Film Review: Daas Dev

‘A Reverse Flick’ 

Even the most honourable of intentions at the planning stage will not always result in an acceptable finished product. Sudhir Mishra’s ‘Daas Dev’ comes to us on screen more than a decade aafter he had conceptualised a modern-day version of the 1917 Bengali classic Devdas by Sarat Chandra Chatterjee (Chattopadhyay).

The text at the opening informs us that the film is indebted to – besides the author, Shakespeare’s time-honored Hamlet and the filmmaker’s grandfather Dwarka Prasad Mishra’s, a former Chief Minister.

Rahul Bhat (Dev) is the self-destructive Dev who takes to swigging from the bottle after his politician father Vishambhar Pratap Chauhan (one of Anurag Kashyap’s rare appearances in front of the camera) is killed. The director takes a crack, rather unsuccessfully, at completing the Devdas triangle with the vulnerable Paro (Richa Chadha) with whom Dev is besotted, and the scheming Chandni (Aditi Rao Hydari  playing Chandramukhi) who pines for Dev — in the process both coming off under-utilised and shortchanged.
Dec’s politically ambitious uncle AAAAZvdhesh (Saurabh Shukla) and the leader of the opposition (Vipin Sharma) make for a fine supporting cast. But it’s barely enough. While Rahul Bhat is tolerable, Richa Chadha has little screen space to showcase her talent and Aditi Rao Hydari has even fewer scenes.

Mishra’s attempted political thriller comes unstuck with too many sub-plots and a rather muddled screenplay. It’s a dark and brooding film, with shades of Vishal Bhardwaj’s films, especially Haider (2014). Saurabh Sinha’s histrionics and even the cameo by Anurag Kashyap seem to be in vain.

For a moment I found myself wondering – if Sudhir Mishra had included his onetime pet actress Chitraganda Singh, would she have essayed Paro or Chandramukhi!

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