Dev DD – A Dull & Damp Squib

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Series – Dev DD

Starring – Asheema Vardaan, Akhil Kapur, Sanjay Suri

Created by – Ekta Kapoor.

Written by – Nikhil Vyas, Kamayini Vyas

Directed by – Ken Ghosh

Platform – Alt Balaji.

Episodes – 10

Before I pen down my thoughts on the show, I’d just like to say this – I have not read the original classic Devdas, the inspiration for this show by Sarat Chandra Chatterjee. My views therefore are not a reflection on his work but the show inspired by it.

My sole brush however with the classic is the 2002 adaptation on the silver screen made by the maestro Sanjay Leela Bhansali, starring Shahrukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

Prior to the movie all I knew about Devdas was that it’s an epithet inspired by this classic given to a drunkard, a wastrel and it did not at all seem awe inspiring.

Many who saw the movie and came to discover the story behind the man, like me did so for the expectations of the magnum opus were quite high, given the kind of niche Mr. Bhansali had established for himself and of course the star cast. And by extension, there were a lot of people who came to sympathize with the ‘tragedy’ that is supposed to be Devdas.

I, on the other hand simply could not for the life of me seem to sympathize with him…to me Devdas isn’t the epitome of tragedy, to me what he is, is the very definition of a spineless weak man who could not dare fight for his love and who chose to wallow and drown himself in drinks than do something about his life….

I cannot therefore call him anything except a douchebag, a man who sabotaged his own life and wished people would understand what a sorry fellow he is…yeah, my sympathies cannot be evoked for such a creature.

So…I wondered exactly what would this adaptation of that classic be like which reversed the roles of the three main characters, central amidst which is the narrator, who can neither inspire empathy nor sympathy.

Aashmeema Vardhan plays Devika Dharam Dwivedi, a girl who wears her heart on her sleeves, is as badass as she can get and who doesn’t feel shy to mouth the words “condom” and “sanitary napkins” as she purchases them even if the vendor who sells them to her does.

It is supposed to be what a modern 21st century girl is supposed to be as per the writers and the director I suppose. Nothing wrong in having a girl mouth those terms openly…only I wish it weren’t then pointed out what a big deal it is for her to do so…kinda kills the whole point for me.

Moving on.

Devika meets Parth at her sister’s wedding and sparks immediately fly….they end up kissing within hours of meeting for the first time and there’s no holding back for the couple thereon.

Lending Devika and Parth, a place to shack up, literally, is her best friend Chandni, the counterpart of Chunnilal who also happens to be a lesbian.

Devika and Parth go kaput eventually and it’s not surprising.

A heartbroken Devika deals with the depression of losing her fuckboy with alcohol, picking random fights with strangers and embarassing herself and her parents in the process.

Which eventually causes her to cross paths with Anurag Rana, played by Sanjay Suri.

And at this point I finally gave up on this show and it’s story. Because not once did it move me to watch Devika weep or drown herself in the bottle, neither was anything that could be termed as pathos about her woes… pathetic more like it seemed to be the only word coming to me.

And though that is the point of Devdas, to have a pathetic loser for a protagonist; it was the end of my patience with this pretentious and dumb character and her awful story.

As I watched her, I didn’t wonder what tragedy would befall next in this story but thought how is this girl purchasing herself booze and condoms without making a living? How does she manage to have packets of cigarettes when her mother can’t even bring herself to utter the word bra? 

If she has no job, is from an average middle class family how does she manage to order expensive bras online without her parents paying for it? 

Exactly where did she find herself this inexhaustible supply of cash and how do I manage to get my hands on it too? 

Was it that she found some serious dough when last year Mr. Narendra Modi, the honorary Prime Minister of India announced demonetization and people threw away literally crores and crores of black money just to avoid getting under the radar of Income Tax department’s scrutiny. 

Ratings – do I seriously have to spell it anymore?… minus 

 

 

 

Thoughts on Dev DD Promo| Director Ken Ghosh | Sanjay Suri, Aasheema Vardhan

Illustration by Hayley Lim via

Society in general is a two-faced hypocrite.

He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut is the mantra that it lives by.

A man’s sexual appetites are considered normal. His wildchild phase a normal part of growing up but were a woman to do the same, experiment with her sexuality, drink or smoke all hell breaks loose. Heck even the use of abusive language in a fit of anger in India, gets her tagged with names of all sorts. Whereas a man using words like motherfucker in his vocabulary doesn’t even cause anyone to bat an eyelid, even if he directs the abuse at his own family. 

So, this brave new offering by the house of Balaji where the female protagonist wishes to defy the rules of society and live life on her own terms, is indeed a bold step in the world of desi TV.  

While Prakash Jha’s Lipstick under a burqa still struggles to see the light of the day in its own country Ms. Ekta Kapoor and company have taken inspiration from one of the greatest classics of Indian literature and flipped it over so completely that Devdas’s tragedy is now the foundation on which is about to begin the journey of Devika Trivedi.