Devdas (2002) Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai, Jackie Shroff (184 min).

The doomed love between Devdas (Shah Rukh Khan) and his childhood sweetheart, Paro (Aishwarya Rai) and a beautiful courtesan’s (Madhuri Dixit) unrequited love for Devdas is recounted in an epic period romance. This classic of early 20th century Bengali literature echoes stories from Hindu mythology, and with its hero and heroines yearning across class and caste barriers, it is as well-known in India as Romeo and Juliet in the West. Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali created a lush fantasy setting in the studio, reminiscent of the glory days of the MGM musical. The most expensive film ever made in India is a pleasure best enjoyed on the big screen. A stunning score highlights Rai and Dixit’s superb classically derived dancing. Khan is an unabashedly emotional actor in a decidedly non-Hollywood style and his self-destructive misery as Devdas dominates the gorgeous, irony-free, non-CGI spectacle of the sort that Western film has largely abandoned.


A poem by Moviediva, jr.


The sky was a vivid blue
With puffy clouds
Like lemon meringue
On top of a pie

The air was so thick with water
That you could drink it
The sun was as bright as new money
It stung my eyes as I sat in the cool car

It was July of 2002
School was out
My dad was out as well,
Out of town

This meant major movie party
For me and my mom
So we carried on to Cary
To enjoy the Cinema

I was ecstatic
I was nervous
I love finding new places
Where they make movies

My whole body seemed to vibrate as
My leg bounced up and down in the car
My heart was keeping a steady beat
With the pounding wheels of my vehicle

We reached the movie theater
I bounded out of the car
Like I had been sitting on a bee
For the entire trip

We purchased our tickets and went inside
The scent of buttered popcorn
Wafted through the room
And reached my nose

I grasped on to the scent
As if it was my last gulp of air
The sound of ice and soda
Rattled in paper cups

The line of people standing
To get in the movie was so long
The people at the beginning
Vanished into the horizon

They were all anxious people
Of many different ages
Light brown skin
And pitch black hair

Their rustle of tickets
And murmur of other
Languages signified they
Were not from North Carolina

They talked in English
With heavy accents
I gulped and suddenly
Became much more tense

The man at the door took my ticket
rrrrrripppping it
In to two pieces
Told me to proceed to 4

The line had subsided and
We entered the theater
Sat silently waiting for the lights to dim
No speaking much out of excitement

Several times I felt the lights were dimming
It happened so many times that
When the light really went down
I did not believe it

A slow quavering note of music
Reached the audiences’ ears
Sending shivers through the crowd
The movie had started

It was a spectacle of color
The color was tremendous, as
Soon as there was no other possible
Color in the universe, another appeared:

The black hair of the heroine
Colored blood red with chalk
Sheer white drapes danced
Hid rooms filled with

Rose scented perfume
Enormous palaces
Balconies covered in
Flickering candles

Bottle green trees
Covered in quivering
Drops of water
Covered the garden

Slippery clear pools
Of sapphire waters
Over which swung wood benches
Covered in vines and flowers

The green skirt of the
Courtesan brushed across
Crystal glasses filled
With amber liquid

All bonds to this life ended
And a whole new world appeared
It was like being trapped
In an elevator with a circus

The immense star power
Was so unbelievably incredible
My eyes would not unglue
Themselves from the actors

Then in a whirl of color and emotions
It was over. I sat shaking
With a jacket dripping wet with tears
Over the heroes hideous fate

My mind was buzzing
It was dizzily, spinning
With the information it would
Take a life time to understand

I staggered out of the theater
With my mom as wet as I
We sat in silence on the drive home
Our first Bollywood movie.