Movie Review by Alice Castle
Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai
Director: Bharat Shah’
Billed as ‘a grand saga of timeless love’ DEVDAS has everything you could ever want from a Bollywood epic: lavish costumes, fantastic dance scenes, beautiful heroines (Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai – Miss World 1994), handsome (but flawed) hero (Shahrukh Khan – of course) and catchy songs. At over $13 million DEVDAS is the most expensive Hindi film ever made and at just over 3 hours in length, shorter than many Bollywood classics. It’s been designed to appeal to a western audience.
Based on the most widely read Indian novel of the same name, this is the tenth time DEVDAS has been brought to the cinema – and Bharat Shah’s production is by far the most lavish. Devdas is a young man who has returned to his town after being sent away to study law in London. His childhood sweetheart and next-door neighbour, Paro, has been literally holding a candle for him ever since he went away. When Devdas returns it’s her he goes to see first, an act that upsets his mother and changes the course of his life.
Several songs, and costume changes later, the path to true love is muddied and the eternal lovers are separated by family rivalries and hurt pride. Devdas becomes a victim of the demon drink, and Paro is married off to a rich nobleman in a faraway place. At this point the film loses some of its allure – as drunk scene follows pointless drunk scene – and patience begins to run out for the miserable lover Devdas.
In terms of visual spectacle this is a wonderful Sunday afternoon film – Shahrukh Khan is strong and manly as ever – and the female characters full of charm and grace.