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Total Film

August 2002

Link to Article on External Website

Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai
Cert PG

Rating ***

After its high-profile launch at Cannes as the only Bollywood movie to ever make the Official Selection, Devdas, the most expensive Hindi epic ever made - is being hurried out by its UK distributors. Which is a shame, as more time and some clever marketing could have yielded Britain's first subcontinent crossover smash.

In the long tradition of Hindi cinema, Devdas (based on a frequently-filmed classic Indian novel) is a song-and-dance spectacular revolving around a heart-tugging tale of thwarted love and hedonistic decline. Devdas (Shahrukh Khan) and Paro (Aishwarya Rai) are Romeo And Juliet-style lovers who embark on separate paths of ruin after his toffee-nosed parents stop them marrying.

With sumptuous sets and costumes, flamboyant musical set-pieces, acting that verges on hysteria and the stunningly beautiful Rai (Miss World 1994) to gawp at, this makes for breathtaking, if long-winded, cinema (the mid-section in particular suffers from flab). That said, if moviegoers can pass the endurance test, they're in for a real treat.

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