Devdas

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This article is about the novella. For other uses, see Devdas (disambiguation).
Devdas
Devdas Bengali book front cover.jpg
Devdas novel – Bengali book, front cover
Author Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay
Country India
Language Bengali
Genre Novella
Publisher GCS
Publication date
30 June 1917
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
ISBN NA

Devdas (Bengali: দেবদাস, Debdash; Hindi: देवदास, Devdās) (also called Debdas) (1917) is a Bengali Romance novel by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay when he was only seventeen years of age.

Plot summary[edit]

Devdas is a young man from a wealthy Bengali Brahmin family in India in the early 1900s. Paro (Parvati) is a young woman from a middle class Bengali family. The two families lived in a village in Bengal, and Devdas and Paro were childhood friends.

Devdas goes away for a couple of years to live and study in the city of Calcutta (now Kolkata). During vacations, he returns to his village. Suddenly both realise their easy comfortability in each other's innocent comradeship has changed to something different. Devdas realises Parvati is no longer the small girl he knew. Paro looks forward to their childhood love blossoming into their lifelong journey together in marriage. Of course, according to the prevailing social custom, Paro's parents would have to approach Devdas' parents and propose marriage of Paro to Devdas as Paro longed for.

Paro's grandmother approaches Devdas's mother with a marriage proposal. Although Devdas's mother loved Paro very much she wasn't so keen on forming an alliance with next door neighbours. Also, Parvati's family had a long standing tradition of accepting dowry from the groom's family during a marriage rather than sending dowry with the bride, which was the established custom (and still is, in many parts of India). This alternative custom influenced Devdas's mother's decision of not considering Parvati as Devdas' bride, because she considered Paro's family to be "trading low caste" (becha-kena chotoghor) family, despite the fact that Parvati (like Devdas) was a Brahmin. The "trading" label was applied in context of the marriage custom followed by Paro's family. Devdas's father, who also loved the little Paro, did not want Devdas to get married so early in life and wasn't very keen on the alliance. Paro's father, feeling insulted at the rejection, finds an even richer husband for Paro.

When Paro learns of her planned marriage, she stealthily meets Devdas at night, desperately believing that Devdas will accept her hand in marriage. Devdas had never previously considered Paro that way. He feels surprised at Paro's bravery of visiting him alone at night and also feels pained for her. He decides he will tell his father about marrying Paro. Devdas' father disagrees.

In a confused state, Devdas then flees to Calcutta, and from there, he writes a letter to Paro, saying that they were only friends. Within days, however, he realizes that he should have been bolder. He goes back to his village and tells Paro that he is ready to do anything needed to save their love.

By now, Paro's marriage plans are in an advanced stage, and she declines going back to Devdas and chides him for his cowardice and vacillation. She makes, however, one request to Devdas that he would return to her before he dies. Devdas vows to do so.

Devdas goes back to Calcutta and Paro is married off to the betrothed widower with three children. He is an elderly gentleman, a zamindar. He had found his house and home so empty and lustreless after his wife's death that he had decided to remarry. He spent most of his day in Pujas and looking after the zamindari.

In Calcutta, Devdas' carousing friend, Chunni Lal, introduces him to a courtesan named Chandramukhi. Devdas takes to heavy drinking at Chandramukhi's place, but the courtesan falls in love with him, and looks after him. His health deteriorates because of a combination of excessive drinking and despair - a drawn-out form of suicide. Within him, he frequently compares Paro and Chandramukhi. Somehow he feels betrayed by Paro, never realizing that she was the one who had loved him first, that she had said it out loud first. He doesn't realise this, but Chandramukhi does, and tells him so. When sober he would hate Chandramukhi and loathe her presence. So he would drink, to forget his prejudices. Chandramukhi saw it all, felt it all and suffered silently, but she had seen that real man behind the fallen, aimless Devdas he now was and couldn't help but love him.

Sensing his fast-approaching death, Devdas returns to meet Paro to fulfill his vow. He dies at her doorstep on a dark, cold night. On hearing of the death of Devdas, Paro runs towards the door, but her family members prevent her from stepping out of the door.

The novella powerfully depicts the prevailing societal customs in Bengal in the early 1900s, which are largely responsible for preventing the happy ending of a sincere love story.

Film, TV, and theatrical adaptations[edit]

Kundal Lal Saigal and Jamuna in Devdas.

The novella has been made into a film in many Indian languages, including Bengali, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Urdu, Assamese and Malayalam.[1][2][3]

Notable film versions of the novella include:

Year Title Language Director Cast Notes
Devdas Paro Chandramukhi
1927 Devdas (1927 film) Silent film Naresh Mitra Phani Sarma Tarakbala Niharbala/Miss Parul
1935 Devdas (1935 film) Bengali P.C. Barua P.C. Barua Jamuna Chandrabati Devi
1936 Devdas (1936 film) Hindi P.C. Barua K.L. Saigal Jamuna Rajkumari
1937 Devdas (1937 film) Assamese P.C. Barua Phani Sarma Zubeida Mohini
1953 Devdas (1953 film) Telugu Vedantam Raghavaiah Akkineni Nageswara Rao Savitri Lalitha also known as "Devadasu"
1955 Devdas (1955 film) Hindi Bimal Roy Dilip Kumar Suchitra Sen Vyjayanthimala
1965 Devdas (1965 film) Urdu Khawaja Sarfaraz Habib Taalish Shamim Ara Nayyar Sultana Pakistani film
1974 Devadasu (1974 film) Telugu Vijaya Nirmala Ghattamaneni Krishna Vijaya Nirmala Jayanthi
1979 Devdas (1979 film) Bengali Dilip Roy Soumitra Chatterjee Sumitra Mukherjee Supriya Choudhury also known as "Debdas"
1982 Devdas (1982 film) Bengali Chashi Nazrul Islam Bulbul Ahmed Kabori Sarwar Anwara Bangladeshi film
1989 Devadas Malayalam CrossBelt Mani Venu Nagavally Parvathy Ramya Krishna
2002 Devdas (2002 Bengali film) Bengali Shakti Samanta Prasenjit Chatterjee Arpita Pal Indrani Halder
2002 Devdas (2002 Hindi film) Hindi Sanjay Leela Bhansali Shahrukh Khan Aishwarya Rai Madhuri Dixit
2009 Dev.D Hindi Anurag Kashyap Abhay Deol Mahi Gill Kalki Koechlin A modern day take on Devdas
2010 Devdas (2010 film) Urdu Iqbal Kasmiri Nadeem Shah Zara Shaikh Meera Pakistani film
2013 Devdas (2013 film) Bengali Chashi Nazrul Islam Shakib Khan Apu Biswash Moushumi Bangladeshi film

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]