27 February, 2021


'Devdas' fails to excite critics at Cannes, will it sell in India?

Why do I want to make Devdas?" Sanjay Leela Bhansali confesses to wondering once while trying to find the raison d'etre for another remake of the weepy, eponymous tale of a jilted man trying to find love in the arms of a courtesan. The filmmaker stumbled upon a few answers. That it would be a "challenge" to remake a much-made film. If this is weary Bollywoodspeak, what about Bhansali finding a "mirror" of his father in Devdas? "He used to react to situations exactly like Devdas." Or, there is a Devdas on every Indian mean street. "Devdas exists in every male, especially every Indian male." Phew! This existential crisis was solved when Bhansali completed his much-hyped Rs 50-crore film, which, according to the official pitch, is the "saga of a man called Devdas who loved, loved and just loved".

Too much of love might not be a good thing after all. By all accounts, Devdas, India's priciest film ever, was abandoned unloved by the majority of critics at its showcase premiere at the recently-concluded Cannes 2002. In the cinefest, Bhansali's labour of love was one of...

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