Booze. Drugs. Women. The three evils as a “Famous” Health Minister calls it (the combo is also called evil and not Indian culture by certain elements of the Indian political system that gained notoriety for harassing women found pubs. But then I digress, thats a topic for another discussion) is the main star of this modern day take on Devdas by Anurag Kashyap (He of the “Black Friday” fame and “No Smoking” in-fame)
Dev (Abhay Deol), a London-return brat comes( all shadiness intended, it was mentioned in the movie too) back to India after completing his studies, to hook up with Paro (Mahi Gill) more than anything and tries get down to business with her quite desperately. (Please to be pardoning the shadiness inherent in this post as the movie did not any double meaning anywhere, it was the wrong (or right) meaning throughout) Paro isn’t quite the shy demure girl and is quite desperate for Dev herself. A misunderstanding between Dev and Paro ensures that Paro marries a widower who falls in love with her and Dev unhappily sozzles himself on Vodka and passes out.
Next stop, Delhi where Dev (who now is quite the drinker, doper and what else not) is introduced (now that was polite) to Chanda (Kalki Koechlin), a college student in the day and a satisfier of fantasies at night. Chanda has a colored history of her own, wherein her MMS was sent across to all her friends and the entire country and led to her dad committing suicide and fast-forwarded her to her current profession. Chanda takes a real interest in Dev and becomes a sounding board for Dev. She tries to make him forget Paro who is happily married as Dev descends further into the depths of Vodka and drug induced stupor and commits a crime a la BMW case. And what happens next is even more liquid and substance abuse, before the movie ends.
2.5 hours is a tad too long a playing time and it reflects in certain scenes which are stretched like rubber. Abhay Deol as Dev is the self-centred, egoistic, pampered brat and does a reasonable job, considering that all he has to do is to guzzle tankloads of Vodka and look suitably sloshed, hung over and haggard in turns. Mahi Gill is quite excellent in her role as Paro, who despite being rejected by Dev, doesn’t descend into sorrow and gets on with her life. Kalki is quite brilliant as Chanda though the transition on how she gets converted into a high class courtesan is hardly convincing.
An interesting aspect of the movie is using songs to further the narrative though they really cant be called as songs. Emosonal Attayachar simply had the audience up while the rock version of it was also pretty amazing.
Overall, a different off-beat movie but definitely one after sometime you wish it would just end, which isnt a good sign for any movie. One positive thing to come out of this movie is for the company Smirnoff Vodka. It has been advertised so heavily that it owes a debt to Anurag Kashyap. Well, one never knows, Smirnoff might have been the corporate partner for it.
Rating – 5.5/10