Director: Rajath Ravishankar
Cast: Karthi, Rakul Preet Singh, RJ Vigneshkanth, Ramya Krishnan, Prakash Raj
Composer: Harris Jayaraj
An hour into Dev, Karthi, in an eponymous role, and Rakul Preet Singh as Meghna Padmavathy, recline in bed inside what looks like a giant orb with flickering candles and other such classified-as-romantic paraphernalia. You don’t quite know how, why or where this massive orb tailored-to-perfection for dates originated, or is located, but there they are, amidst pretty baubles and delicate lighting – engaged in stormy discussion. Soon, it abruptly ends, and the frame segues into a happy song and dance. Dev, the film, is full of such manufactured upheavals in a relationship that vanish just as swiftly as they appear – with no rhyme or reason.
The situations look, feel and sound manufactured, none of them organic or even remotely seeking to learn or explore the emotions that they wish to portray. But that’s quite some expectation from a film that begins its tale with the hero trying to land a date by sending a random friend request to a stranger on Facebook. Aiding him are Amrutha Srinivasan as Nisha and RJ Vigneshkanth as Vicky, his faithful friends who go to extreme lengths to ensure Dev wins over the woman.
Rakul Preet as Meghna Padmavathy is characterised as a hotshot, much sought-after entrepreneur-innovator while Dev is an adventure junkie, a rich brat whose achievements neither rival nor equal hers. He pursues her on foot, and by road, mapping her location via her Facebook updates; she calls it out for what it is, but the term is bandied about just to keep critics at bay. He stalks, she eventually acquiesces, and what follows is a romance with a questionable beginning, a tolerable middle, and an excruciating climax.
Dev may have had larger aspirations – to make meaningful cinema on modern romance and its idiosyncrasies, and there may even be a moment or two when the film achieves what it sets out to do: a scene depicts the couple straddling that sweet spot of being distantly acquainted and later almost hesitantly embracing the new familiarity that romance brings. In another, it shows the couple on a bike trek; Meghna plugs in her earphones (because why not), while Dev pleads for some conversation.
It’s thoughtful – and surprisingly real – for a film that later descends into old tropes of the genre. Especially when it had created a powerful female lead with much promise, who, for once, was shown to be engaged in meaningful occupation – something that meant a lot to her and to the world at large, and also took centre-stage in her life and the film.
Dev, in the acceptable parts, lets this moment of absolute female power sink in, and also imbues the character with a humane history. It tells us Meghna is a force to be reckoned with in her industry, a successful entrepreneur, a tough boss, and has fought to be where she is. It tells us she’s had a rough past (daddy issues, duh), is pleased with herself and the life she has built, and then, in the same breath, deems her achievements inadequate in favour of a wedding band. Dev, the film, never quite recovers from this thought.
The Dev review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.