film “Devdas” released in the year 2002, and then later in the same year it was
screened at the Cannes Film Festival and in 2014 in the international film
festival “Devdas” and also in “Celebrating Dance in Indian Cinema.” The film
has received several commentative acclamations and the film earned 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, grandiosity, and
heartbreak unspools throughout the movie as it did previously in Khamoshi and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. The
wondrous sets by Nitin Desai, Aishwarya Rai’s (Paro’s) unimaginable glass house
before marriage, her zealous haveli post wedding, Shah Rukh Khan’s (Devdas’)
stunning vila, Madhuri Dixit’s (Chandramukhi’s) extraordinary dance court, even
the railway passenger car compartments are a feast to our visual sight. Ismail
Darbar’s sense 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 hair-raising 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 analyst, Subhash
K. Jha, complimented the film stating,
“Devdas is one of the most awestruck property of the Indian Film Industry.
It is glitzy in cinematic details and applauds to Nitin Desai for his sets and
Abu-Sandeep, Neeta Lulla and Reza Sharifi for their efforts put in peerless
costumes. The characters carry the given costumes in a very beautiful manner
and make them look even more gorgeous. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has made every
character to do justice to the screen space given to them. The grandeur never
cuts off the massive emotional tragedy of Chatterjee. Therefore, Bhansali’s
this magnum opus needs to be understood with emotions and storytelling. In
explaining the tale of Devdas’ dedicated love for Paro, he takes the film
beyond imagination where legendary Bimal Roy had made the initial novel in his
make of the magnum opus in the 1950s.”
One of the best known analysts, Taran Adarsh reviewed and stated, “Devdas has everything from
the cost to the presentation, the ground that no Bollywood film contributed
till date. The gorgeous sets, the monumental scenary, the launch and the aesthetics
makes you amuses in stunner. Therefore technically, the film is a masterpiece.
The scenes created, the music quality and the cinematic description every
minute detail appears as a boomerang that assures the universe as far as
enjoyment is considered. The Kiron Kher vs. Smita Jayakar one to one battle(first
half) earns credits. Just like that for the segment between the two stars
Madhuri Dixit and Milind Gunaji, the test 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 segments which
makes is the evidence that Bhansali is amongst the most skilled director that
Indian Film industry has received.
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.
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.
The role 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.
The 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
During 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.
The 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 being humiliated.
In the 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 it.
Kathak master Birju Maharaj choreographed Kaahe
Chhedd Mohe especially for Madhuri Dixit.
Despite refusing the first two films of Sanjay
Leela Bhansali, Kareena Kapoor screen tested for the role of Paro.
Ismail 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.
Paro’s 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
The set 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 wrong times.
Musical duo Chase and Status sampled the song
‘Silsila Yeh Chahat Ka’ for their song ‘Eastern Jam’, while
Snoop Dogg also sampled the same song for his
song ‘Snopp Dogg Millionaire’.
In 2002, 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 Cinema.
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.