February 20, 2005

Bollywood Film Review: Devdas (2002)

Any respectable collection of Bollywood film reviews must begin with Devdas, which is quite possibly the most visually stunning movie ever. This film is not representative of most modern Bollywood, but that's only because it's a period piece and has a higher production value than any other Bollywood film out there. Since it's set in the early 1900's, the women always wear exquisite sarees and the music is traditional (yet still very cool). It's dramatic, moving, beautiful and the music is EXCELLENT. A must see, all the way.

Rating: A

You can get mp3's of all the songs at bollyfm.net.

Devdas is based on the 1917 best-selling novel by Saratchandra Chattopadhyay. It is the story of Paro (Aishwarya Rai) and Devdas (Shah Rukh Khan), childhood sweethearts separated for 10 years when Devdas is sent to school in England by his terribly wealthy, yet terribly mean father. Devdas returns from England to find Paro has grown into a beautiful woman and they rekindle their childhood love. Unfortunately, Devdas' parents don't think Paro's family is good enough for them because they're not as rich (although I think Paro's house is much more beautiful than Devdas') and Paro's mom came from a family of "dancing girls." I think this might be a euphemism for "courtesans". Devdas' mom insults Paro's mom to her face and Paro begs Devdas to stand by her, but he freaks out after being slapped by his father and leaves town. Poor Paro.

Devdas goes to live with his college buddy (an annoying poet) who takes him to see the most famous, most beautiful "tawaif" in all the land, Chandramukhi (Madhuri Dixit). After a dance number, Devdas realizes that he's made a mistake by leaving Paro. On his way out, he tells Chandrumukhi that she should be ashamed of herself and gives her his FAT wallet. Somehow this makes her fall in love with him. Poor Chandramukhi.

madhuri red.jpg
Madhuri Dixit as Chandramukhi

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