Dev: A middling romance fraught with problems

Dev’s the love story between a flawless man and an almost psychotic woman. He can say and do no wrong, and in keeping with the dark history of Tamil cinema when it comes to the portrayal of ambitious women, it’s the heroine who’s flawed. She’s beautiful, she runs an organisation with an iron fist, and yet, these films find a way to turn that power, ambition, into some sort of a negative. When it’s a man like Sanjay Ramasamy (Ghajini), it’s assertive. But when it ’s a Meghna Padmavathi (Rakul Preet), it’s almost dictatorial. Perhaps that’s why her organization’s called When she walks with purpose, a character says, “Adikkara madhriye poraale.” Such films have traditionally been about how the man tames this ‘unusually aggressive creature’, but here, director Rajath Ravishankar tries his darndest best to pretend this isn’t that film. The insinuation in Dev is that for such an ambitious woman, the man is somewhat of a dispensable creature, a sort of puppy she needs around her. Meghna’s a harpy whose bizarre expectations of a relationship torment this patient, perfect man.

The best romances are those where both parties bring something to the relationship. They’re often about two flawed people (who isn’t?) finding a way to look past the flaws, or helping each other rise past them. Such relationships bear the fragrance of equality. When one’s too divine, and the other’s flaws force her to almost beg forgiveness, it begins to wear the guise of a god-devotee relationship. I never truly understood what Meghna brings to her relationship with Dev, save for a supposed air of arrogance which turns bizarrely into unbearable clinginess. I think even she doesn’t get it, for, she keeps asking Dev why he’s into her. He keeps swatting it away with obscure answers. He says he loves her eyes (they always do). Then, he says he likes the idea of going on an adventure with her. And then finally, he almost resigns and says that love isn’t something to be verbalised; it’s to be experienced. The truth is, if he had something worth saying, he would have. Dev doesn’t want to ever admit that this was all about him being smitten by Meghna’s looks when he spotted her profile on Facebook. He’s crafty; he’d be a fool to say it when she has an unending list of friend requests. He keeps trying to pretend there’s something deep about his liking for her, that’s far beyond her looks, but all he can say till the end is, “Your eyes.”

You can read the full review here at Cinema Express.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s