Remakes are far from a new phenomenon in Bollywood.
You could call it a lack of creative thinking, or simply a love for the
legendary films that were made before, but even though we know the end
of the story in most cases, remakes contain a certain essence that
leaves us mesmerised.
And so today. BollyCurry takes you on a tour of the grandeur displayed in one such remake. 2002's Devdas
was the third film adaptation of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay's novel
of the same name. Before this, K.L. Saigal and Dilip Kumar's adaptations
of the novel had set high benchmarks in all departments. Sanjay Leela
Bhansali made an ambitious call when he chose to remake it. This choice
proved to be a fruitful one as the movie was declared a blockbuster hit,
and was included in Time Magazine's top 10 movies of the millennium
The magnum opus was released on 1st March 2002, and starred the baadshah
of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan as the title character. Sharing the screen with him were beauty queen Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and dhak dhak
girl Madhuri Dixit Nene. A company of veteran actors such as Kirron
Kher, Smita Jaykar, Jackie Shroff, Ananya Khare, Manoj Joshi and Apara
Mehta rounded up the cast. This made a film well worth all money spent
on it, and it should be no surprise that with all that talent, it was
also screened at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.
story revolves around the male protagonist Devdas Mukherjee, played by
Shah Rukh Khan, who is the son of a rich landlord. The film opens with
his return home from London, where he had been studying for ten years.
While his mother Kaushalya (Smita Jaykar) eagerly waits to see her son,
pledging to be the first person to see him, Devdas heads over to his
neighbour and childhood friend's home, wanting to meet Parvati,
nicknamed Paro (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), who is also eagerly awaiting
his return. This sparks jealousy in Kaushalya, who knows how close her
son is to Paro and her mother Sumitra (Kirron Kher), and sets the chain
reaction for the rest of the plot's unfolding. On one side, the tussle
of class differences keeps the supporting cast busy, the other side sees
the budding romance between Devdas and Paro reach the level of
promises. The momentum for high voltage drama rises when this love story
gets noticed by all. Devdas' sister-in-law Kumud (Ananya Khare) poisons
Kaushalya's mind against Paro and her family as they belong to a lower
class, resulting in Kaushalya rejecting Sumitra's proposal of marriage
for their children. Humiliated and full of vengeance, Sumitra vows to
marry off her daughter to a family richer than the Mukherjees within
seven days. Paro is burdened by her duty as a daughter, and accepts her
mother's decision. Thus begins a journey of heartbreaks.
leaves his house in anger and ends up at a brothel where alcohol and a
college friend Chunnilal (Jackie Shroff) become his companions. A
kind-hearted courtesan Chandramukhi (Madhuri Dixit Nene) becomes a balm
to his melancholy and sorrow. Devdas travels through realms of pain and
falls into a debauched lifestyle, before coming to a devastating end.
was a movie where a lot of expectations had taken birth before it even
hit the screens. The film was not only under pressure to perform as well
as its predecessors, but also a lot of business was riding on it. Oning
to the brilliance of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's visualisation, the
remarkable acting by the whole cast and supported by the glorious
cinematography and the alluring sets, it was a small thing to attain the
tag of a blockbuster, even being one of the most expensive Bollywood
films ever produced, with a reported budget of Rs 500 million.
Adding to the charm of the masterpiece was the music. A mix of Indian classical and retro tunes, the music of Devdas is,
to this day, still a collection of wondrous work. While the album was
chiefly composed by Ismail Darbar, Birju Maharaj and Monty Sharma
composed a song each. Who will ever be able to forget the vision in
green as she danced to the semi classical 'Maar Daala', or the saga of a
lovers quarrel enraptured in 'Bairi Piya', sung beautifully by Shreya
Ghoshal in her debut as a singer. Another very popular song is the tale
of anticipation in waiting on a love, beautifully captured in 'Silsila
Yeh Chahat Ka'. But the crowning glory of the album is the festive 'Dola
Re Dola', which brought two of Bollywood's most beautiful actresses on
screen together, matching step to step, with a visual outcome that was
The film also garnered many well-deserved accolades. Devdas
was India's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars in
2003 and was also nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign
Language Film in the same year. The film won ten awards at the 2002
Filmfare Awards, including Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best
Director and Best Supporting Actress. Devdas also won five awards
at the 2002 National Awards, the National Film Award for Best Popular
Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment being one of them.
Did You Know?
- The music of Devdas
took 2 and a half years to compose as Sanjay Leela Bhansali wanted his
dream project to be absolutely perfect. Ismail Darbar did his absolute
best, and succeeded after this time. The recording of the whole album
took only ten days.
- Kareena Kapoor Khan gave a screen test for the role of Paro, but it was eventually given to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
- Seven hundred lightmen worked on the sets with the help of 42
generators, supplying almost 30 lakh watts of power, the most ever used
on a movie set.
2002 adaptation of Devdas came in an era of masala movies as a breath
of fresh air, even though the film had emotions running at boiling
point. From being a remake to becoming a cult, Devdas was never just
another movie, but a craft where everyone gave a piece of their soul to
bring this piece of art to life.
Writer: Nabila S.
Editors: Aradhna K. and Gunia K.
Graphics: Nabila S.
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