We at the PPCC are getting more and more pumped for the upcoming newest Devdas remake, Dev.D. They say admitting you have a problem is the first step towards recovery, and the PPCC should probably get it out in writing, in a public forum, that we think we're closet Devdas addicts. We inevitably hate every version of Devdas that we see but, like the self-destructive masochistic protagonist himself, we keep coming back for more. When we heard this new version was coming out, we had a private moment of, "Oh God, another Devdas... small yipee!"
One of the things we hate about Devdas - apart from the unlikable hero and irritating storyline - is how the films often mishandle the emotional tone: SRK's glitzy 2002 Devdas seemed to forget that Devdas is a bad guy and over-sympathized with him, Amitabh Bachchan's 1978 Devdasly Muqaddar ka Sikandar just made him a big wet woobie too, Shashi Kapoor's 1973 Devdasly Naina was self-contained if protracted in his morose moping (edges too round again!), and Dilip Kumar's 1955 Devdas... well, that version was actually pretty good.
Anyway, we think Devdas should be all about hard edges. He is, after all, the original anti-hero. You're not supposed to like him, but you are supposed to become perversely invested in him. Think of the other great anti-heroes: Amitabh's Angry Young Vijay, Harrison Ford's excellently studly Han Solo, the drunken and incompetent wet mop that is Konstantin Khabensky's Anton in the Daywatch movies... None of these guys are anyone you'd actually want to hang out with, but they're awfully fun to watch. And between the straight-laced brother and the rascally brother, come on, you always gotta cheer for the scoundrel!
So the most promising thing about Dev.D, if the trailer and music are anything go by, is that they've captured all the rage and horribleness of Devdas. He's not a nice guy, he's a total dick. But he's also quirky and vulnerable: so we get the howling hard rock of tracks like Aankh Micholi and the black humor of Emosonal Atyachaar. And just listen to how the terrible beauty of the love triangle and Devdas' epic self-destructiveness are captured in haunting tracks like Dev and Chanda's Theme 2 or the gorgeous Paayaliya.
There's a frantic energy to the soundtrack - an attitude reminiscent of Kalyanji-Anandji's best stuff where they combined Western sounds with more typical filmi standards and experimented with crazy effects: screams, snarls, ethereal female vocals and massive funk (right up Music from the Third Floor's alley!). The whole fun combination of Punjabi street sounds (Hikknaal, Mahi Mennu), hard rock-inspired growl-fests (Ek Hulchul Si, Aankh Micholi, Dhol Yaara Dhol), drunken horns in crescendo (Nayan Tarse, Saali Khushi), irony-loaded quasi-parodies (Dil Mein Jaagi, Emosonal Atyachaar) and ethereal weepies (Ranjhana, Yeh Meri Zindagi) is pretty awesome in its own right - this is definitely one of the most unique soundtracks we've heard in a long while (though, we must ask, why no qawwali?!). It's also HUGE (sixteen tracks!) and so a full feast of radically different sounds. This is such a refreshing change after those uninspired 4-track soundtracks full of whipped vanilla.
Here's hoping that the movie itself lives up to its huge potential and delivers on all the weirdness, harshness and hardcore punch that Devdas is all about!