film “Devdas” after its release in 2002, it was screened at the CANNES FILM
FESTIVAL and in 2014 in the international film festival in the “Devdas section”
and also in “Celebrating Dance in Indian Cinema” section. The film has received
several critical acclamations and awards and the film received a lot of awards
and was leading till Bhansali’s Black movie was on screen. In the review of
literature chapter below several critical analysis and reviews of this films of
the same genre has been reviewed and analysed.
and analysing these articles helps to understand the context and inner meaning
of the films text. It also provides information about the genre and the narrative
structure of the film. It provides an insight about the technical aspects of
the film and give an idea about the different perceptions of people. The
following articles are critical reviews of the film “Devdas” and the films that
fall under the same genre as the former.
film witnessed both positive and negative reviews. According to IMDb user
reviews on the film “Devdas”, from over the seas were positive and the audience
loved the splendid magnum opus by the most loved director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
The review from over the seas had the following opinion on the movie. The
statements like, “A bittersweet epitome,” “Most tragic film ever made in
Bollywood”, Lavish and dazzling”, and so on. A few people had a thought that
the film was showing women in hardship and very weak. Though the film had
negative reviews it was a blockbuster hit on the silver screens.
The article in
rediff movies by Sukanya Verma, writes about the visual treat in the film. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s labour of love Devdas is
a film to be remembered, touching and spectacular interpretation. Clearly Devdas is
an object of art and heart. His discrimination of colours, grandeur, and
heartbreak unspools throughout the film as it did previously in Khamoshi and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. The
stupendous sets by Nitin Desai, Paro’s unimaginable glass house before
marriage, her zealous haveli after marriage, Devdas’ stunning vila,
Chandramukhi’s extraordinary dance court, even the railway passenger car compartments
are a feast to our visual sight. Ismail Darbar’s huge creation of music is
mostly timely-based and is beautifully narrated. Thankfully, the sound track
plays in the background and Devdas and Paro are not shown lip-syncing. Pandit
Birju Maharaj and Saroj Khan temp the screen with some sensational
choreography. Madhuri Dixit’s dances are stunning. Binod Pradhan’s eye for
detail cannot be missed as he plays with the camera with imaginative technics
used for angles and lighting. The good thing is that before the viewer gets too
caught up in admiring Aishwarya’s exotic hairclip, the shot switches to the
sorrow in her eyes. Ms. Verma also spoke about few beautiful moments from the
film. Right from the beginning of the film till the every moment was
beautifully shown. Dialogues written were so perfect and amazing. When it comes
to films there are definitely few flaws but still carried very beautifully,
some of the flaws according to Ms. Verma are how Paro’s mother was portrayed
about dreaming about her daughter and also hoe Devdas’s mother and sister in
law were portrayed, they were too loud for the screen play. According to her, “The entire
Paro-Chandramukhi face off comes across as a purely commercial gimmick. It does
nothing to the storyline. The Dola re dola song though
beautifully picturised in hues of red, white and gold is a futile
exercise”. According to the reviewer the film is completely based
on performance how each actor does justice to the character assigned to them.
The critical analysis of the film “Devdas”
by Kabir Ahamed, begins with the statement, “calling Devdas a modern
masterpiece would be an understatement”.
Mr. Ahamed, refers Devdas as “future classic” in his analysis. This film
for next few years will stay as visually ravishing film in the history of Indian
film industry and he adds that this piece of art in the form of film can be
taken as a reference text for the future masterpiece. However, waxing
eloquent over a film’s place in the record books does not necessarily mean that
the film is without its flaws. How can a film that unabashedly uses up all of
the classic Hindi film clichés, makes a criminal use of colour, and fronts
itself with a star cast that looks as if they’ve walked off a modelling ramp,
expect to be taken seriously. Certainly director Sanjay Leela Bhansali wasn’t
making this film for unromantic or uninteresting front-benchers. That said, it
doesn’t seem like the film was indicated for a serious art-film audience
either. I assume that the director wanted to strike a middle ground with his
audience-base. To that extent, “Devdas” effortlessly climbs into that
special realm where movies don’t need to have a specific target audience to
succeed. There is both shamelessly commercial saccharine and high-brow avant
garde dialogue, usually one after the other; very frequently in the same frame.
To call this ‘genius’ on part of the director is something that bears debating,
but Bhansali demonstrates that hes no fool with the camera, nor with the seamless
screenplay, especially during the interaction between the three principal
characters. According to the critics Devdas is the most celebrated love story
and the most painful. Most of the Bollywood films promise happy endings and few things are unrealistic but when
it comes to Devdas it is heart breaking how Devdas and Paro are separated and
how Chandramukhi a court dancer falls in love and gets denied by Devdas.
While comparing with other films of the same
genre like “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham”, “Kal Hona Oh”, “Dilwale wale Dhulhaniya
le jayenge” and so on. All these movies show foreign countries and Western
clothing, and as far as new Devdas is considered it was made with utmost care
and keeping in mind about the situation and necessity of show-casing Indian
history. In a land that is progressively facing an identity
crisis, the retelling of a classic Indian tale could have a ripple effect that
could bring about new tidings in the way films are made in India, and more
importantly, the stories that are told.
analysing other director’s and Bhansali’s other movie there were failures as
well as classic box office hit. Unlike fellow film-makers Karan Johar and
Aditya Chopra, the director Sanjay Leela Bhansali has a critically rich body of
work under his belt. His first film, a poetic piece entitled ‘Khamoshi’
(‘Silence’) was an immediate failure in India, where people weren’t too
interested in a story of a young girl who sings her way to the hearts of her
deaf-mute parents. Yet there were sparks of genius that were apparent in this
first film as well, where he wheedle out a glorious performance from Nepali
actress Manisha Koirala, and made some use of the lesser gifted Salman Khan.
However, his second film, ‘Hum Dil de Chuke Sanam’ was one that critics either
loved or hated. Indeed, there was much to hate. Though it marked the ascent of
model Aishwarya Rai as Hindi Filmdom’s reigning queen, it also managed to pile
in the worst of cheesy Indian movie-making into three insufferable hours. There
is also much to like – no one can debate the director’s use of color or musical
score in this film, but the fact that he took for granted that his audience
were chronically retarded, didn’t help matters. His attempts at passing off
Hungary as Italy is what I remember the movie most for, even though everyone
who is supposedly ‘Italian’ in the movie speak with heavy Magyar accents. We
were also treated to monuments in Budapest, and the lead couple even joined a
Hungarian dance troupe to do a traditional folk dance, but the director kept
insisting that we were in Italy. ‘Hum dil de chuke sanam’ also marked the
return (of sorts) to traditional Indian values, when the lead character is
forced to decide between her husband and her lover. It’s no mystery that she
does the ‘right thing’ but there could have been no possible outcome
considering the social climate in the subcontinent at the moment. Such
questionable credentials apart, we are quite ready to redeem Sanjay now that we’ve
seen his third film.
The famous film critic, Subhash
K. Jha, praised the film and gave
the film 3.5 stars out of 5 stating, “Devdas is one of the most
outstanding products of the much-maligned Bollywood. It is rich in visual
details and hats off to Nitin Desai for his sets and Abu-Sandeep, Neeta Lulla
and Reza Sharifi for their efforts put in exquisite costumes. The characters
don’t just move in their breathtakingly ornate clothes that seem to have been
spun from the most exquisite threads obtainable. Bhansali’s characters speak
and sing to the viewer. The opulence never smothers the immensity of
Chatterjee’s emotional tragedy. Hence the film requires at least two viewings
for one to understand the visual and emotional layers the narration secretes.
In telling the story of Devdas’ bound love for Paro, Bhansali takes the film
beyond imagination where legendary Bimal Roy had made the original novel in his
make of the magnum opus in the 1950s.”
One of the most known critics, Taran Adarsh reviewed and stated, “Devdas has everything from
the budget to the canvas, the stage that no Hindi film bought out till date.
The gorgeous sets, the monumental look, the launch and the aesthetics makes you
wonder in astonishment. Even technically, the film is a splendid product. The
shot organised, the sound quality and the cinematography imagination your mind
as you embark on a journey that promises the world as far as entertainment is
concerned. Bhansali also deserves standing ovation for taking utmost care of
every single frame, shot and sequence with full concentration. The Kiron Kher
vs. Smita Jayakar face to face confrontation (first half) deserves applause. Just
like that for the sequence between the two stars Madhuri Dixit and Milind
Gunaji. The confrontation between Aishwarya and Madhuri is something that has
to be mentioned, and also the sequence after the ‘Dola re Dola re song’, where
Chandramukhi confronts Kalibabu, are a few sequences that makes a fact that
Bhansali is amongst the most talented director Indian Film industry has
Khan, the one who once was writing for BBC said, Devdas is one of the best
movies she has watched and everyone has to watch this beautiful piece of masterpiece.
This beautiful piece of art was announced as one of the 10 greatest films of
the millennium by Times Magazine. Devdas bagged all the awards on that year and
the film is still in the news for all the right reasons.”
In the critical analysis article by Mr. Kaber,
he also spoke about how few segments were irrelevant and how subtitles were
didn’t work with the running segment.
The theater I saw this movie in displayed English subtitles on the
bottom half of the screen. While this certainly helped many a non-Hindi speaker
appreciate the film, they were also markedly bad in places. They were
especially patchy during the songs. While the almost impossible-to-translate
‘Kaahe Chhed Mohe’ was deciphered without a single mistake, the relatively
trite ‘Chalak Chalak’ was abound with glitches and embarrassing oversights.
Also, almost every set seems to have been constructed. There are no scenes of
nature or the city – which gives the film a very sound-stage feel that is
difficult to initially get past. On the bright side, the costumes, sets, and
almost surreal look of the film saves it from any harsh criticism, and after
you sit through the climax, it’s almost impossible to criticize ‘Devdas’ little
Devdas was also criticised for casting and how
terrible it was. If at all there is something wrong with Devdas, its in the
casting of Jackie Shroff, who does nothing for himself or the audience via the
role of Chunnilal. It is the most weakly written and executed role in the
entire film. And while Madhuri Dixit is a beautiful woman, her recent issues
with weight come to the fore in the film, especially during her commendable
dance performance with Aishwarya Rai, where the latter steals the show with her
cat-like prancing. And though every song is a gem, there is an ode to alcohol
at the end that is particularly disconcerting as it ruins the continuity of the
film and looks sorely out of place. ‘Devdas’ also suffers from the same issues
that plagued ‘Hum dil de chuke sanam’. Though the first half had engrossing
scenes between the leads and their parents, the second half doesn’t take the
time to feature any of the parents at all. Its as if once Paro is married off,
both families ceased existing. Not that we’re complaining – Devdas’ mother is
played by an actress whom we personally do not rank very highly, and the ‘evil
relatives’ theme is something this movie was better off without. Unfortunately,
the aspect of unnecessary relatives does not apply to Devdas’ family. When Paro
is married off, she is introduced to her ‘elders’ one woman in particular has a
feisty yet composed conversation with Paro, and we are led to believe that all
of this would eventually lead somewhere. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. These
people, including Paro’s step-daughter, simply fall off the face of the film
right after they are introduced, and are never to be seen again.
According to an article published in Talk film
society, the writer spoke about how effective dialogues were and how the DOP
gave his heart and soul to the movie of the millennial. Devdas is rich with
dialogue scenes, during which the characters go through multiple emotions and
their relationships with the others shift multiple times. Bhansali keeps his
characters moving around, as the dynamic between them shifts. “For example, a scene between Paro and
Devdas (Khan) can go from teasing to hurtful, from romantic to tragic, within
minutes.” Bhansali utilizes his lavish sets as a space for characters to
track their own changes in emotions. Bhansali’s camera moves around with them;
cinematographer Binod Pradhan capturing every movement of Bhansali’s blocking.
The editing by Bhansali favorite Bela Segal can transform from sharp cuts to
smooth long takes as needed by the beats of the scene.
The article from “News18”, published few lesser
or unknown facts about the film Devdas. The facts are as follows.
The role of Devdas was
first offered to Salman Khan, but he declined and thus, the role eventually
went to Shah Rukh Khan. Undoubtedly, Shah Rukh gave one of his career’s best
performance in Devdas and took home Filmfare Best Actor Award in 2002.
of Chunni Lal was offered to Saif Ali Khan, Govinda and Manoj Bajpayee before
Jackie Shroff was signed. Interestingly, Manoj refused the role on the grounds
that he was playing lead roles in all his films and doing a supporting role
would hurt his saleability.
A producer by the name of
K Chopra had the rights of the title Devdas. Initially, he was not willing to let of-of the rights. Sanjay
Leela Bhansali at one point was going to name the film Aaj Ka Devdas.
Finally, K Chopra gave up the rights for a hefty price.
popular song Dola Re Dola took a week to write because Sanjay Leela Bhansali
thought that it had to be perfect as he was uniting two of Bollywood’s biggest
stars (Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan).
the ‘Dola re Dola’ dance, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s ears started to bleed due to
the heavy earrings she was wearing, but continued with the dance, not telling
anyone until after the shoot. Some great professionalism must say.
sequence where Paro’s mother Sumitra is made to dance at a social gathering was
inspired by a recurring nightmare of Sanjay Leela Bhansali where his mother was
song Kahe Chhedd Mohe the outfit worn by Madhuri Dixit weighed 30 kilogrammes.
She had lots of problems with the dance choreography, but she eventually completed
master Birju Maharaj choreographed Kaahe Chhedd Mohe especially for Madhuri
refusing the first two films of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Kareena Kapoor screen
tested for the role of Paro.
Darbar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali spent two-and-a-half years to compose the
music. Each song, being complicated in their structure, had to be mixed eight
to nine times, but the recording took only ten days.
delicate stained-glass house was erected from November to June – safe, non-monsoon
months, Bhansali reckoned. During those months, there were four unprecedented
rain showers, which caused the colors in the stained glass to fade, and they
had to be retouched regularly. Moreover, trolleys were used over the floors of
the house, which led to a lot of chipping.
of Chandramukhi’s kotha was constructed around a lake. Consequently, the water
in the lake kept drying up and gallons of water had to be regularly filled in.
Moreover, the bridge built across the lake had a tendency to sink at all the
duo Chase and Status sampled the song ‘Silsila Yeh Chahat Ka’ for their song
‘Eastern Jam’, while
Dogg also sampled the same song for his song ‘Snopp Dogg Millionaire’.
Aishwarya Rai walked the Cannes Film Festival red carpet for the first time
representing Devdas. In 2017, the actress walked at the 70th edition of the
film festival, representing the film again as part of L’Oréal Paris Open Air
In conclusion to all the reviews and analysis
of the film Devdas, as a regular Bollywood flick, ‘Devdas’
is far and away the greatest thing that Bollywood has produced in ages. As a
work of art, its credentials and execution are unparalleled in the current
world of Hindi cinema – you only have to watch ‘Asoka’ or ‘Dil to Pagal Hai’ to
understand how ‘Devdas’ has managed to cut through the glossy exteriors that
mask every Hindi movie these days. In the end, I think ‘Devdas’ is more of a
cinematic tribute to the classics of the 1960s than anything else. The director
has clearly been a student of both ‘Mughal E Azam’ and ‘Pakeezah’ and has
managed to transfer their spirits into his new creation, without coming across
as a copycat. As a trendsetter and reference-point for future Hindi
film-making, we could not ask for a better model than ‘Devdas’. Every upcoming
epic will have to answer to this one.