Anurag Kashyap's Dev D opened to positive reviews and the director can finally afford a smile after back-to-back flops in No Smoking and Hanuman Returns. What makes him happier is that women have warmed up to his unconventional take on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's Devdas.
"Yes, the film is indeed a radical change for the audience but it has worked in a positive way for us. I never wanted to make any demarcation between men and women while making the film," Kashyap told IANS in an interview.
While Abhay Deol features as the protagonist, newcomers Mahi Gill and Kalki Koechlin respectively play Paro and Chandramukhi.
"Some felt that women may be turned off due to the film's content and theme. But, hey, we are talking about Chanda and Paro here, two most important pillars of Dev D's life. And now when women are coming out of the theatres, they are extremely appreciative and positive about the manner in which the film portrays them," he added.
Was it the neon-lit frames, the drugs and the booze, or was it 'emotional atyachaar'
or the 'Abhay Deol equates to quality' factor? - one can't pinpoint a solitary thing, but the fact remains that buzz was catching up on "Dev D" as the release date got closer.
"'Dev D' was meant to be a film that would open fair and then catch on with word of mouth. The response at theatres has been just as per the script. I have been informed that after a fair start in the morning shows, the film collections started escalating by Friday evening," Kashyap said.
"My producers and everyone else associated with the film were confident that it would get even better. The word of mouth has been so positive," he added.
Kashyap's "Dev D" is the ninth cinematic version of the novel "Devdas" and takes a fresh, contemporary take on the romance that breaks all its typecasts. The film seems to have worked well with the target audience - youth.
"Frankly, 'Dev D' is my most accessible film. This is why kids in their late teens as well as those in their 20s have been patronising it. Before filming, I had deliberatively told myself that this time around everybody would get what I am trying to say.
"I had that disappointing experience in 'No Smoking' when people did not understand what I was trying to say. Honestly, I hadn't made a conscious effort to make an explanation then. This time around, I have become much more lenient," said Kashyap.
Still, one can't take the experimentation fetish out of Kashyap, isn't it? Even in "Dev D", he has played around with technology and narrative, albeit to a lesser extent.
"Yes, there is experimentation but to the point where it isn't difficult for people to figure out the proceedings. However, at the heart of it, 'Dev D' is a pure emotional love story, a fact that people are acknowledging as they are coming out from the screening."
(Joginder Tuteja can be contacted at email@example.com )