‘Daas Dev’: Intriguing One-Time Watch With Too Many Plot Twists
Filmmakers across generations have been drawn to Sarat Chandra Chatterjee’s classic Devdas that has inspired many a screen adaptation. The latest instalment comes in the form of Sudhir Mishra’s Daas Dev.
While it borrows the principal characters, the treatment and setting makes it more like a mashup of when Devdas meets Hamlet.
Sudhir Mishra doesn’t waste time in pleasantries and hits the ground running. A quick flashback helps us understand the deep vacuum in Dev’s (Rahul Bhat) life. While the setting is a modern day political battleground in Uttar Pradesh, the characters still share the same traits as their fictional counterparts.
Dev and Paro (Richa Chadha) are childhood friends and their bond has only deepened with time. It is narrated by Chandni (Aditi Rao Hydari), a seductress who spins deals for the rich and mighty and quickly takes her position as Dev’s lover, fully aware that her love is unrequited.
Almost always in an inebriated state, Dev must clean up his act to be considered a worthy heir to the political throne of his uncle. But circumstances conspire only to find Dev and Paro on warring sides in the political battle.
Plots, sub-plots and new characters with dubious motivations are thrown at us as the narrative swirls and scintillates with intrigue and deception. Daas Dev doesn’t allow much time for brooding on love and longing. It’s a dexterously plotted political drama which, at times, appears over-wrought.
While Dev, Paro and Chandni try to outwit the scheming power-hungry fiends around them, Mishra has bestowed far more agency on them than the previous versions. They still seem constricted by the Devdas hangover. Which is probably why they appear phony and lacklustre.
Rahul Bhat still manages to hold his own and give his portrayal of Dev some sort of credible potency. But it’s the supporting cast that holds the film together with their brilliant performances. Anurag Kashyap has a small cameo right at the beginning, while Saurabh Shukla, Vipin Sharma, Dilip Tahil, Deepraj Rana, Sohaila Kapur and Ekavali Khanna keep us hooked.
At 140 minutes, Daas Dev, although is intriguing, is weirdly exasperating due to too many contrived twists and turns. Still, its an interesting one-time watch. I’ll give it 3 QUINTS out of 5.
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