Melancholy reigns supreme in "Devdas", a heartrending story of lover committed to self-destruction, a story penned by legendary Bengali writer Saratchandra Chatterjee and given the shape of an all-time classic by a master filmmaker Bimal Roy. The timeless Saratchandra Chatterjee novel has been treated impeccably by Bimal Roy in this 1955 movie that starred Dilip Kumar, Suchithra Sen, Vyjayanthimala and Motilal. Devdas is a film that grows on you and ultimately leaves you devastated by the tragic end of the protagonist.
Devdas is a moving tale that revolves around three characters: Devdas (Dilip Kumar), Paro (Suchithra Sen) who are childhood sweethearts and grow up together in Tal Sonapur, a village in West Bengal. Their association assumes the form of love when they become adults but Devdas faces opposition from his father, who rejects their marriage proposal since Devdas belongs to the higher caste zamindars. Paro is married off to a man who is twice her age with a grown up son and daughter while Devdas is packed off to erstwhile Calcutta where he takes to drinking anc comes in contact with Chunni Babu (Motilal), who introduces him to Chandramukhi (Vyjayanthimala), a dancer with a heart of gold.
Chandramukhi falls in love with Devdas, who is by now an incorrigible alcoholic, unaware of a reformed Chandramukhi's feelings. The drinking drives him to death, the end coming at the door of Paro's mansion. Devdas and Paro fail to meet and in that sombre moment the writer succeeds in evoking sympathy for the tragic hero, so brilliantly portrayed by Dilip Kumar. He was at his best in this film.
Devdas was Bimal Roy's tribute to a story seeped in sorrow, a most sensitive narration of a man who drinks himself into oblivion. It was Suchithra Sen's debut in a Hindi movie and she left a lasting impression with her controlled performance, her beauty leaving the audience in a trance. The three main actors were so sincere in their roles and given Bimal Roy's abilities as a filmmaker, they were bound to give memorable performances.
The spellbinding cinematic effort is heightened by S.D. Burman's music and a young Sahir Ludhianvi's enduring poetry. "Devdas", the one by Bimal Roy, alone brings alive the Saratchandra Chatterjee story, thanks a combination of really talented artists who signify the essence of pure cinema. On the ratings scale, four out of five.