Anurag Kashyap represents the new generation of Indian cinema. He may not be original, but a fusion of originality and intelligence combine in his latest, Dev. D. Kashyap borrows from Scorsese, Tarantino, Ritchie, and probably a lot more whom I can’t identify, but the way in which he blends these techniques is subtle, and works in the tone of Dev. D. Chronicling self-destruction, it shows the underbelly of both Delhi and human relationships. The writing here is good, fresh from all the other Hindi nonsense. Music also suits moods, and the Emotional Attyachar song sticks in your head.
Dev. D is about three main characters: Dev (Abhay Deol in a stunning performance), Paro (newcomer Mahie Gill), and Chanda (another fresh face, Kalki Koechlin). Paro and Dev were childhood friends, until Dev was sent to London by his stepfather. Paro wants Dev to come back to marry her and he does, at another wedding. But then, through a couple of skeletons rolling out of the closet, Dev shows his arrogant side and leaves Paro. Paro gets married to another guy. Dev gets depressed and starts obsessively drinking, snorting and hiring women. He is confused and that’s when he meets Chanda. Chanda is a prostitute who has a past and they both have experienced pain. Dev needs to think his life, which he doesn’t, and make decisions, which he doesn’t do. It all cumulates into a headlong crash.
In the acting department, the main characters are refreshing with none of the star status that would have pulled the film down. Abhay Deol acts with such placidity and cool and then transforms that into ferocity and rage which is a sight to watch. But Dev’s dilemma and feelings have been translated by Kashyap in such a way that the acting mixes with the gimmicks that Kashyap uses for us to observe Dev’s actions. Deol is definitely a good actor that reminds you of stars like De Niro in Taxi Driver, for this movie parallels that great one in its self-destruction concept. The fresh talent here solidifies our level of believing the story and Gill and Koechlin have good performances in a refreshing screenplay. The supporting cast moves the story forward for the main cast and they also deliver and don’t change the pace or mood of a scene.
Anurag Kashyap writes with his characters in mind. He already has the source material, Devdas, and he has taken the basic elements and thrown it into today’s world. Abhay Deol’s concept works and we are thrown into a look at Dev’s life with a harsh intensity. Kashyap uses the follow from the front technique I saw in Mean Streets and the Tarantino style of chapters and Ritchie’s way of throwing characters in water and it is fun to see this in Hindi cinema. Kashyap has made the smart Hollywood movie for Hindi audiences with an Indian story. And for a change, this movie isn’t laden with sentimental nonsense and isn’t too long. Good stuff from Kashyap and overall a movie that is bold. Maybe a little too bold, a bit unsettling at times, but it is refreshing.
4 3/4/5. (I don’t know why…just feels like it.)