Devdas
Devdas 1955 film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBimal Roy
Written byScreenplay: Nabendu Ghosh
Dialogue: Rajinder Singh Bedi
Based onDevdas
by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay
Produced byBimal Roy
StarringDilip Kumar
Suchitra Sen
Vyjayanthimala
Motilal
Narrated byBimal Roy
CinematographyKamal Bose
Music byS. D. Burman
Production
company
Bimal Roy Productions
Distributed byBimal Roy Production
Mohan Films
Release date
3 January 1955
Running time
155 minutes
CountryIndia
LanguageHindi
Budget5 million[1]
Box office10 million

Devdas is a 1955 Indian Hindi-language period drama film directed by Bimal Roy, based on the Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay novel Devdas.[2] It starred Dilip Kumar in the titular role, Suchitra Sen in her Bollywood debut as Parvati "Paro", Vyjayanthimala in her first dramatic role where she played courtesan named Chandramukhi. Motilal, Nazir Hussain, Murad, Pratima Devi, Iftekhar, Shivraj were playing other significant roles along with Pran, Johnny Walker in extended cameo appearances.

In 2005, Indiatimes Movies ranked the movie amongst the Top 25 Must See Bollywood Films.[3] Devdas was also ranked at #2 on University of Iowa's List of Top 10 Bollywood Films by Corey K. Creekmur.[4] The film was also noted for its cinematography and lighting under Kamal Bose, that enhanced the emotional torment of the tight-lipped protagonist played by Dilip Kumar.[5] Forbes included Kumar's performance in the film on its list, "25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema".[6] Although Devdas was a moderate success at box-office when initially released, partly due to its heavy theme and release of several Kumar's films around the same time such as Azaad (1955), Uran Khatola (1955), and Insaniyat (1955), it found greater success in re-releases in subsequent years up till 1980s.[7] The subsequent popularity of the film made the role essayed by Kumar amongst his most famous.[8] The particular version of Devdas is considered to be the best-known and finest rendering of the novel.[9][10][11]

Plot

Set against the backdrop of rural Bengal during feudal times, Devdas is a young man from a Minor Zamindar Bengali family in India in the early 1900s. Paro, alias Parvati is a young woman from a middle-class Bengali Brahmin family, but belonging to a slightly lower status in terms of caste, affluence, and status. The two families lived in a village, and Devdas and Paro were childhood friends.

Devdas goes away for some years to live and study in a boarding school in the city of Calcutta (now Kolkata). When, after finishing school, Devdas (Dilip Kumar) returns to his village, Paro (Suchitra Sen) looks forward to their childhood love blossoming into their lifelong journey together in marriage. Of course, according to the prevailing social custom, Paro's parents would have to approach Devdas' parents and propose a marriage of Paro to Devdas as Paro has longed for.

When Paro's grandmother (Sarita Devi) makes the proposal to Devdas' mother (Pratima Devi), the latter rejects her. To demonstrate his own social status, Paro's father, Nilkant (Shivraj) then finds an even richer husband for Paro.

When Paro learns of her planned marriage, she risks her honor to meet Devdas at night, desperately believing that Devdas will quickly accept her hand in marriage. Devdas meekly seeks his parents' permission to marry Paro, but Devdas' family was against him.

In a weak-minded state, Devdas then flees to Calcutta, and from there, he writes a letter to Paro, saying that they were only friends and there was no love between them. But soon realizing his mistake, he goes back to the village and tells Paro that he is ready to do anything needed to save their love.

By now, Paro's marriage plans are in an advanced stage, and she declines to go back to Devdas and chides him for his cowardice and vacillation. Parvati's marriage is finalized with a wealthy zamindar and widower (Moni Chatterjee) with children older than his young second wife-to-be.

In Calcutta, Devdas' carousing friend, Chunni Babu (Motilal), introduces him to a courtesan named Chandramukhi (Vyjayanthimala). Devdas takes to heavy drinking at Chandramukhi's place, but the courtesan falls in love with him and looks after him. His health deteriorates because of a combination of excessive drinking and despair of life — a drawn-out form of suicide. Within him, he frequently compares Paro and Chandramukhi, remaining ambivalent as to whom he really loves.

Sensing his fast-approaching death, Devdas returns to meet Paro to fulfill a vow that he would see her before he dies. He dies at her doorstep on a dark, cold night. On hearing of the death of Devdas, Paro runs towards the door, disregarding "purdah", but her family members prevent her from stepping out of the door.

The movie powerfully depicts the prevailing social customs in Bengal in the early 1900s, which are largely responsible for preventing the happy ending of a genuine love story.

Cast

Production

Dilip Kumar was Bimal Roy's first choice for the role of Devdas. Roy wanted Meena Kumari as Paro, and Nargis as Chandramukhi, but, Meena Kumari could not take the role because her husband Kamal Amrohi laid down certain conditions which Roy did not agree with. Nargis rejected the role of Chandramukhi as she wanted to play Paro. The role of Paro was already given to Suchitra Sen. Bina Rai and Suraiya were approached to play Chandramukhi, who refused the role for the same reason as Nargis. Ultimately, Vyjayanthimala was approached and she agreed to play Chandramukhi. About Vyjayanthimala's casting, script writer Nabendu Ghosh said:

"I did not approve of Vyjayanthimala [as Chandramukhi], but we had no option – no one wanted to play Chandramukhi, and we were committed to our distributors. We were in dire straits, and Bimalda's unit was big. He never compromised in the making [of his film]. That meant expenses. And we needed money."[12]

Soundtrack

The Soundtrack of Devdas consists of 12 songs composed by S. D. Burman and the lyrics were penned by the veteran poet-lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi. Some of the songs were inspired by the Baul tradition. Apart from this, it also features some Thumris at Chandramukhi's place as to demonstrate tawaif culture.

Song Singer
"Kisko Khabar Thi Aise Bhi Din Aayege" Dilip Kumar
"Kisko Khabar Thi Kisko Yakeen Tha" Talat Mahmood
"Ab Aage Teri Marzi" Lata Mangeshkar
"O Aanewale Ruk Ja" Lata Mangeshkar
"Jise Tu Qubool Karle" Lata Mangeshkar
"Manzil Ki Chah Mein" Mohammed Rafi
"Mitwa Lagi Re Yeh Kaisi" Talat Mahmood
"Lagi Re Yeh Kaisi" Talat Mahmood
"Aan Milo, Aan Milo Shyam Saware" Manna Dey, Geeta Dutt
"Sajan Ki Ho Gayi Gori" Manna Dey, Geeta Dutt
"O Albele Panchi, Tera Dur Thikana Hai" Usha Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle
"Wo Na Aaege Platkar, Unhe Lakh Hum Bulaye" Mubarak Begum

Awards

Award Category Nominee Result Note
3rd National Film Awards[13] Certificate of Merit for the Third Best Feature Film in Hindi Bimal Roy Won Behalf of Bimal Roy Productions
4th Filmfare Awards[14]
[15]
Best Actor Dilip Kumar Won
Best Supporting Actor Motilal
Best Supporting Actress Vyjayanthimala She refused to accept the award, as she believed that her role was parallel to Suchitra Sen.
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival India's official submission for Crystal Globe Bimal Roy Not nominated

Bibliography

References

  1. ^ "Best Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali – Devdas". Filmfare. April 2003. Archived from the original on 28 August 2004. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Devdas over the years …". YouthTimes.in. Archived from the original on 9 June 2013.
  3. ^ Kanwar, Rachna (3 October 2005). "25 Must See Bollywood Movies". Indiatimes movies. Archived from the original on 15 October 2007. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
  4. ^ Corey K. Creekmur. "Top 10 Bollywood Film". University of Iowa. Archived from the original on 29 November 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  5. ^ Dinesh Raheja (9 December 2002). "The perceptive camera of Bimal Roy". rediff.com, Movies. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  6. ^ Prasad, Shishir; Ramnath, N. S.; Mitter, Sohini (27 April 2013). "25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema". Forbes. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  7. ^ "Dilip Kumar films and their box-office performance". Indpaedia.com. Archived from the original on 18 October 2017.
  8. ^ "10 Iconic films that made actor Dilip Kumar a Bollywood legend". Gulfnews.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Devdas | Indian Cinema - The University of Iowa". indiancinema.sites.uiowa.edu. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  10. ^ "Why Bimal Roy's Devdas remains the first among equals". ThePrint. Archived from the original on 22 October 2021.
  11. ^ "8 Reasons Why Bimal Roy's Devdas Beats Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Hands Down!". IndiaTimes. 11 February 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  12. ^ "'I did not approve of Vyjayanthimala as Chandramukhi' …". rediff.com.
  13. ^ "3rd National Film Awards". International Film Festival of India. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  14. ^ "The Winners 1956". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 14 July 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  15. ^ Hal Erickson (2012). "Devdas (1955)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.