Dev D Falls on its face…in the gutter…after throwing up….
It does n’t actually. I just liked the headline. Anurag kashyap is a talented filmmaker. He’s also a mouthbreather geek poser gutless yellow lizard. Given an opportunity he’d settle in a bank clerk’s job and carry a tiffin box to work for life and retire an irascible old man snapping at the neighbor kids..
The following incident actually happened. I walked out of a showing of mixed doubles and saw a rotund figure standing by the rope. I said to it in a low growl “Bugger! Someone better get laid in your next movie” and the “bugger” collapsed into laughter, not only because mixed doubles (which he had co written) was what in Indian college circles is called a Khade lund pe dhakka (KLPD- roughly translating to a punch to an erection) ,but also because I thought I’d identified the geeky gutlessness in the screenplay- the bedroom farce wasn’t raunchy, not because he’s adhering to bollywood censorship conventions, but because he’s such a pocket protector braces glasses GEEK!(and that was three years ago…nothing it seems, has changed) Anurag!! Go get laid. You’re at the base of the mountain of poontang that is the bollywood film industry. There are starlets in the North, Starlets in the South white extras people recruit at Leopolds, Gori and kali fans in the US waiting to give it away to the right ..uh…screenplay writer and director….call center girls you can romance and help make up minds. Other , miscellaneous girls , all looking for a good time and all these come in either sex(ie these could be guys too..). So git already.
Dev D…Ah Dev D! is an entirely remarkable film. It’s the most faithful minimal Japanese new wave oshima rendition of the Sarat Chandra classic I have ever seen,(heck chandramukhi is in Harajuku teen slut fake furs. All her costumes are inspired by hentai manga even if it’s the kind your parents can safely read). Its more true to the spirit of Devdas than the Sanjay leela Bhansali’s song and dance.
Kashyap and Deol(who plays Dev D) reach into their wealth of Drunken college student experience to produce a visually jarring tone deaf version of relentless banging that stays in the head (oh my poor head) like a nagging tune (tauba tera Jalwa…) is this what they call emosional atyachar?(emotional abuse).
Yet the film stays real. It’s the boy next door. It’s the spunky daughter.It’s the Delhi public school SMS incident. It’s the paharganj hotel(looks like won kar wai’s shanghai) whorehouses. And Dev D is a familiar loser. The kind that is a misfit in London (mostly from racism against the unfashionable jat types) and a misfit in the waterpump and well village. The kind that washes up as floatsam in the dirty streets of delhi late after the bars have closed.
It is this identification that ultimately lets this (very ambitious, little) film down. The charecters in it have as little sex as the real life charecters would. Paro’s promiscuity is exaggerated, as if the director is Idealizing her rural self into a sexually liberated villager.For a headbanger acidtrip the film is too nuanced.(and thus making it an INDIAN punk movie ,as opposed to a regular pink flamingoes…thing.) It also only goes as far as frightening pappa mummy but not far enough to get them to ban it.
Like I said. The geek is a wus. J