Yeah, we need some booze to down that, too Image: Twitter
Have you read Devdas? Or you, or you? The original novella by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay I mean, not the storyline of the Dilip Kumar film. No, this isn't a pop quiz, don't worry I haven't read it either. And that's the whole point.
Academics argue Devdas was one of Chattopadhyay's worst works. How it got adapted into films bazillion times — Pramathesh Barua's versions (there were three!), then Bimal Roy's, then Sanjay Leela Bhansali's (brace yourself, more on this below), Anurag Kashyap's DevD, Sudhir Mishra's Daas Dev recently, and many other regional adaptations (I remember at least two in Bengali alone) — is beyond me. But we are not here to discuss the novel, but Bhansali's the-then magnum opus (cuz he only ever makes magnum opi), the Shah Rukh Khan-Aishwarya Rai Bachchan-Madhuri Dixit Nene starrer, Devdas.
I REALLY can't do this! GIF: Giphy
Devdas turned 16 today — yep, and we got 16 years older — and it is already 16 years too late to mention that Devdas sucked. Big time. I don't care if it was adapted from a classic, the screenplay we saw was D se disastrous. And blame it all on the OTT acting.
"Gogo saab, aapka ghagra" GIF: Giphy
When Paro was like Barbie
Can we talk about Paro's symbolic diya, which she zealously guarded from getting extinguished? Obviously, she's talking about her virginity, which she's so carefully preserved for her beloved Deva. To say that nothing like the diya scene happened in the novel will be like saying Sanju left out important facts about Sanjay Dutt's life. But what is with her Barbie doll demure demeanour? And no, Bengalis don't say "Isshhh!" so often, and even if they do, it is not with that accent. I get it that flowing pallus are SLB's thing, but please stick to the laws of fashion when you create a pallu that's longer than the accepted length of a sari (Cue: Final scene with that burning pallu).
Maar daala — that Rs 15 lakh-worth lehenga! GIF: Giphy
When Chandramukhi was just a hapless trophy
I'd like to believe Madhuri had a tough time adjusting to the eccentricities of SLB when he narrated the script to her. I'd like to believe that just like the Rs 15 lakh green lehenga she wore in Maar Daala was bursting at the seams, she was, too, with the sheer desire to act. And she did, in parts, except SLB painted gold over it. Chandramukhi is one of the many strong women characters you'll find in Bengali literature, but the version we see in the movie is a mere apparition of the original. Why is she helpless? She knew her love was lost on Devdas but not for once did she lose her dignity. Yes, dignity in a tawaif, paradox much? Well, SLB didn't get it.
We should get the Nobel Peace Prize for... GIF: Giphy
When Devdas was an ***hole
Chattopadhyay's Devdas is a flawed man but he's not an abuser like SLB's Devdas. He doesn't hit Paro to (literally) scar her for life, he doesn't act like a douchebag because he's richer or educated. He's just emotional and makes terrible mistakes over and over again. Unrequited love and the guilt of 'what-if' pushes Devdas towards alcohol, but SRK is part Darr's Rahul and part Kal Ho Na Ho's Aman. His brooding doesn't make you want to pick him up and hug him, it makes you want to duck for cover because he is capable of physically hurting you.
W se WTF GIF: Giphy
When Chunnilal was an elementary school teacher
It was U se unnecessary, O se OTT, and W se WTF. The only thing that made SRK and Aishwarya look better was Jackie Shroff's acting diarrhoea. Not that Jackie is particularly known for his acting chops, but why the H (se hell) would he draw inspiration from Keshto Mukherjee (who, by the way, is great in that immortal stereotype)?
Whatever that was GIF: Giphy
Kirron Kher: Just no. Why did you do what you did? Don't you owe anything to the years of theatre acting behind you?
Burn the dance floor, girls. NOT GIF: Giphy
Dola re: The only thing SLB got right about that song is the white sari with red border. Wives of zamindars are not known to have ever broken into impromptu jives with their tawaif friends, and women of the household didn't start dancing like the NYC flash mob.
What the eff did I just watch? GIF: Giphy
The film was a cinematic failure and it failed Chattopadhyay. But more importantly, it failed us, the fans of SLB, who adored Khamoshi: The Musical, and were fairly enthused with Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Add to that the fact SLB was the assistant director on Parinda (1989) and a writer on 1942: A Love Story (1994), and all you'll hear is a collective "Isshhh!"