After his wealthy family prohibits him from marrying the woman he is in love with, Devdas Mukherjee's life spirals further and further out of control as he takes up alcohol and a life of vice to numb the pain.
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A young man and woman - both of Indian descent but born and raised in Britain - fall in love during a trip to Switzerland. However, the girl's traditional father takes her back to India to fulfill a betrothal promise.
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The son of Zamindar Narayan Mukherjee, Devdas (Shahrukh Khan) was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He grew up in the lush village of Taj Sonapur, where he spent his childhood, indulged by his lovely playmate Paro (Aishwarya). They grew up sharing a special relationship, in which they existed only to each other. Oblivious of all the differences of status and background, a bond that would never break grew between them. Slowly, it changed to love but it was still unsaid. But the reverie was broken when his family sent Devdas to London for education. Paro's world crashed knowing that her Devdas would be gone and she lit a diya, for it signified the fast coming back of her loved one. Years passed and Devdas returned. Devdas was besotted by her stunning beauty and longed to have her back. But Zamindar Narayan Mukherjee (Vijay Crishna), Devdas' father, met Paro's mother Sumitra's (Kiran Kher) marriage proposal with condescending arrogance. It caused a rift between the families and even... Written by
Gloriously excessive Bollywood epic starring former Miss World Aishwarya Rai. Set in the 30s and sumptuously shot, it follows a lovelorn suitor's slide into alcoholism and despair
Bhansali's film boasts the biggest budget for an Indian film ever and boy, does it show. An extravagant tale of love, loss and serious drinking, it operates on a scale previously unseen in Bollywood.
Essentially a tragic love triangle, the story follows tortured Devdas (Khan) as he mucks things up with childhood sweetheart Paro (Rai), meets courtesan Chandramukhi (Dixit) and then drinks himself to death. A spirited anti-hero, in India his name his synonymous with a sort of heroic failure.
Everything about the film - costumes, sets, songs and sentiments - is larger than life and the sheer spectacle demands respect. The musical numbers cast Devdas and Paro as the mythical lovers Krishna and Radha. Cheeky, sexy and dizzyingly complex, the dancers display astonishing energy and precision, whole sequences shot from above to resemble the shifting patterns of a kaleidoscope.
Certainly there are moments of daftness. A half-cut Devdas resolves a financial dispute by setting fire to a sofa, for example, and nobody tries to stop him. But there's also humour, style and a conclusion that's plenty teary. As Western directors continue to look to Bollywood for inspiration this is a shining example how it should be done. Intoxicating.
Verdict Starts big, gets a whole lot bigger then gets twice as big after that, this is Bollywood at its most flamboyant. The song and dance numbers alone are worth the price of entry and whether you're familiar with the genre or not this is irresistible from start to finish.
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