Sudhir Mishra On Daas Dev, And The Other Hindi Films On Devdas, Film Companion

Bimal Roy’s Devdas (1952)

Sudhir Mishra On Daas Dev, And The Other Hindi Films On Devdas, Film Companion
I must have seen it in 1978-80 as a film buff. I think it’s a damn good film. It’s a Bengali novel and with Bengalis making it, they get the milieu really right. Bimal da was a magnificent craftsman and I remember his use of train and sound, I thought he brought out the whole idea of descending into grief and doom brilliantly. It was a very well executed film. It is still in a sense a very Hindi film, but there was an interesting element of truth in the work of Bimal da, where he would retain the ordinariness — it is something you can see in the works of Hrishi da (Hrishikesh Mukherjee) as well. You remember it for Yusuf sahib’s performance, Suchitra Sen’s face and that forlorn, tragic quality of Chandramukhi played by Vyajanthimala, who knows that she can’t cross the class barrier. I think Devdas is a very interesting pulp novel of its time, that’s why Sarat babu also called it a popular novel, and distanced himself a bit from it. But it’s a good example of how sometimes a work becomes bigger than the writer imagines it to be.

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