Defeatist but filmic
is love between a man and a woman? A passionate yearning to be together....
live and love forever.
stories down the ages have captured the imagination of old and young
alike. "Devdas" and even "Titanic" are modern
so-called love stories, although "Devdas" is an older
as Paro is a feast for the eyes in her glamorous sarees. Devdas,
adequately portrayed by Sharukh Khan, is an apology of a human being
who could neither make up his mind to marry his childhood sweetheart
nor make a life without her, even though he had everything: looks,
even a British (i.e. foreign) education, wealth and a prestigious
The best scenes
in the film, apart from the portrayal of young love in beautiful
scenes, are the encounters between the aristocrat and the courtesan.
Apart from the singing, dancing and fantastic settings, a high point
in the film was Madhuri Dixit's denunciation of the hypocrisy underlying
the way of life of the aristocratic mansions and their inhabitants
who frequent brothels.
influence of alcohol as the ticket to enjoyment and the high life
is ever present. The men sing and apparently enjoy themselves while
drinking and women serve their needs.
Devdas is only
admirable when he refuses to treat Madhuri as a whore, trying to
give her self-esteem as a woman. Apparently the most expensive film
made in India. (I refuse to use the derogatory term "Bollywood",
implying that Hollywood is better), the film can be enjoyed for
its lavish settings, costumes and portrayal of the twin worlds of
old India's rich and well-endowed and the street life of the old
"Red Light District".
The new look
"Savoy" has comfortable seats and the tickets also cost
more. However, the shiny terrazzo flooring and counters are not
enough. There should be shelter for the spectators queuing up outside
in the sun and rain.
crowd queuing up for the toilet downstairs during the Intermission
could have been informed there were clean toilets upstairs. The
management of the "Savoy", please remember the spectator
should be looked after since it is he or she who pays.
Step out of history
As a maiden effort Jayantha Chandrasiri
has strived to make the maximum impact on the viewer by his film;
visually as well as by delivery of powerful dialogue some times
bordering on hysteria. But the question remains whether that alone
can contribute to good cinema.
I came off
from the hall a bit tired. Somehow I could not feel the satisfaction
that was expected. The parts done by the actors and actresses were
very good. But when a very small sector (1664) of history is chosen
for a film, there is nothing very much one could do with it unless
a large budget is sought in depicting huge sets and accompanying
hundreds of personnel to go with them, as was done in Ben Hurr or
Cleopatra. So the next best is to use men and women; their emotions,
hatred, love, their dress codes, rituals etc, as they could be secured
without much expense. Well and good; but how far could one go in
making a film a success? This is solely dependent on the ability
of the director and what he wants to deliver.
What I found
most annoying in the film was the unnatural, intense, individual
and group anger displayed, alternating with loud and sustained laughter
throughout the film interspersed with rapid delivery of unintelligible
manthras and slokas. Also the characters are made to run at the
slightest opportunity. I suspect the director had little else to
depend on, to keep the present day viewers' attention, considering
the theme he had chosen.
me to the director Chandrasiri himself who I feel is obsessed with
history. He is ably assisted in this film by Jackson Anthony who
is similarly inclined. It is time he (Chandrarsiri) emerges out
of this cocoon and looks towards other vistas in cinema.
in the film medium have moved ahead by now. This is not to belittle
his former excellent work on the teledrama field. One hopes he would
come out of this fixation on history in his next effort.
He must be
mindful that he does not assume the roll of the proverbial "naked
king" in the face of all this media praise for his maiden film.