Actor Abhay Deol is on a roll with his “#makingwhatbollywouldnt” series on Instagram. On Saturday, the 44-year-old actor chose to talk about his 2009 film Dev.D, which was a modern day spin on the novel Devdas. In his caption, Abhay Deol appeared to reveal that it is he who came up with the film’s concept but it took him a year to get a filmmaker onboard for directing it, with finally Anurag Kashyap agreeing to helm the film. “Dev.D released in 2009. I spent a year narrating the idea to several people before I got Anurag on board to direct it. I remember people’s reaction upon hearing my narration, it was always, ‘it’s too much of an art-film’. Lucky for me, Anurag got it,” read an excerpt from Abhay Deol’s post.
Explaining what made Dev.D different from the other Devdas films or even the novel, Abhay Deol said he wanted to change the narrative around glorifying a “misogynistic” character – the titular Devdas – with his version of Dev. Abhay Deol added that the idea was to highlight the women characters as “strong” and “empower” them. “I had read the book and I could see that the character was a chauvinist, a misogynist, entitled, and arrogant. Yet he had been romanticized for decades! The women on the other hand were strong and had integrity, but there was still that expectation for them to love their man no matter what. I wanted to change that. I wanted to empower them, shed the image of the ‘good, devoted, woman’. It was time to make them independent, not defined by the man they love, or by men in general. Which is why Paro calls out Dev’s faults and puts him in his place,” wrote Abhay Deol.
While Abhay Deol played the titular character in Dev.D – Dev, the Devdas equivalent of Anurag Kashyap’s film. Actress Mahie Gill was cast as Parminder or Paro, who is Dev’s childhood sweetheart. After Dev rejects Parminder over affair rumours, she gets married in an arranged-marriage setting. Dev eventually learns that the rumours were baseless but couldn’t confront Parminder and turns to alcohol and drugs for distraction. He eventually seeks solace in an escort named Chanda, the modern version of Devdas’ Chandramukhi, played by Kalki Koechlin but rejects her too for her profession. However, he eventually reunites with Chanda, who has quit her profession by then, and Dev starts a new life with her.
Abhay Deol’s post took an interesting turn as he revealed that he had a different ending in mind for the film, which, however, did not make it to the big screen as Anurag Kashyap thought a “happy ending” would appeal to the audience better. Here’s how Abhay Deol would have ended Dev.D, if it was up to him: “In my version Dev gets shot by the police (he becomes a drug dealer) outside Paro’s house and dies just like in the book. Chanda does not fall in love with him, and neither is she ashamed of being an East European high class escort (again, in my version). She’s the strongest character of the three, and isn’t afraid of being judged. She does empathize with Dev, seeing how broken he is, and I went with the ‘prostitute with the heart of gold’ theme from the book.”
“Anurag felt a happy ending would make the film more accepted by the audience, and his twist was to have Dev and Chanda fall in love. My vision was too dark! I went with the flow, and even brought my buddies The Twilight Players to feature in it,” Abhay Deol added.