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Front cover of the Bengali novel Devdas
Devdas – front cover
AuthorSarat Chandra Chattopadhyay
Publication date
30 June 1917
Media typePrint (hardback and paperback)

Devdas (Bengali: দেবদাস, transliterated as Debdās) is a Bengali romance novel written by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. The story pivots a tragic triangle linking Devdas, an archetypal lover in viraha (separation); Paro, his forbidden childhood love; and Chandramukhi, a reformed tawaif.[1] Devdas has been adapted on screen 20 times for film and 5 times for single song.

The character of Parvati was based on a real life second wife of zamindar Bhuvan Mohan Chowdhury,[2] it was said that even the writer visited the village.[3] According to sources, the original village was called Hatipota.[3]


Devdas is a young man from a wealthy Bengali family in India in the early 1900s. Parvati (Paro) is a young woman from a middle class Bengali Brahmin family. The two families live in a village called Taalshonapur in Bengal, and Devdas and Parvati are 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 that their easy comfort in each other's innocent comradeship has changed to something deeper. Devdas sees that Parvati is no longer the small girl he knew. Parvati looks forward to their childhood love blossoming into a happy lifelong journey in marriage. According to prevailing social custom, Parvati's parents would have to approach Devdas's parents and propose marriage of Parvati to Devdas as Parvati longs for.

Parvati's mother approaches Devdas's mother, Harimati, with a marriage proposal. Although Devdas's mother loves Parvati very much, she isn't so keen on forming an alliance with the family next door. Besides, Parvati's family has a long-standing tradition of accepting dowry from the groom's family for marriage rather than sending dowry with the bride. The alternative family tradition of Parvati's family influences Devdas's mother's decision not to consider Parvati as Devdas' bride, especially as Parvati belongs to a trading (becha-kena chottoghor) lower family. The "trading" label is applied in context of the marriage custom followed by Parvati's family. Devdas's father, Narayan Mukherjee, who also loves Parvati, does not want Devdas to get married so early in life and isn't keen on the alliance. Parvati's father, Nilkantha Chakravarti, feeling insulted at the rejection, finds an even richer husband for Parvati.

When Parvati learns of her planned marriage, she stealthily meets Devdas at night, desperately believing that he will accept her hand in marriage. Devdas has never previously considered Parvati as his would-be wife. Surprised by Parvati's boldly visiting him alone at night, he also feels pained for her. Making up his mind, he tells his father he wants to marry Parvati. Devdas's father disagrees.

In a confused state, Devdas flees to Calcutta. From there, he writes a letter to Parvati, saying that they should simply continue only as friends. Within days, however, he realises that he should have been bolder. He goes back to his village and tells Parvati that he is ready to do anything needed to save their love.

By now, Parvati's marriage plans are in an advanced stage. She refuses to go back to Devdas and chides him for his cowardice and vacillation. She, however, requests Devdas to come and see her before he dies. He vows to do so.

Devdas goes back to Calcutta and Parvati is married off to the widower, Bhuvan Choudhuri, who has three children. An elderly gentleman and zamindar of Hatipota he had found his house and home so empty and lustreless after his wife's death, that he decided to marry again. After marrying Parvati, he spent most of his day in Pujas and looking after the zamindari.

In Calcutta, Devdas's carousing friend, Chunni Lal, introduces him to a Tawaif named Chandramukhi. Devdas takes to heavy drinking at the dancer's place; she falls in love with him, and looks after him. His health deteriorates through excessive drinking and despair – a drawn-out form of suicide. In his mind, he frequently compares Parvati and Chandramukhi. Strangely he feels betrayed by Parvati, though it was she who had loved him first, and confessed her love for him. Chandramukhi knows and tells him how things had really happened. This makes Devdas, when sober, hate and loathe her very presence. He drinks more and more to forget his plight. Chandramukhi sees it all happen, suffering silently. She senses the real man behind the fallen, aimless Devdas he has become, and can't help but love him.

Knowing death approaches him fast, Devdas goes to Hatipota to meet Parvati to fulfill his vow. He dies at her doorstep on a dark, cold night. On hearing of his death, Parvati runs towards the door, but her family members prevent her from stepping out of the house.

The novella powerfully depicts the customs of society that prevailed in Bengal in the early 1900s, which largely prevented a happy ending to a true and tender love story.

Film, TV, and theatrical adaptations[edit]

Kundal Lal Saigal and Jamuna in Devdas, Barua's 1936 Hindustani version

The novel has been made into films in many Indian languages, including Bengali, Hindustani, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Urdu, Assamese and Malayalam.[4][5][6] It is the most filmed non-epic story in India.

Notable film versions of the novella include:

Year Title Language Director Cast Notes
Devdas Parvati Chandramukhi
1928 Devdas Silent film Naresh Mitra Phani Burma Tarakbala Niharbala/Miss Parul
1935 Devdas Bengali P. C. Barua P.C. Barua Jamuna Barua Chandrabati Devi
1936 Devdas Hindustani P. C. Barua K.L. Saigal Jamuna Barua Rajkumari
1937 Devdas Assamese P. C. Barua Phani Sarma Zubeida Mohini
1953 Devadasu Telugu Vedantam Raghavayya Akkineni Nageswara Rao Savitri Lalitha
Devadas Tamil Vedantam Raghavayya Akkineni Nageswara Rao Savitri Lalitha
1955 Devdas Hindi Bimal Roy Dilip Kumar Suchitra Sen Vyjayanthimala
1965 Devdas Urdu Khawaja Sarfaraz Habib Taalish Shamim Ara Nayyar Sultana Pakistani film
1974 Devadasu Telugu Vijaya Nirmala Ghattamaneni Krishna Vijaya Nirmala Jayanthi
1978 Muqaddar Ka Sikandar Hindustani Prakash Mehra Amitabh Bachchan Raakhee Rekha loosely inspired by Devdas
1979 Devdas Bengali Dilip Roy Soumitra Chatterjee Sumitra Mukherjee Supriya Choudhury also known as Debdas
1980 Prema Tarangalu Telugu S. P. Chitti Babu Krishnam Raju Sujatha Jayasudha remake of Muqaddar Ka Sikandar
1981 Amara Kaaviyam Tamil Amirtham Sivaji Ganesan Madhavi Sripriya remake of Muqaddar Ka Sikandar
1982 Devdas Bengali Chashi Nazrul Islam Bulbul Ahmed Kabori Sarwar Anwara Bangladeshi film
1989 Devadas Malayalam Crossbelt Mani Venu Nagavally Parvathy Ramya Krishnan
2002 Devdas Bengali Shakti Samanta Prasenjit Chatterjee Arpita Pal Indrani Halder
Devdas Hindi Sanjay Leela Bhansali Shah Rukh Khan Aishwarya Rai Madhuri Dixit
2004 Devdas Bengali Parambrata Chatterjee Monami Ghosh Sreelekha Mitra
2009 Dev.D Hindi Anurag Kashyap Abhay Deol Mahi Gill Kalki Koechlin modern-day take on Devdas
2010 Devdas Urdu Iqbal Kasmiri Nadeem Shah Zara Sheikh Meera Pakistani film
2013 Devdas Bengali Chashi Nazrul Islam Shakib Khan Apu Biswas Moushumi Bangladeshi film
2017 Devi Bengali Rik Basu Paoli Dam Shubh Mukherjee Shataf Figar modern-day take on Devdas
genderbent versions of characters
2017 – present Dev DD Hindi Ken Ghosh Asheema Vardaan Akhil Kapoor Sanjay Suri web series
modern-day take on Devdas
genderbent versions of characters
2018 Daas Dev Hindi Sudhir Mishra Rahul Bhatt Richa Chadda Aditi Rao Hydari modern-day take on Devdas
2019 Nayaka Ra Na Devdas Odia Mrutyunjaya Sahoo Asit Patra Bhoomika Dash Anu Choudhary

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The DEVDAS Phenomenon". The University of Iowa. Retrieved 2018-12-24.
  2. ^ Sen, Sukumar (1353 Bengali Year). Bangla Sahityer Itihas বাঙ্গালা সাহিত্যের ইতিহাস [History of Bengali Literature]. V:3. Calcutta: Modern Book Agency. p. 552.
  3. ^ a b "শতবর্ষে দেবদাস". Prothom Alo (in Bengali). Retrieved 2018-12-23.
  4. ^ Sharma, Sanjukta (June 7, 2008). "Multiple Takes: Devdas's journey in Indian cinema – from the silent era of the 1920s to the opulent Hindi blockbuster of 2002". Livemint. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  5. ^ "The Hindu : The immortal lover". Archived from the original on 2010-08-09. Retrieved 2006-08-15.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  6. ^ Devdas phenomenon Archived January 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Peene Walon Ko Peene Ka Bahana Chahiye – Haath Ki Safai 1974 1080p HD

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]