is diluted with too many revus. And I only need urs for a recco!

As for the frame-by-frame reveal.... no problems there - I have goldfish memory these days :D I read what u've written, it seems like yet another re-used story. Nothing new!

maybe its jus showcased very well...maybe i'll catch the movie to understand what ye sayin...

Nice review!

finally watched it .. the movie generated such a thing that i got lot of pings asking "You haven't watched it yet " even though the movie is released just 2 days back.... Abhay rocks.. if anyone has seen his carrier and the way he is progressing .. man you cant dream bigger..i hope he continues in the same manner doing better off movies than mindless blockbusters
Anurag.. wat can i say .. the story telling .. the songs presence...the pace.. the spot on, right on face script .. u r genius
Oxy ... dude i should say ..
u have given excellent review.. the matter it covers is real good... most of the stuff which goes on background.. like the music .. the wordings of the song.. cinema is not just visual or that line which is showcased hundred times .. cinema is visual.. which can be presented in so many fashions... Anurag wins you on this ...
and Mr Oxy you have captured it well ... not forgetting brilliant audio even though video steals your concentration ...that is the kind of layers it has.... which may require multiple watching to looks through details and layers..
A very good review Oxy

finally watched it .. the movie generated such a thing that i got lot of pings asking "You haven't watched it yet " even though the movie is released just 2 days back.... Abhay rocks.. if anyone has seen his carrier and the way he is progressing .. man you cant dream bigger..i hope he continues in the same manner doing better off movies than mindless blockbusters
Anurag.. wat can i say .. the story telling .. the songs presence...the pace.. the spot on, right on face script .. u r genius
Oxy ... dude i should say ..
u have given excellent review.. the matter it covers is real good... most of the stuff which goes on background.. like the music .. the wordings of the song.. cinema is not just visual or that line which is showcased hundred times .. cinema is visual.. which can be presented in so many fashions... Anurag wins you on this ...
and Mr Oxy you have captured it well ... not forgetting brilliant audio even though video steals your concentration ...that is the kind of layers it has.... which may require multiple watching to looks through details and layers..
A very good review Oxy

@E-I-S-I, Correct buddy. That's what happened with Slumdog. Many people including Ava did not like it that much as it was hyped beyond imagination.

Lol@ goldfish memory.. it would do good only in case u don't like Dev.D :)

@MystiqueDew, So when did I it's something new. Dear, the story dates back to year 1917 when it was first written and there have been umpteen attempts since then. Anurag's version is just the modern take on it. That's it. But do watch it. And btw, welcome back to blog world. Thanks!!!

@Vishwam, Dost mere, seema u too had a nice trip on this. I hope same for Mr. AD. He is the man of the moment. He has his own class and after this he can be termed commercial actor as well which our cynical bollywood gives lot of importance too.

They say Anurag is maverick. He intentionally creates controversy. I do not agree. He can be termed maverick when it comes to visualizing a particular character and scenario. He gets into the psyche of the person and presents it the way it should be. He is the real perfectionist. But I do not agree to him creating unnecessary controversy just for the heck of it. Censor Board screwed up his 'Paanch' and 'Black Friday'. The guy went mad and made 'No Smoking'. Reviewers killed his movie. He accepted all this with utmost humility. And now he has shown them what stuff he is made of.

Thanks for the kind words.

Yeps..exactly Vee Dah-ling!

So wots the idea of telling us the story thats been around since 1917?

to top it ye add a disclaimer??

Should i still say nice review or nice narration...hmmm

@Mystiquedew, The idea is that the current version is a modern take.. how today's youth would react to the same scenario?

Say whatever u feel like babes. ;)


Thanks for the review, liked it!

You have a very beautiful blog. You won't believe but I look for beauty in a blog before I look for content; kinda weird but that's how I am!

I think your blog will look more beautiful without that Feedjit widget; the widget is an eyesore and the colours really don't suit your jeans look! How does it matter who is coming from where!?

BTW the pot is calling the kettle back! I had this widget and still have many other widgets!

If you really like it you can take the simpler version (only HTML version for WP) which only shows the place a person is coming from; this one has less text in the box and is more pleasing to the eye and yes don't forget to customise the colours to match your jeans!

I am a new kid on the blo(ck)g! Am subscribing to your feeds and adding you in my links page.

Just my two cents, don't mind!

@Vikas, Lol, u r asking me to do lot of things there.. Man, I am quite lazy at that and it might take me ages to do that.. I might simply remove the Widget.. Abhi daala hai, naya naya hai toh rehne do kuchh dino tak.



Good review. I liked the film, though I do have some small issues.

However, I think we need more film-makers like him to change the crap that goes under the name of cinema in this country!

Quirky Indian

@Quirky, Glad u liked and as for the issues that's absolutely justifiable. Every one judges from their own perspective. Moreover, no film is without small issues...

I too sincerely hope for the best for our Industry. Thanks

haven't seen it time

but your review has got me thinking.Need to make some time.

@V-Bhai, Bahut busy ho gaye ho aajkal.. Jaldi dekh yaar.


I did not understand a single word in the movie... Maybe it's because my Hindi sucks, maybe its because the movie sucked big time... The only thing I could understand were the frikkin soft-porn imitations! :D

@Nikhil, Why? Didn't u when Dev tells Chanda to 'put away with accent'? Didn't u when she says 'Old enough to get in bed with u'? Those were conversations n English and many more like them..

The movie was fine.. If it would have sucked it for any other reason apart from u not able to understand Hindi then I would have agreed,. but not cuz of language. Thats not the reason to demean any movie, be it any language one.


I have not read or heard a negative review (anything less than 4 stars) other than Masand. So, no surprises there. Just hope that AD doesn't get his head all swollen up and start doing the regular masala fare.

Just saw LBC .. Farhan can't act for nuts, can he?

Excellent review :) but am still not convinced to watch this one....


What are u saying...he is awesome!!!

@Avionic, And Masand's review cannot be considered cuz he said, some will like, some won't, choose a mid path or some such shit.. If he cant make a decision then he should juts handover to me..

For Frahan, U r the first one whom I can talk to about this boy. Nopes he can't.

@Smita, Thanks but I do not understand why females are shying away from this movie. In short, the movie has depicted that women have upper hand against men when it comes to taking any freaking decision related to life, love, romance, relationship, sex, blah blah... Anurag's ladies have mauled poor devdas. Watch it.

FARHAN...Avionic is just speaking my mind. He ain't awesome.


I was waiting to watch this movie from such a long time and damn it!! It came on the weekend I had to fly. :( Will catch up ASAP.

Anonymous are such a sincere and patient even mentioned the exact sequence where the songs ahve been played. :)

My memorable scene from the movie was when Abhay consoles hua bhu jaa..sab thik ho point revealing teh context though.. :)

Here;s mine pretty tame review:

@Amit, Buddy check it there...

@Poonam, Thanks,:) I am genuinely a movie buff and I observe things very meticulously. Nothing gives me kick more than a movie.

That scene you mentioned is an awesome one... U might think that it will be a cliched type but it turns out so beautiful.

I am on to urs.. The second kick comes from reading the reviews of the movies.

hey thanks for the review.. got all weepy.. cheers

hey thanks for the review.. got all weepy.. cheers

@The Real DD, U r most welcome. Thank You!!!

Great review and since I have no plans of watching the movie, I will satisfy myself by enjoying this review :)
Too heavy movies are not meant for light-headed people like me ;)

@WIAN, Thanks but why o why you will not watch it. Your justification isn't convincing nuff. Please do watch at least on the DVD when it's out. Btw, heard that DVD will be coming on Moserbaer so it would be cheap. Thank God!!! Unlike TZP which was priced at 500 something. Outrageous I say.


Was there Kolkata on the movie ? I I missed it ! Couldn’t remember after one watch.
If you have seen Wong Ka’s Chunking express, you will find a huge visual similarity and influence on AK. Especially where paro comes in and starts cleaning Dev’s room, washes his dirty clothes etc.

Vee, Your review (or rather call it an analytical narration) is detailed and touches on most of the aspects which AK probably wanted to portray. Though I would have loved to see you mentioning the twisted dark humour - “ Usne mera ticket kha liya”. I personally loved the picturization of Pardesi. After AR Rahman, Amit Trivedi has changed the concept of Hindi Music, though I feel he is too overwhelmed by Nine Inch Nail’s school of Industrial Rock ( Like the number Haara in Aamir). Looks like we have our own Trent Rezor now !
Btw- do check the official website of Dev D ( damn good site) , as we guessed the X rated version of Emosanal Attyachar is official.

Mentioning Sharatchardra Chattopadhyay as Sarat is little too unconventional to be accepted by bongs. Isn’t it like mentioning Tagore as Ravi ?

Good looking blog (though the comment color scheme is bit jarring). See you around.


Just another short note- I am yet to meet one lady/ woman/ girl who has liked this movie. Most of the 'intelligent' ones are not even ready to consider it for a single watch.

Probably the movie is too direct from a guy's perspective ( my wife said so, at least) and too honestly sexually explicit (i think so).

Will Anurag be stamped as a sexist movie maker ?
He has used words like Bho*dike & Chu*iya in promo's of upcoming Gulal.
Whatever, bring 'em on.



By Kolkota I meant, in the original novel, our man goes to Kolkota for studies but in SLB's and AK's version it's London. I have seen Wong's Chungking Express and I know what are you hinting at. Oh, now that we are talking of Wong, I recommend his Happy Together to u (or have u seen already?).

Yes u r right there. I should have. But this review was written after couple of watches and movie like this has so much to talk of that u tend to miss one thing or other. I have seen it 4 times now and I guess I am done now and I am thinking of writing something just on dialogues. Repeat watch brings in new every time. 'Usne Mera Ticket Khaa Liya' and twice she says.. fundoo tha wo scene.. dark!

Amit is a self-confessed fan of Jazz, Rock and Western Classical so that shows predominantly in his work. AK calls him his 'Big B' and makes sense as well. The boy Amit is sure shot a genius. Success will not go to his head I am sure but what I am scared of is he doesn't repeat himself. Like 'Duniya' is somewhat 'Chakkar Ghumyo' from Aamir. Our own Trent Reznor!!! Ah, interesting. Yes, indeed.

I apologize if you were offended any which ways by calling Sharatchandra as Sarat. It was in a jiffy. Point noted.

Regarding fairer-sex liking it, I was recommending them like crazy, not many agreed initially but now I know at least two such ladies who loved the movie and strange thing is one is in mid-20s and other in late 40s. I also know of a reviewer (female) who liked the movie and reviewed it:

Anurag will not be stomped as sexist, at least not by rational viewers. And Gulaal trailer is simply awesome. Yes, bring them on. He is releasing it on 13th March btw, a Friday. Hmm, Times are changing!!!

See you around.

Felt like watching the movie all over again!! Meetha sa chad gaya bukhar :)

Awesome review!

@Varun, Me too me too.. I am all game to watch it 5th and final time (in theater, DVD jab release hogi tab toh aur dekhunga). :)


Yup, I agree. Dev D is a movie on which can be discussed without an end.
Please come up with the post on dialogue & situations on the movie.
The tubewell scene, the last 'Sorry bhai' of the sardar taxiwalla, Dialogues of Chunni are worth discussing.

Just asking, why didn't you post this review on PFC earlier? Is it because too many reviews happening there ?

Regarding Sharat, its nothing offensive (atleast not to me), it's just that it sound odd.

Btw, did you read Khalid's review on PFC? Seems he is trying to lick AK to patch

@UH, Yes, I will do that. For sure.

One of the reasons for not posting on PFC is what you mentioned. Yet, not main reason. Other is if you are not an author they take their own sweet time to publish. Sometimes they do publish within a day, but only sometimes. My Karzz was published within a day but My Drona was published 4 days later and I am too impatient when it comes to giving out my views on a movie which I watch FDFS.:):)

Oh yes, I did read Khalid there. And yes he is sucking up to AK, now that he is out of job. Kahin toh kisi tareeke se bhadaas nikalani padegi na. :)

darling, this is such a rotten review. hehe, thank the gods that i read it just when i needed it, and not before. I avoided reading it till I had written mine, afraid I wont be able to write anything if read it first.

This is the review one should read after watching the movie. I just loved loved the way you mentioned the songs. This will be used as a reference when I hear the cd. Wasnt the music divine? It was divine.

You havent written about how good Mahie Gill was. I was smitten by her uninhibited turn.

I loved the second half too, the whole emosonal jingbang. As a rule we are so afraid to experiment with life, this movie shows otherwise.

What do you say we create a blog just for Dev.D and invite comments, reviews, anything, just good n bad, n have some kind of player playing the music of DD nonstop.


I am so glad u loved the movie. An yeah, this is rotten, totally. hehe.. .aficionados like u wud find it rotten if they happen to read before watching, :)

Divine would just be the right word for the music. Amit is genius in making. Another ARR we will have in short time.

I didn't? Well, there is so much you can yap about Dev D that u tend to miss something...

I was thinking of writing two more posts, music and dialogues. But your idea is superb. We will do it. What will we call it?

Lets call it DevD and post our reviews here and encourage others to post theirs..

kya khayal hai? I sorely need the script of this flick. So sad indian movies dont have a script. You know the entire Seinfeld series is on a website??? n scores of scripts too...


Done Deal!!!

I did not know about Seinfeld. Thats awesome.. I will search..

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