Dev D (2009) Analysis – Defining Shades of Love & Lust


What is love? Is it possession of someone or being possessed by someone? Is it your childhood crush or the hot girl that you saw in the club last week? Love to be precise cannot have a definitive answer to what it actually is. When finding love people tend to go for the people they know and then most of the commotions in a relationship happen. Dev D is an exemplary embodiment of love which stems from childhood but turns sour with passage of time and then the destruction in the people involved in the relationship happen and in this case it’s our anti-hero Dev embodied by Abhay Deol and his love Paro, a character arc that is beautifully decorated with the sheer acting prowess of Mahie Gill. Kalki Koechlin in this abysmal love-story plays the catalyst as Chanda, a simple girl dragged into the life prostitution due to a MMS scandal which wrecked her life and left her stranded alone till a very generous pimp takes her to a prostitution hotel.

‘Dev D’ Rips Love and Lust Apart!

If the physical connection with your counterpart is extremely necessary for you to ensure love, it might simply be lust shrouded in love. Dev and Paro were childhood friends despite being from extremely the start and Dev being a brat had to go to UK for his further studies and they kept a long-distance relationship which is a big damn deal and is almost like being in a virtual reality and sometimes your virtually altered reality is different from what you expect. The sharing of texts and images become a virtual embodied of sheer lust which people call love and Dev and Paro go through this virtual reality relationship for a very long time and it kindled Dev to return to his native place.

The wait for Dev’s arrival and his actual arrival is a cinematography genius in Dev D, as the things are going to go extremely haywire after this. The comic and dramatic scenarios are simultaneously achieved with the various details of a person of UK returning to Chandigarh. The wedding of his brother is an apt occasion for Dev and Paro to get closer but what unravels is a thing of uncomfortable dramatic moments that hit the viewers hard. It might have been the first frame of Dev and Paro and they were making out which shows how lust overpowered them for such a long time.

While you think everything is fine and things are going according to the plan everything turns upside down just to make you realize that you cannot plan anything in love. A simple conversation between Dev and sister turns into a long drive and eventually making out to which Dev resistance is futile as the lust is an enchanting thing. Paro meanwhile tries to allocate a place for debauchery by asking his stalker like friend with benefits.

Breaking the Mirage of love!

Dev sits with Sunil who is allegedly having a friend with benefits relationship with Paro. Whilst drinking and Sunil started to elaborately character assassinate her and Dev falls for this and breaks the bottle on the person and metaphorically broke the love what was inside him. Trust, a simple thing wasn’t there, and it results in breakdown of the whole relationship. The confrontation between Dev and Paro after this turns extremely bitter as she sees him with a different woman and then everything built over time goes down the spiral of a black hole.

Modern day Devdas (Dev D)!

Today people don’t go to riverside with a bottle in a dhoti, they go for the best ways to forget what scarred them that’s done best by the drugs! Weed, Pills, Cocaine, drinks etc. Dev D infact takes it to another level. Dev gets drugged and drunk all day whilst watching his love getting married in front of him. He crashes the wedding procession by falling down on the way due to extreme drinking and the background score with Nawaz in the film of “Emotional Attayachar” is a scene for ages.

Chanda: A Curious Case of Being a Victim and Portrayed as Culprit.

Is trust and respect this difficult to find in this mean world? Dev D shows an underage girl fell for a guy who turned out to be a mean person and made an MMS that ruined her life and then the demise of his father due to this shock turns her world worse and she comes back to a small town where she was threatened of honor killing and she flees from there to New Delhi. The so-called friends did not even answer her calls for help, and she meet a prostitute and eventually the pimp Chunni. Who paid for almost everything including studies and then further studies while being a prostitute. Phew! This is how things changed Leni transformed into Chandramukhi a.k.a Chanda.

Three Strangers Interlinked with Precision.

A drug addicted Dev roams around the alleys of Paharganj, Delhi-6 scoring cocaine, hash and prostitutes. Chunni spots Dev and takes him to a bar where they do a relay of drinking and bet on it. Dev wakes up in Chanda’s room and flees from there just to get to see Paro and what he saw made him go beserk. He drank and did drugs whilst having flashbacks and then decided to go back to Chanda. This kind of making strangers meet is screenwriting genius. Chanda being a sweet-talking prostitute she sees the damaged Dev not as person to get cash but similarly broken person who is hell bent over being a degenerative drug addict. She is aware of his anger, and he shows all the narcissistic properties of a man. She asks questions that unveil emotions of Dev, and he found a similarly broken-down person. The conversation ends with lust getting overpowered by love for the first time as he leaves knowing he will be back. Dev calls Paro out of the blue and then they meet, and Paro gives him a reality check. She does not let him has his by not reciprocating the lust and Dev breaks down. Then she leaves tell his place as person in his life which shattered Dev and she told him that he cannot love anyone but himself.

Trying to Find love in Places Unexpected.

Paro leaves and Dev goes even more degenerative and becomes full-blown drugs addict just hell bent over being the worst version of himself possible. Dev reads Leno’s diary and watches the mms. She asks him no media did not get or anyone, but everyone downloaded it and got off on it. Dev and Chanda shared a bond which was already above the stereotypical lust, and they connected on a human basis and fell in love without knowing. Chanda and Dev meet again, and this time Dev is all done for help and hands his whole wallet to the prostitute and for the first time someone takes a stand for Dev and talks to him and understand his pain by sharing her pain with him. Chanda confronts Dev’s ego and this because she is over her pain and tells her exactly what Dev didn’t want to hear. But when he saw a person waiting for his Chanda he breaks down. The extent is so far that he crashes his BMW, and he wakes up in hospital and comes to know that he killed 7 people. The addiction kicks in and goes to Chuuni for drugs and he gives him the drugs and asks him to never come back.

The Downfall!

Dev’s father died and his brother who was jealous of him all along left him all on his own and made sure he didn’t get any money to satiate his habits. He went on a trip where he got robbed and ended up in situations worse than he ever expected. He has several epiphany moments and somehow makes it back to Delhi. There his situation becomes worse he gets beaten and had to sleep on the roadside, from bars opening specifically for him to getting kicked out of a small-time drinking area. He ended up with stray dogs. Dev whilst trying to find Chanda almost died with an oncoming car and has an epiphany to just go and wait for Chanda to arrive at spot where they met. Eventually Chanda arrives and Dev goes clean accepting his love was nothing, but an obsession and they talked it to start a new beginning for Dev and Chanda.

Dev D directed by Anurag Kashyap is streaming on Netflix.

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Shreshtha Shukla
Shreshtha Shukla
"Thou art the suffering from which unwarranted melancholia emerges" Shreshtha Shukla is a writer, teacher, and a film enthusiast.

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