Bollywood Rewind | Devdas: Of pride that ruins love

When he pushes her away, Parvati’s pride takes precedence and she decides to move on but her love for Devdas runs deep. For generations, we have often heard the phrase ‘love trumps everything’ but when it comes to tragic love stories, it is often pride that ruins everything. Paro shows courage when it comes to claiming her love for Devdas but he does not reciprocate the gesture. Their long conversations about heartbreak, love and life push the audience into a world where they can foresee Devdas’ tragic end, but are still unprepared for it when it happens. In his autobiography, Dilip Kumar: The Substance and the Shadow, he wrote, “I won’t go into details but it troubled me initially to experiment with the rendering of a character who carried a heavy measure of pain and despondency under the skin and could mislead the more vulnerable youth to believe that alcoholism offered the best escape from the pain of losing in love.”
Dilip Kumar takes that pain of lost love and pours it out as he opens up about his tragic life to Vyjayanthimala’s Chandramukhi, who falls in love with him as soon as she meets him but does not expect anything in return. It doesn’t allow them to grow in life and even the presence of its mere memory is enough to decay their souls. (Photo: Express Archives)
Watching the film today, their love feels toxic. His hold over her is so overpowering that he does not hesitate in hitting her, just because she wouldn’t follow his instructions. This was the film that earned him the title of ‘Tragedy King’ and watching his interpretation of the character is so heart-wrenching that one can’t help but tear up.×1.png
Set in the pre-independence era in Bengal, Roy’s film opens with Devdas and Parvati’s childhood. Parvati, too, does not let him walk all over her and knows how to level the playing field, even when it is for trivial matters. Bimal Roy’s Devdas focuses on the three primary characters of the story. This week, we revisit Bimal Roy’s 1955 film Devdas. A large part of the present generation associates Devdas with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s mega epic that starred Shah Rukh Khan in the titular role but for anyone who came before that, this was the role that catapulted legendary actor Dilip Kumar into superstar status. Their conflicts, their love and their tragedy is all a result of their own actions, which gives them the ownership of their story, unlike the Bhansali version where a lot of conflicts were introduced via secondary characters. She puts herself out there and expects similar courage from Devdas, who turns out to be a coward in love. Bollywood Rewind | Baiju Bawra | Shree 420 | Pyaasa | CID | Madhumati | Naya Daur | Awara | Sharada | Do Aankhen Barah Haath | Bandini | Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam
Devdas is streaming on Prime Video and ShemarooMe. While the generalisations of gender-related stereotypes are extremely outdated, these conversations work within the confines of this story. Devdas is a gullible man who ends up taking rash decisions that ultimately harm him. 📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. While Paro and Devdas are both stubborn, it is only Chandramukhi who believes in the power of sacrifice. Devdas is based on Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel but the film was adapted for the screen by Nabendhu Ghosh. They also work because of the impeccable hold that Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala have on their characters as they recite those dialogues that echo in your head for days. In this weekly column, we revisit gems from the golden years of Hindi cinema. Sen was a renowned Bengali actor at the time and this marked her Hindi film debut. © IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd


Bollywood Rewind The film’s dialogues by Rajinder Singh Bedi have achieved cult status over the years. Roy allows his characters to take centre stage and drive the narrative which gets heavier by the minute. The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards. In a significant scene in the film, Devdas tells the courtesan Chandramukhi that a woman’s heart is extremely restless, she can never make up her mind, which in turn deeply reflects on the fickle-mindedness of his own character. Sen is exemplary in the scene when she tells off Devdas near the river bank after he has toyed enough with her feelings. Late actor Dilip Kumar was troubled by the thought that Devdas could probably misdirect the youth into taking up alcohol if they ever failed in love. Devdas’ alcoholism, which has since been romanticised, comes into effect as he goes down into the whirlpool of despair. (Photo: Express Archives)
Parvati, played by Suchitra Sen, loves Devdas immensely and unlike the women of those times, she isn’t afraid of society to claim her love. And it is this pride that is the central conflict of Bimal Roy’s 1955 film Devdas starring Dilip Kumar, Suchitra Sen and Vyjayanthimala. (Photo: Express Archives)
Over the years, Devdas has been re-imagined on various occasions by many filmmakers and while each maker has their own spin on the tale, Roy’s version shines because of its dialogues and performance by Dilip Kumar. He is the spoiled brat of the rich zamindar family and she is the innocent girl who follows him like his protector. It is the timeless quality of Chattopadhyay’s story that has kept Devdas relevant even in 2021 and while the protagonist here is not a hero in any way, he is still a cautionary tale for jolted lovers. So, when Devdas uses harsh words to discredit Paro’s feelings, it cuts deep, and this wound destroys their relationship forever. His loneliness, after he leaves his family and discards Paro, makes him numb and he holds on to that feeling of numbness by indulging in perpetual drinking. When Chandramukhi says that men like to announce their love from the rooftops, but don’t really know how to love a woman, Devdas does not get it. Chandramukhi says that even if a man has destroyed his own love story, he will end up cursing the woman for breaking his heart. They are inseparable and have the kind of love for each other that does not really need words to express itself. In many old interviews, Ghosh had shared that the film’s team wanted Meena Kumari as Paro and Nargis as Chandramukhi but after many casting changes, they landed on Sen and Vyjayanthimala for the two roles. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
For all the latest Entertainment News, download Indian Express App. Written by Sampada Sharma
| New Delhi |

July 10, 2021 8:21:12 am

Bollywood Rewind revisits Bimal Roy's Devdas.