|Directed by||Bimal Roy|
|Written by||Screenplay: Nabendu Ghosh|
Dialogue: Rajinder Singh Bedi
by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay
|Produced by||Bimal Roy|
|Starring||Dilip Kumar |
|Narrated by||Bimal Roy|
|Music by||Sachin Dev Burman|
Bimal Roy Productions
|Distributed by||Bimal Roy Production|
|Box office||₹10 million|
Devdas is a 1955 Indian Hindi-language period drama film directed by Bimal Roy, based on the Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay novel Devdas. The film had Dilip Kumar in the title role, Vyjayanthimala in her first dramatic role where she played courtesan named Chandramukhi and Suchitra Sen in her Bollywood debut as Parvati 'Paro'. Motilal, Nazir Hussain, Murad, Pratima Devi, Iftekhar and Shivraj were playing other significant roles with Pran and Johnny Walker in extended cameo appearances.
In 2005, Indiatimes Movies ranked the movie amongst the Top 25 Must See Bollywood Films. Devdas was also ranked at #2 on University of Iowa's List of Top 10 Bollywood Films by Corey K. Creekmur. 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. Forbes included Kumar's performance in the film on its list, "25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema".
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.
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."
The Soundtrack of Devdas consists of 10 songs composed by Sachin Dev 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.
|"Mitwa Lagi Yeh Kaisi"||Talat Mehmood||Dilip Kumar|
|"Kisko Khabar Thi"||Talat Mehmood||Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala|
|"Jise Tu Kabool Karle"||Lata Mangeshkar||Vyjayanthimala, Dilip Kumar|
|"Ab Aage Teri Marzi"||Lata Mangeshkar||Vyjayanthimala|
|"O Aane Wale Ruk Ja"||Lata Mangeshkar||Vyjayanthimala|
|"Woh Na Ayenge Paltkar"||Mubarak Begum||Vyjayanthimala|
|"Aan Milo Aan Milo"||Manna Dey and Geeta Dutt||Baby Naaz, Nana Palsikar, Dulari|
|"Sajan Ki Ho Gayi Gori"||Manna Dey and Geeta Dutt||Suchitra Sen, Nana Palsikar, Dulari|
|"Manzil Ki Chah Mein"||Mohammad Rafi and Chorus||Suchitra Sen, Vyjayanthimala|
|"O Albele Panchi"||Asha Bhosle and Usha Mangeshkar||Baby Naaz|
|3rd National Film Awards||Certificate of Merit for the Third Best Feature Film in Hindi||Bimal Roy||Won||Behalf of Bimal Roy Productions|
|4th Filmfare Awards
|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|