Yet another disappointing film! It promises too much with a story based on Sarat Chandra Chatterjee’s novel. Sarat Chandra was a Bengali literary giant and the most popular writers around the turn of the 20th century. Devdas is also based on a work by the same author. The two movies Parineeta and Devdas are similar to the extent that the lead protagonist is working under a domineering father and has to fight the father to win his love. It works in Parineeta, but in Devdas there were other hiccups. Now the feeling you getting now is exactly the feeling that the movie leaves you with, the sole conflict in the movie is the perfidy of the business minded father that drives the movie forward.
The movie is strangely lacking in nuances which one associates with even a badly written novel, forget the story telling skills of Sarat babu. The other problem in the film is the appearance of the other guy, Girish babu, who also has a thing for the chick in the film. Sanjay Dutt is in my personal opinion miscast as Girish babu, a Bengali bhadralok type. I mean Sanju baba looks anything from a gangster to a military man but to even assume that he would have the body language and the effeminate precocity of a bhadra lok Bengali man is expecting too much. Saif khan is decent but what we never get is the whole look at his character, the film offers partial views. All one remembers him do is walk with a stern look and body up and down ornate staircases and play the piano in a fit of jealously. About, the much mentioned actress, I got nothing to say. Well, either she is so good or so bad that she melts with the landscape and the Bengali bungalows, which are probably the best thing about the film. The novel was originally set in early 20th century Calcutta has been adopted to the 1960’s India. The soundtrack is passé.
Remarkably, what I hated about Devdas was the loud, shrill and coy Bengali lines spouted by the likes of Kiron Kher, Aishwarya Rai and Jackie Shroff . In this film, these thorns in the ears Bengali lines are kept to a bare minimum and blend with the non-primary sounds on screen which I think is extremely commendable. Over all, the movie looked to me like the serials on Doordarshan based on Bengali classics, without the thrill of an interesting story or any surprising twists and turns or exploration of character!
This was written on 22 June 2005.