Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Devdas (2002)
PG

Just as Bollywood fever takes its grip on the nation, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Devdas" reaches British shores.

Based on one of the most widely-sold novels in India, it tells a story of love and tragedy in a way only Bollywood knows how...

In true "Romeo and Juliet" fashion, childhood sweethearts Devdas (Khan) and Paro (Rai) are lovers whose marriage plans are thwarted by their parents, causing a rift between the two families and leaving Paro to be married off to a rich older man.

Tormented by his longing for Paro, Devdas turns to alcohol for comfort, even refusing the advances of the beautiful courtesan Chandramukhi (Dixit). Paro, meanwhile, is miserable with her luxurious yet emotionally empty new life. Will the lovers ever get to be together? And will you care?

Well, you'd be heartless not to. At over two and a half hours, the film's epic scale may not suit some Western viewers, but those willing to surrender themselves to the drama are in for a real treat. The film is colourful, to say the least, with some stunning photography and beautifully choreographed song and dance pieces.

Being the most expensive Hindi film ever made, the costumes and sets are suitably exquisite - from the grand scale of the family mansions down to the detail on the women's saris.

"Devdas" also boasts one of the best looking casts to be seen on screen; stunningly beautiful Rai, a former Miss World, is unsurprisingly the most sought-after actress in Bollywood.

Beneath this façade is an exploration of passion, lost love, and social restrictions which, although it's treading familiar ground and gets repetitive in the middle section, leads to a genuinely moving conclusion.

This is definitely not your usual multiplex fare, which is precisely why "Devdas" deserves your attention.

In Hindi with English subtitles

End Credits

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Writer: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Prakash Kapadia

Stars: Shahrukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Madhuri Dixit, Jackie Shroff, Kiron Kher, Smita Jaykar

Genre: Bollywood, Drama

Length: 181 minutes

Cinema: 12 July 2002

Country: India

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