Chandramukhi (character)

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Chandramukhi
Devdas character
Vyjayanthidevdas.jpg
Vyjayanthimala as Chandramukhi in Devdas (1955 film).
Created by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay
Portrayed by Notable: Vyjayanthimala
Madhuri Dixit
Kalki Koechlin
For more "Performers"
Information
Nickname(s) Leni
Aliases Chandrika
Gender Female
Occupation Tawaif
Courtesan
Spouse(s) Devdas Mukherjee
Significant other(s) Chunnilal, Kalibabu
Religion Hindu

Chandramukhi is one of the pivotal characters in the 1917 Bengali novel Devdas by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. Her character was inspired by the Hindu mystical singer Meera, who devoted her life to Lord Krishna; similarly Chandramukhi devoted her life to Devdas.[1] Chandramukhi is portrayed as a hooker with a heart of gold in the novel and its film adaptations.[2] Chandramukhi means "moon faced" or "as beautiful as the moon" in Sanskrit.[3]

In the novel[edit]

Chandramukhi is a courtesan who lives in Calcutta. She is considered the most beautiful and richest prostitute in the area of Chitpur.[4] She is first introduced to Devdas by Chunnilal, who returns to Calcutta heart-broken after the marriage of Parvathi "Paro". Devdas, disgusted over Chandramukhi's profession insults her and leaves her kotha. Chandramukhi, impressed by Devdas's attitude, later falls in love with him after realizing his steadfast love for Paro. She leaves her profession for Devdas and convinces him to marry her; he, however, has to reluctantly reject her offer as he has devoted his life to Paro. In return, Chandramukhi does not force him to be with her but waits patiently for him. Subsequently, she also moves to Ashthajhari village, where she lives in a muddy house located at the bank of a river and helps the needy. After some struggle, she meets with Devdas again, who now accepts her love.

In the film[edit]

In most of the film adaptations of Devdas, the story of Chandramukhi is similar to the novel. However, in most of the films her humanitarian work in helping the needy is not depicted. Unlike in the novel, a scene in which Chandramukhi and Parvathy meet was added in Bimal Roy's 1955 version when Paro, played by Suchitra Sen riding in a human rickshaw, comes across Chandramukhi, played by Vyjayanthimala, who just stares at Paro without a single word being exchanged between them.[5] The meeting scene of Paro and Chandramukhi in the 1955 version was still regarded as one of the memorable scene in Bollywood with the background music adding the impact to the scene.[6] In the 2002 version, the director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, extended the interaction between Paro and Chandramukhi, also showing them dancing together to the hit song "Dola Re Dola".[7]

Performers[edit]

Year Film Essayed by Language Other cast Notes
Devdas Paro
1927 Devdas (1928) Niharbala / Miss Parul Silent Phani Sarma Tarakbala
1935 Devdas (1935) Chandrabati Devi Bengali P.C. Barua Jamuna Baruah
1936 Devdas (1936) T. R. Rajakumari Hindi K.L. Saigal Jamuna Baruah
1937 Devdas (1937) Mohini Assamese Phani Sarma Zubeida
1953 Devdas (1953 Telugu film) Lalitha Telugu Akkineni Nageswara Rao Savitri Also known as Devadasu
1955 Devdas (1955) Vyjayanthimala Hindi Dilip Kumar Suchitra Sen
1955 Good Bye My Lover Molly Lim Malay S. Roomai Noor Chang Lai Lai Malaysian film
also known as Selamat Tinggal, Kekasihku[8]
1965 Devdas (1965) Nayyar Sultana Urdu Habib Taalish Shamim Ara Pakistani film
1974 Devdas (1974) Jayanthi Telugu Ghattamaneni Krishna Vijaya Nirmala also known as Devadasu
1979 Devdas (1979) Supriya Choudhury Bengali Soumitra Chatterjee Sumitra Mukherjee also known as Debdas
1982 Devdas (1982) Anwara Bengali Bulbul Ahmed Kabori Sarwar Bangladeshi film
1982 Devadas (1989) Ramya Krishnan Malayalam Venu Nagavally Parvathy also known as Devadas
2002 Devdas (2002 Bengali film) Indrani Halder Bengali Prasenjit Chatterjee Arpita Pal
2002 Devdas (2002 Hindi film) Madhuri Dixit Hindi Shah Rukh Khan Aishwarya Rai
2009 Dev.D Kalki Koechlin Hindi Abhay Deol Mahi Gill A modern-day take on Devdas
2010 Devdas (2010) Meera Urdu Nadeem Shah Zara Shaikh Pakistani film
2013 Devdas (2013) Moushumi Bengali Shakib Khan Apu Biswash Bangladeshi film

Social impact[edit]

Chandramukhi is one of the first characters in an Indian novel to deal with prostitution.[9] She was often depicted as prostitute with the heart of gold.[10] The character of Chandramukhi had paved the way for other portrayals of prostitutes in films like Sadhna, Pyaasa and Pakeezah.[11] It should be noted that even actresses such as Nargis, Suraiya and Bina Rai refused to enact the role of a prostitute in the 1955 film of Devdas, which later went to Vyjayanthimala.[12]

Legacy[edit]

Chandramukhi was well received in India by critics. In 2006, Rediff listed Chandramukhi in their list of "Bollywood's Best Tawaif".[13] Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India also ranked Chandramukhi at #5 in his list "Tart with a heart", saying that "The egotistical Paro may have given her boy friend the goby, but self-sacricficing Chandramukhi was willing to put everything on hold — her livelihood too — for her lover".[14]

Awards[edit]

There are many actresses who have portrayed Chandramukhi in film adaptations of Devdas. The first notable award was won by Vyjayanthimala in 1956 when she won the Filmfare Awards, known as Bollywood's Oscar,[15] in the Supporting Actress category. However, she was also the first person to decline the award, as she thought that her role was not a supporting one but was of equal importance and parallel to that of Parvathy in the 1955 version.[16] Other actresses who played Chandramukhi in Hindi versions of the novel have also won this award.[13]

The following are awards and nominations received by actresses who have played the role of Chandramukhi in film:

Film Nominee Award Result Note Ref.
Devdas (1955 film) Vyjayanthimala Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress Won She refused to accept the award as she thought that Chandramukhi and Parvathi were parallel roles and not a main and a supporting role[17] [18]
[19]
[20]
[21]
Devdas (2002 Hindi film) Madhuri Dixit Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress
Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress
Zee Cine Award for Best Actor – Female Nominated
IIFA Award for Best Actress
Dev.D Kalki Koechlin Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
Stardust Award for Breakthrough Performance – Female Nominated

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Guha, Srejara (2002). Devdas: a novel. Penguin Books. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-14-302926-7. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  2. ^ Vidya Pradhan (21 Jan 2008). "Heart of gold, speckled with sin". The Hindu. Retrieved 16 Feb 2012. 
  3. ^ Ghose, Anindita (August 2006). "Of Names of Women in Hindi Cinema: An Exploration in Semantics". e-Social Sciences. p. 11. Retrieved 16 Feb 2012. Madhuri Dixit in ‘Devdas’ (2002) is Chandramukhi which means ‘moon faced’. 
  4. ^ Shubha Tiwari (2005). Indian fiction in English translation. New Delhi Atlantic Publication. p. 151. ISBN 978-81-269-0450-1. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  5. ^ Corey K. Creekmur (13 December 2001). "The Devdas Phenomenon". University of Iowa. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  6. ^ Vijay Lokapally (20 February 2009). "Devdas (1955)". The Hindu. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "Fighting Queens". Outlook (magazine). 13 December 2001. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  8. ^ Allan Koay (2 Apr 2007). "A new era". The Star (Malaysia). Retrieved 22 Feb 2012. 
  9. ^ Lindsay J. Proudfoot, M. M. Roche (2005). (Dis)placing empire: renegotiating British colonial geographies. Ashgate Publishing Limited. p. 160. ISBN 0-7546-4213-5. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  10. ^ Sumita S. Chakravarty (1993). National identity in Indian popular cinema, 1947-1987. Harward Academic Publication. p. 271. ISBN 978-0-292-71156-3. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  11. ^ Meghnad Desai (2004). Nehru's hero Dilip Kumar in the life of India. Lotus Collection, Roli Books. p. 95. ISBN 978-81-7436-311-4. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  12. ^ Lata Khubchandani (5 Jul 2002). "'I did not approve of Vyjayanthimala as Chandramukhi'". Rediff. Retrieved 18 Feb 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Dinesh Raheja (30 Oct 2006). "Bollywood's top tawaifs". Rediff. Retrieved 18 Feb 2012. 
  14. ^ Nikhat Kazmi (16 January 2006). "Tart with a heart". The Times of India. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  15. ^ Mishra, Vijay, Bollywood Cinema: A Critical Genealogy, Victoria University of Wellington, p. 9, retrieved 2012-02-18 
  16. ^ Sheela Bhatt (22 Jun 2012). "A star spangled evening". Mumbai, Maharashtra: Rediff. Retrieved 18 Feb 2012. 
  17. ^ "Vyjayanthimala". Upperstall. Retrieved 16 Feb 2012. 
  18. ^ "The Winners - 1956". Indiatimes. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  19. ^ Subhash K. Jha (2003-02-22). "Shah Rukh, Ash, Ajay Devgan's rich haul". Rediff. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  20. ^ Raymond Ronamai. "The winners of the 55th Filmfare Awards are...". Oneindia.in. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  21. ^ Bollywood Hungama News Network (2010-01-16). "Nominations for Max Stardust Awards 2010". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 

External links[edit]

Chandramukhi at the Internet Movie Database