Banners: Saptarishi Cinevision,
Producer: Sanjjeev Kumar
Director: Sudhir Mishra
Cast: Rahul Bhat, Richa Chadha, Aditi
Rao Hydari, Saurabh Shukla, Dalip
Tahil, Vipin Sharma, Anil George,
Vineet Kumar Singh, Deepraj Rana,
Sohaila Kapur, Anurag Kashyap
Writers: Sudhir Mishra,
Music: Sandesh Shandilya, Vipin Patwa,
Arko, Shamir Tandon, Anupama Raag
Imagine Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Devdas and William Shakespeare’s Hamlet peppered with a generous dose of Indian politics and you have the story of Daas Dev. Why ‘Daas Dev’ and not Devdas? Well, as the story unravels, you realise the relevance of the title.
Dev Pratap is the heir to a political family from Uttar Pradesh. A witness to his father’s accidental death, Dev is now a raging alcoholic and drug addict. Though he has his childhood sweetheart Paro by his side, his errant ways take a toll on their volatile relationship.
When his uncle Avdhesh falls ill, he encourages Dev to take up the political reins. With the help of his close aide Sahay and his mistress Chandni, Avdhesh manages to nudge Dev into the UP political arena. As Dev struggles to find ground as a political leader, his personal relationships are put to test. He uncovers some unpleasant realities about people close to him and in the process of becoming Dev, the leader, he ends up becoming a daas to his vices and emotions. How he rises from the lowest moments of his life to become human again is what Daas Dev is about.
Writing a story that brings together two classics and flavouring it with Indian politics is not easy. Sudhir Mishra and Jaydeep Sarkar have managed to give us a decent story but the flow of events seems incoherent at times. The music doesn’t help the narrative much. The only element that stands out is the noise of helicopter blades at crucial points in the film. The locations capture the mood of the film beautifully. The length of the film, at around 140 minutes, is a little tedious. Also, there is a lack of emotion in the narration.
The film manages to impress in bits and parts but not in totality, thus failing to leave any impact. You’re left with the lingering feeling that the film could have been a treat to watch but it has missed the bus. In political drama movies, dialogue plays a vital role but in Daas Dev, it is lacklustre. There are a few lines that manage to capture your interest but that’s because of the actors and not because the lines have punch. Cinematography is good. Background music is just about okay.
Performance-wise, Rahul Bhat as Dev Pratap, the prodigal son of a political dynasty, puts his heart and soul into his character. His emotional outbursts, especially when he discovers his mother’s reality and later when his image of his father is shattered, are moving. Richa Chadha as Paro is sincere. She has her moments, especially her confrontational scenes with Dev after her father’s arrest and death. These moments are strong and impactful. Aditi Rao Hydari as Chandni plays her part as a fixer of Dev’s problems as well as someone who is unapologetic of her life decisions, with conviction. But, using her voice to narrate the story was not a great idea.
Though the movie is about the trio of Dev, Paro and Chandni and their relationships, it is the performances of Saurabh Shukla as Avdhesh, Vipin Sharma as Ramashray and Vineet Kumar Singh as Milan that stand out. Though Avdhesh spends most of his time in a hospital bed, the power he wields is evident in every scene. Shukla is a treat to watch, especially at the end of the film, when he reveals to Dev the reality about his father and the emotional roller coaster thereafter. Sharma as the opposition party leader Ramashray makes an impact. Though Vineet has a short role, as Milan who is desperately in love with Paro, he makes you laugh and even pity him.
Anurag Kashyap’s presence in the film as Vishambar Pratap, Dev’s father, is an interesting cameo. The rest of the cast has done a good job and have performed their roles well.