Devdas

159 minutes 1955

Bimal Roy's 1955 adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhay's 1917 novel about ill-fated love resembles a meticulously crafted William Wyler production—it's glossy and has strong if occasionally overwrought acting. The story follows the tortuous relationship between the rich heir Devdas (Dilip Kumar) and his poor cousin Paro (Suchitra Sen). They seem to belong to each other, but the weak-willed Devdas obeys his father, who refuses to let him marry someone from a lower caste. After the virtuous Paro enters into an arranged marriage with an older landlord, Devdas flees to Calcutta and drowns himself in alcohol and self-pity. All the suffering is staged with taste and a touch of poetry, and the intimate song-and-dance numbers that allow the characters to express their feelings are terrific. But the relentless tear jerking gets oppressive. In Hindi with subtitles.

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