Joint Commissioner of Police Dev Pratap Singh, a duty-bound, self-righteous officer, and Special Commissioner Tejinder Khosla, the balancing force between the political interests of Chief ... See full summary »
Joint Commissioner of Police Dev Pratap Singh, a duty-bound, self-righteous officer, and Special Commissioner Tejinder Khosla, the balancing force between the political interests of Chief Minister Bhandarker and Dev's commitment to the law, are lifelong friends, each with his own ideals. Farhaan, a law graduate, was brought up with ideals of non-violence and patriotism. Dev unwittingly gives Farhaan the wound that plunges him into rage and violence after witnessing the death of his father during a peace demonstration. Taking advantage of the situation, corrupt politician Latif sets the vulnerable young man on a path of violence and destruction that threatens to ignite the city. Aalyn is the light in Farhaan's life. Beautiful and innocent, the young woman also gets caught in extraordinary circumstances that transform her life and she dares to stand up for the truth. Written by
Well, there are a lot of movies that have been made about the Hindu-Muslim conflicts in India, and this is one of them. What is refreshing is the honesty some film-makers put into their stories - something John Matthan started with 'Sarfarosh'. 'Dev' is perhaps the most open about the issue.
The story is about an honest cop, Dev (sounds clichéd, but is actually much more than just that!), who just believes in doing his duty. Various factors hamper his 'mission' in life - factors which all of us can relate to, such as others' ambition, greed for power, skewed ideologies and plain sycophancy. I'm sure many have faced these at our places of work! It is this basic story, set into the current Hindu-Muslim situation in India - references to Gujarat are made, the police is hand-in-glove with politicians instigating violence etc etc. Various layers are added, in the form of personal loss to the good guy (and the bad guy!), misguided youth (a very well managed sub-plot, which is seamlessly integrated into the main story) and the inevitable romance (also well integrated into the story)!
The scripting is brilliant to say the least. With Dev (Bachchan) & Inder (Om Puri) on opposite sides of the fence on the issue of Muslims in India, their discussions are frank, open and thought provoking. (How well both of them acted is something I shall get into a little later!) This is an issue many of us would have debated with someone or the other at some point in time. All those arguments are brought out into the open - more frankly, candidly and clearly than ever before. All the exchanges are most thought provoking. Both sides feel fully justified in their stand on the issue, and for a long while, the viewer is left to choose the side he/she prefers. But then, Nihalani finally shows us where he stands, as the story unfolds further.
Nihalani really works his magic here. He goes back to his Tamas days, when Om Puri carried his mother on a push cart ('thela'). Here, he has Fardeen doing the same with Kareena, in an almost identical situation. He also re-visits the famous Banquo's ghost scene from Macbeth. Exceedingly well done!
Amitabh Bachchan stupefies me. He has totally re-invented himself as an actor. The angry young man is anything but that now! 'Young' went quite a few years ago (he's a grandfather now, for god's sake!), and the anger has given way to a smoldering frustration. He no longer raves and rants like he used to (it was the need of the hour when he did that). Here, he gives a truly natural performance - he comes across as just another guy, dwarfed by the system yet refusing to give in to it. He carries on from where he left off with 'Khakee'.
Om Puri is excellent as usual. It was 'paisa-wasool' all the way whenever Amitabh and Om Puri shared screen time together! Rati Agnihotri plays a small role, and fits the character well enough. Kareena is very attractive in a plain-jane look. Fardeen Khan seems to be in the industry only because of his lineage, and attractive looks. He is clearly mis-cast, as he seems to have been in every movie that I have seen him in so far. I wonder if there will be an Indian re-make of 'Mannequin' where he can play title role! And only the title role - the come-alive character would need expressions!
Kudos to Nihalani to bring out new and unknown faces - Kareena's friend is especially good. Unfortunately, I do not know the actress' name... Ehsaan Khan, though decent, resorted to over-acting in emotionally charged scene. I'm sure he can improve over time.
All in all, this is a very good movie and it is the script and the acting which really carry it through!
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