Devdas

Devdas

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Devdas review

Film description

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Release Dates

UK Cinema release
July 12th 2002

Comments

    • GRGCA

      May 6th 2009, 20:02

      I think "Devdas" is a Bollywood classic and, indeed, a classic of world cinema. This is very possibly the last great fictional love story. Because of the jaded nature of the West, some Westerners might well not 'get it.' And that would be a shame. This is a sumptuous and profound film. In some ways, although the performances of the romantic leads are great, it would be a pity to focus merely on the central actors. This is very much an ensemble picture with great supporting performances contrapuntally interweaving to underline the central story line, as it were. There are many great supporting performances here, as great as that of the romantic leads. I love the performance of the wordplay-obsessed roue who leads Devdas down into the mire of self-destructive hedonism. I really love the performance of the woman(God, I wish I could remember her name) who embodies bitterness, romantic frustration and boundless romantic spite - she is almost a film unto herself, in spite of her relatively limited screen time. The performance of the woman playing the courtesan doomed to love Devdas without return is a thing of restraint and beauty. While this film is in some ways a 'romantic' film, it is also a massive fugue to frustrated romantic aspirations and to unhappiness. This underlying skepticism about romance perhaps makes this film more accessible to post-modern sensibilities than one might at first suspect. The dance featuring the courtesan and Devdas's childhood 'lover'(who has been hastened into an unhappy marriage) is truly touching and sad, underlining the essential unhappiness of both women. A Bollywood convention is used here with genuine meaning and intelligence. Really, there are no happy people in this film. The movie is also very shrewd and probing about the topic of social climbing. Westerners pretend they live in a relatively classless society, all the while drooling over the lifestyles of the rich-and-famous. I suggest that Third World cultures know what First World cultures prefer to forget. The film's perception about class is telling and intelligent. The cinematography in this film is lovely - some shots will literally make you gasp. You always feel you're in firm cinematic hands in this picture - they always know where they're going and they get you there in style. The camera has a great eye both for the material surroundings and for physiognomies. This is one of the supreme achievements of Bollywood. And its perception that the heart is something to be stomped upon surely cuts across all cultures. Greg Cameron, Surrey, B.C., Canada

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