After his wealthy family prohibits him from marrying the woman he is in love with, Devdas Mukherjee’s life spirals further and further out of control as he takes up alcohol and a life of vice to numb the pain. An epic love story set in the 1900s which reveals a portrait of love destroyed by class differences, family pressures, and character weaknesses. Devdas is the wealthy son of a high-caste landlord. His best friend growing up, whom he loved dearly, was Paro, the daughter of a low-caste family.
After moving to London, Devdas returns home after ten years to find that Paro is about to be married off to a rich landowner. Devdas sinks into alcoholism, and is later visited by Paro who admits to still loving him. Devdas film based on the Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay novella Devdas. Devdas Mukherjee, is a slacker, though sensitive and talented. His daily chore is to spend time with his childhood friend, Parvati, the Mukherjees’ neighbor, who belongs to a middle-class family. Devdas is sent away abroad so that he can improve himself.
Several years, upon his return, things have not changed, his dad still regards him as a slacker, though Devdas is welcomed by the rest of his family, the welcome could have been warmer had Devdas chosen not to visit Parvati (Paro), rather than his own mother. Devdas and Paro are in love, and hope to marry. But Devdas’ dad has other plans, vehemently opposing marriage to a lower caste family, and as a result Paro gets married to a much older widower with grown-up children her age, and Devdas leaves home, becomes an alcoholic, a womanizer, who is unable to get Paro out of his mind, loving and hating her at the same time.
Devdas meets with courtesan, Chandramukhi, and ends up falling in love with her also, thus getting her a bad reputation. Then Paro decides to talk Chandramukhi out of getting Devdas away from alcohol, to which Chandramukhi agrees, but the question remains whether they will act in time to stop Devdas before he self-destructs.
The joy-ride starts with all the glitter and shine of a Hollywood classic, it sails through the emotions and ends up at the death.. so real and reality is the biggest plus of this great movie. Its loud in dialogues as the feudal society of early 20th century in India was and is not overpowered with emotions… s the people from that class should have been (expressive yet graceful). Technically it remains the best ever Indian film and one of the best around the world.
Well done Bhansali. In acting Aish does wonders.. Madhuri has shown why she is the queen of the bollywood and Shahrukh khan has reached where no Indian actor would have ever reached.. I have seen Dilip sahab’s Devdas too and bowing to the greatness of Dilip Sahab let me say,”Shahrukh did it better than him”. Dialogues, sequences, frames, music and acting all there to give you a treat to watch.. movie in which one finds the glimpses of one’s own life… beautiful yet so real, harsh and sad… Devdas is telling us about love that end with tragedy, theme that has been revisited for many times in many films. In this case, is not surprise considering that this film is the fourth version of Suraj Chandrachaterjee’s novel to make in to a film. We better not to talk about the plot, because it’s so typical (and sometimes could bored the viewers), but I must admit that technically, this film is superb. Visualizations of the scenes are breathtaking and make you don’t have any complains about the plot.
It seems that Sanjay Leela Bhansali try to renew the old style of the Hindi films into a kind of an innovative and colorful theatrical film. I always believe with Sanjay’s skill on directing a movie (go watch “Hum Dill De Chuke Sanam” for instance). The score and sound track is enchanting. The outfits is gorgeous and so with the sets. In the acting department, Aishwarya Ray is perfect. The Acting diva once again shows her best performance, and much deserve for an award. Madhuri Dixit has the smallest role, but she proves that she is the living legend.
Meanwhile, the main character that plays by Shahrukh Khan, is applaud worthy but doesn’t more that. Better luck next time Mr. Khan. This movie is an excellent portrayal of indian culture. It possess so much strength and beauty and the characters act well. The characters suit each character perfectly and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie from beginning to end. The movie was very sad, but its a change from a normal hindi movie. Your heart soars for each of the characters at different stages of the movie. Overall this movie ruled, and I would watch it over and over again.
Devdas: A Byronic Bollywood Hero “Devdas” by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay is one of the classics of Indian literature, subject to many film adaptations in Indian cinema, including a recent psychedelic version of the story. Devdas deserves to be placed in the Norton Anthology alongside other great writers, due to its tragic eponymous hero and the insights into Bengali life. Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay was one of the leading literary deities of Bengal, he published several books earlier Nishkriti, Charitraheen, Parineeta, and Srikanta, but his most famous novel is Devdas.
Sarat Chandra was born on September 15th, 1876 in Devanandapur, a village in West Bengal. He spent his childhood in poverty and was constantly shifting from town to town in Bengal, and received little formal education. In his adulthood, he moved to Burma in 1903, and it was here that Sarat Chandra started sending his novels and short stories to Calcutta journals. The reigning author during this time was Rabindranath Tagore, who had a rumoured rivalry with Sarat Chandra, whose novels were much more understandable and realistic for the reading masses of Bengal.
It would be fitting to include Sarat Chandra to the canon of literature due to his indelible mark on Indian literature with his unforgettable character Devdas. His crowning achievement Devdas was written in 1901, and later published after some revisions in 1917, which included the more tragic ending to the novel. The novel tells the tragic love story of Devdas and Paro, childhood sweethearts torn apart when Devdas leaves for school in Calcutta, and when he returns Paro proposes they get married. Devdas, unable to stand up to his parents, rejects her, and Paro is married off to a wealthy widower.
Devdas, heartbroken after another rejection from Paro, returns to Calcutta and along with his friend Chunilal he seeks solace in alcohol and a courtesan Chandramukhi who falls for him. Devdas continues on his self-destructive path until on his deathbed, when he travels to Paro’s home only to die alone at her doorstep. This tragic tale has stayed in the minds of readers because of its seminal hero that can immediately be identified in the subsequent films and novels featuring a self-destructive hero.
Devdas is not a typical romantic hero, because he is unable to proclaim his love for Paro despite loving her dearly. In one scene in the novel, Paro boldly goes to Devdas in the night to propose their marriage, but Devdas is preoccupied with protecting her honour rather than facing up to the real reason she came to him, and answers with: “You must know that my parents are dead against this? Parvati nodded – she knew. She didn’t say a word more. After what seemed like an eternity, Devdas heaved a sigh and said, “So then, why? ” (Pg36)
This exchange highlights Devdas’ anti-hero like status, as he is unable to accept his love and rejects Paro, because of parental opposition. Even through earlier passages in the novel, we can tell Devdas loves Paro, but he cannot upset societal norms of marrying from another caste. After this scene, Devdas is chastised by his parents and he escapes to Calcutta, where he writes a letter of rejection to Paro claiming, “Another thing: I had never felt that I loved you tremendously – even today. I cannot feel any deep well of sorrow in my heart for you … Try to forget me, I pray that you succeed,” (Pg39).
This rash action by Devdas reveals his indecisive nature as soon as he posts the letter he realizes he is actually in love with Paro. He then feels guilty for sending the letter, and muses, “How would this arrow he had dispatched go and hit her? ”(Pg40), he later realizes his folly of upholding the narrow-minded views of the caste system, which an educated man like Devdas can see is wrong. Devdas is a tragic character worth studying in literature because he is so inactive and indecisive in his love story, which sets forth his downward spiral.
The reason he is indecisive is that the love of Paro and Chandramukhi is what drives the narrative, the situations when they confront Devdas is what develops him as a character. Devdas turns to drink when Paro rejects his proposal that they elope before her wedding, in anger he strikes her brow, “For shame Paro, I have merely left a mark for you to remember our last meeting,”(Pg46), this moment solidifies their relationship as the blood resembles the sindoor in the hair parting of a married Hindu woman.
With this rejection, Devdas is dejected and he willingly goes to the courtesan harem and drinks his sorrows away. Devdas begins to hate women and spurns Chandramukhi, who finds him charming; “There isn’t a woman on earth who wouldn’t deny herself this heaven,” (Pg92) she muses of his company. Later Devdas begins to care for Chandramukhi but he cannot love her as he is still in love with Paro.
He acknowledges his indecisiveness when he visits Chandramukhi, who has settled down and given up her sinful life, saying, “Perhaps Bou, you will suffer like Paro because of me,”(Pg116), the use of Bou, which means wife, highlights it is Chandramukhi who Devdas provides money and pleasure as a husband would. Devdas is one of the most complex characters of Indian literature, because the choices he makes are detrimental for all involved in the love triangle, as he pines for Paro whom he rejected, and Chandramukhi whom he also grows to like is denied by him because her low status.
Devdas’ self-destructive tendencies occur because he feels like a victim of the situations that he has created for himself. Sarat Chandra does not describe characters but puts them in difficult situations to which the reader has to infer into the character, as Devdas has become an identifiable figure in the many movie adaptations or of characters that pine for unfulfilled love. Devdas is a novel to be studied in a literature class because of the strong women that shape his character.
Devdas is an important novel to be included in a Norton Anthology book, because of the social conventions of Indian life affect the narrative. Devdas belongs to zamindari/landlord family and Paro’s family live and work on their land. When Paro’s grandmother broaches the subject of Paro and Devdas’ marriage to his mother, she rejects this notion, “The Chakravaty’s was a trading household.
And they lived next door. Oh shame! (Pg24) the class differences are ironically the aspect, which separates the two lovers as opposed to caste differences as both families are Brahmins. Sarat Chandra uses the differences to aid in separating the lovers, as Devdas is unable to face opposition from his parents and rejects Paro. Class differences also tear apart the burgeoning relationship between Chandramukhi and Devdas, as she is a fallen woman who Devdas cannot possibly break social norms to live with.
Chandramukhi nurses Devdas back to health, when she spots him during a drinking binge; once Devdas is healed, she asks to be his nurse, but he will not allow his name to be disrespected as Chandramukhi realizes, “She could help Devdas regain his health, she could give him pleasure, but she could never give him respectability,” (Pg116). The novel set in colonialist India, makes no mention of British rule other than the Devdas who is dressed smartly and smokes a pipe when he returns from Calcutta after his studies.
Sarat Chandra used his novels to highlight social problems of Bengali life, and in “Devdas,” he makes light of the issue of dowry. Paro, who is of age to be married at 13, and born into a poorer household, her father, rejects the social practise, “But Nilkantha-babu abhorred this practise. He had no intention of selling Parvati and making money on the transaction,” (Pg23) Sarat Chandra here reveals that daughters should not be sold as if making a business deal for marriage.
Devdas is one of the only novels where Sarat Chandra does not make an explicit social point to educate his readers, as he leaves the novel as an open text where readers may form their own opinions on the predicament of the eponymous hero. Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s “Devdas” would be a suitable addition to a literature book like the Norton Anthology, because he created the classic self-destructive hero for Indian cinema and, the original source would be a good companion to the films. Devdas is a thoughtful novel that allows readers to make their own judgement of the hero, and gain insights into Bengali culture during the 1900’s.
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