Understanding Devdas

The story of Devdas has got to be one of the most popular tales to have been embraced by Indian cinema. There have been a number of versions in a variety of languages. Some movie versions have remained largely faithful to Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s original novella, while others have added their own twists and turns, reinterpreting the original story to suit the demands of the time period in which they were set.

Dilip Kumar & Shahrukh Khan as Devdas. Photo Courtesy: IBN Live.

This week, we at TCRC bring you a couple of pieces of academic writing on Devdas. The first is “The Devdas Phenomenon” by Corey K Creekmur, who is the head of Film Studies at the University of Iowa. He writes about the three versions of Devdas in Hindi cinema and also, discusses the original book on which these interpretations were based (click here to read his paper).

The second is “Devdas: India’s Emasculated Hero, Sado-masochism and Colonialism” by Poonam Arora, who is a professor of English at the University of Michigan – Dearborn. She writes about how the “Devdas narrative discursively construct a prototypical colonial male subjectivity.” (click here to read her paper).

And here’s a clip from PC Barua’s “Devdas”. This was released in 1935.

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