‘Devdas’ was a pretty freaking iconic movie. The aesthetic of it all, the songs, and oh don’t even get me started on ‘Dola Re Dola’. It’s a movie that I always remembered for the aesthetics, it is such a visually appealing film. It was actually because of the how beautiful the movie is to watch that I decided to rewatch it.
This time around there were just a few things that I could not look past..like at all!
Paro and Devdas have quite the relationship. They fell in love as kids, and despite Dev leaving when he was like 10, Paro waited for him and when he got back, they caught up on all those years of love. Of course, as Indian movies go, there was a class and caste issue, therefore Paro and Devdas are denied their happily ever after, thus beginning the problematic period of their ‘relationship’ if you can even call it that.
Initially, Devdas seems Paro as his property, and he comes in to take her, that too on the night of her shaadi.
(Yes, I’m overlooking the fact that her mom found a guy and got Paro married to him all in a 7-day period, it’s hella messed up) In their private conversation right before Paro is sent away, Devdas shouts at her, demanding that she go with him and no one else. Paro, surprisingly, does fight him back. She does call him out for treating her like property that he owns. The end of this scene, however, is the WORST. Devdas hits her with her jewelry and leaves a mark so that she too can have a daagh like the chaand. He also goes on to call that daagh as a nishaani of their pyaar. How about NO, Dev, how about NO.
As the movie progressed, their ‘love’ began to eat the life out of them.
Devdas needed something to ease the pain so he became a drunkard of EPIC PROPORTIONS and Paro well, she just becomes a heaping mess whenever someone says Devdas near her. The two want to be together, but are now bound by the restraints of society- somewhere in this mess enters none other than Chandramukhi. If you come to think about it, Chandramukhi is the real victim of Dev and Paro’s love story…
She falls for Dev but is never able to get him to reciprocate those feelings.
Chandramukhi begins obsessing over Dev and she even begins to idolize Paro because Paro is the one woman who has Dev’s heart
Soon, Dev takes over her life and her existence. She stops living her life and begins to live in the space between Paro and Devdas. As Dev’s health deteriorates, it affects Chandramukhi greatly since she’s so attached to him. It is also in this time that Paro and Chandramukhi FINALLY meet; their point of friendship- Dev. Their friendship grows and Paro uses her status to protect and bring Chandramukhi out of the place where society held her.
Dev may love Paro, however, he is unable to see past the fact that their love story is truly over, in the sense that they can now never be together again (as depicted in the film).
He becomes stubborn in his ways and refuses to listen to any voice of reason. His true friend becomes his alcohol; little does he know that it is the alcohol that will kill him. Paro, of course, could NOT tolerate seeing him like this, so she tries anything, from hunting him down to meeting Chandramukhi, which was a societal risk in itself. The two lovers are apart, they’ve moved on to other phases of their lives yet they are chained to each other, constantly dragging the other down. A lot of people see it as a love story that had a brutal ending, however, the fact of the matter is, their relationship was toxic. It didn’t make either one of them happy, and it left them living their lives not as happy as they could be.
We, here in the Indian Subcontinent, seem to have issues with showing love on film and TV. Paro and Dev did love each other in the beginning, but as time went on, it wasn’t love anymore, it turned into something that ruined their lives.
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Cover image via: Red Chillies Entertainment