Daas Dev: Aditi Rao Hydari and Richa Chadha add life to this convoluted script

When films have a voiceover, you know it will (mostly) be a mess. That is the problem with Daas Dev. In fact it seems like director Sudhir Mishra added the voiceover later when he realised that no one will understand what is happening.

The story is about Dev (Rahul Bhatt) and his political family, his love for Paro (Richa Chadha) and the atrocities of politics that Chandni (Aditi Rao Hydari) makes or breaks. Mishra aims to beautifully merge two of literature’s finest works, Devdas by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and Hamlet by William Shakespeare, and while both seem to work individually, together it is a mess. What might have seemed brilliant on paper fall apart on screen. There is too much happening and it is tough to keep track. Mishra even aims for a very tragic ending, but even that is so convoluted.

Rahul Bhatt, who plays Dev, isn’t the perfect choice for this role. The merger of the original Dev and Hamlet is someone with a certain charisma but Bhatt is more confused. For me, I couldn’t see him take charge of his scenes. I just couldn’t buy him as the leader of a political party or even the film. So when the hero falters, the leading ladies have to take charge and they do that beautifully. The finesse of Richa Chadha is not something new and even in this film, you are able to see it, beyond the mess. Aditi Rao Hydari is also wonderful in her scenes. She plays a woman who gets what she wants by sleeping with those in power. But her eyes alone express the pain and even love that Chandni is in. But both these women aren’t given much to do.

Apparently, the love between Dev and Paro is supposed to be the backbone of the film but neither Bhatt or Chadha seemed to be interested in one another. In this mess, what is also lost is the brilliance of Saurabh Shukla and Vineet Kumar Singh. In fact, it would have been a better film if, perhaps, Singh played the character of Dev. What adds to the mess are the dialogues. They just don’t work, except one. Dev tells Paro how much he loves her, and she replies:

Pyaar toh tum baarish se bahut karte ho, lekin chatri toh kholte hi ho. Kaise yakeen kar lu tumhare pyaar pe? 

All in all, devoid of their names in the title of the film, it is still the women who lead Daas Dev.

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