There's a major difference between K.L. Saigal, Dilip Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan and Abhay Deol's Devdas. The first three films were faithful to Sarat Chandra's legendary novella, while Anurag Kashyap's deviant take on Devdas is contemporary and in the process, differs from the original work.
In Kashyap's DEV D, Dev is into drugs and vodka. Paro sends her nude pic to Dev via email and later, wants Dev to have sex with her in the fields. Chanda, a hooker, indulges in phone sex mainly. Clearly, Kashyap's Dev, Paro and Chanda are audacious and rebellious.
There's no harm if you pick up an enticing story and tell it your way, but Kashyap goes a bit too far, crosses all limits and tends to get abstract once again. And that's the reason for DEV D's downfall.
To Kashyap's credit, a number of individualistic scenes are interestingly handled. Unfortunately, the proceedings gyrate from absorbing to boring to yawn-inducing. The writing [screenplay: Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane] lacks consistency.
So what's the final word? Does Kashyap redeem himself after the boring and listless NO SMOKING? Unfortunately, he doesn't. Watching DEV D is akin to doing atyachaar on oneself!
Son of a rich industrialist, who is sent away to London when he was 12, Dev [Abhay Deol] returns to his hometown and to Paro [Mahi Gill], his childhood sweetheart. Inseparable as they seem, a misunderstanding puts their lives in a tizzy; Paro is married off to someone else and Dev goes into severe depression.
Not one to take on responsibilities for his acts, Dev digs deep into drugs and alcohol for salvation. He stays away from home, but his finances still come from a doting father.
Lenny [Kalki] likes to live her life on the edge -- a rich student with a penchant for adventure. After a devastating MMS scandal, she's abandoned by her family and is forced into isolation. As a runaway, she finds shelter with Chunni, a pimp. With great determination and inner strength she adopts an alter ego -- Chanda.
As Chanda, she gets to be a high profile escort by night, while Lenny remains a college student by day. At this juncture, Dev enters her life...
Despite the fact that you know the basic plotline of DEV D even before the reels begin to unfold, what you're keen to know is, how has Kashyap executed the subject? The sequences between Dev and Paro at the start are captivating and the volatile relationship they share makes you realize that Kashyap is on the right track. Note the altercation between Dev and Paro, which prompts Paro to marry Bhuvan, who's much older to her, besides being a father of two.
Post Paro's marriage, DEV D starts going downhill. Lenny/Chanda's MMS scandal is straight out of life and the reasons that make her turn into a hooker are well explained. But the sequences between Dev and Chanda lack fizz. Equally sad are the scenes between Dev and Chunni. Besides, there's not much movement in the story after a point and the goings-on get boring. The journey to the climax is prolonged and tedious.
Amit Trivedi's music sounds good to the ears. 'Emosanal Attyachaar' is already popular, besides a couple of other songs ['Nayan Tarse' and 'Pardesi']. But there're too many songs in the narrative. Rajeev Ravi's cinematography captures the rustic look of North India well.
Abhay Deol is natural. Mahi is decent, while Kalki shows sparks in a few scenes only. The balance cast, including the actor playing Chunni, are strictly okay.
On the whole, DEV D is NO SMOKING II. Does one elaborate more?