Abhay Deol was the one who pitched the idea of a modern retelling of Devdas to Anurag Kashyap.
Nearly seven years after the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's magnum opus, Devdas, Anurag Kashyap brought his own version of Dev. D to the big screen. The filmmaker showcased the modern-day adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's classic Bengali novel Devdas in a unique film format. Interestingly, Abhay Deol, the leading actor in the film, pitched the idea to Kashyap. Dev. D. featured then-newcomers Mahie Gill and Kalki Koechlin as Paro and Chandramukhi's modern-day portrayals, respectively. The leading ladies went on to win several accolades for their performances in the film.
Meanwhile, as 15 years passed since the release of Dev. D, Abhay revisited the memories associated with the film. He took to his Instagram page and shared the classic poster of the film, writing that Dev.D. has been out for fifteen years. Abhay shared that at the Juhu Marriott in Mumbai, he approached Anurag with the concept of a musical retelling of Devdas set in the modern era. The look of astonishment and delight on the filmmaker's face has always stuck with the actor.
Talking about the creative differences, Abhay went on to share that Anurag's ending was different from his. Since Dev becomes a drug dealer by the film's conclusion, the police shot him outside Paro's house. Nonetheless, the happy ending effectively redeemed his character.
Abhay added that if they had his character killed off, he often wonders where they would be now. For the actor, Dev—the drug dealer and original chauvinist—was hopelessly hopeless from the beginning.
Talking about the after-effects of Dev. D, Abhay stated that, in any case, after that, he didn't approach anyone in the industry with any more pitches. However, he concluded by writing that perhaps it's time for him to return his attention to development.
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After hearing the concept from Abhay, Anurag and Vikramaditya Motwane collaborated on the screenplay, which they based on "news headlines about Generation X" to evoke a sense of youth. Dev.D. was filmed in several locations, including Central Delhi's Paharganj. According to reports, due to a lack of funds for special effects, Anurag was suggested by Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle to use a still camera for the moments in which Dev is elevated.
The nine cinematic adaptations of Devdas were not something that the filmmaker was interested in seeing remade. In his 2008 adaptation of Devdas, Anurag aimed to pay homage to the original work while also reflecting modern values; the protagonist, Devdas, is a hypocritical sensualist who destroys himself without realising it.
According to Abhay, the tale is based on a book that he read in English. He also said that his portrayal of the character's demeanour was modern; he was very city-dwelling; he's a bit lost in his environment; and he's spoiled, obsessed, and addicted.
Many critics gave the film positive reviews. The daring visual style, experimental score, and novel narrative structure—which included chaptering the script like Quentin Tarantino's films—were the main reasons for the extensive praise of Dev. D.