Devdas (1955): Lovelorn and lost

Devdas55.6.jpg50. Devdas (1955) — This classic adaptation by Bimal Roy is a much subtler retelling than the latest incarnation by Sanjay Leela Bhansali (reviewed here). Lilting melodies, careful camera work, thoughtful scripting and understated performances (Dilip Kumar imbues the title character with such awkward grace and forlornness, mein gott, while the rest of the cast are similarly never OTT) underline the story and not the spectacle (though SLB definitely made glorious use of the advantages of having colour in his version). It’s funny, really — in a way, it’s as though movie-making has regressed rather than progressed, as so much more resonated even though the filmmakers had so much less to work with. Ultimately, it’s not about the tools, but the one who wields them.

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