This remake of Barua’s Devdas which Roy had shot in 1935 is dedicated to Barua and to K.L. Saigal. Roy’s version is presented as a formal/technical modernisation of the famous legend, allowing for an extensive use of deep focus and the naturalist underacting of both Dilip Kumar and Motilal, the latter in the role of the corrupting sidekick, Chunni Babu. Paro is played by the Bengali star S. Sen, and Vyjayanthimala is the prostitute Chandramukhi, each bringing with them the connotations accumulated in their respective generic star images. The new approach provides a more resonant historical background to a story usually focused almost exclusively on Devdas’s psychological obsessions. In the famous train sequences when Devdas runs away from himself, eventually to die at Paro’s doorstep, Roy’s version conveys the sense of a savagely tragic journey through an Indian nation determined to rule out the possibility of the hero finding happiness.
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The film is based on the Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay novel of the same name. Read More