What kind of audience are you looking for Dev D?
We are looking at a family audience. It's a wholesome family entertainer; though just don't watch it with your family (laughs). In the film, we are candid about sex and violence. Though none of it is visually explicit, it's one film where it would be a little hard for you to watch it with your mom and dad. Mark my words though - they will like the film too! The subject is such that it would reach out to one and all; people will appreciate it.
Along with 'emotional atyachaar', even 'emotional violence' seems to be inherent to Dev D.
[Laughs] But we are certainly not endorsing violence in the film. We are showing it the way it is written down in the book. I don't think anyone can be offended by the so-called violent streak of the film. Come on, I mean it when I say that Dev D is a family film!
After years we are seeing a film where drugs play a major role in the narrative.
See, the thing is that there are so many masala movies out there as well where drug usage has been shown. It's just that since things are not considered real there, it's not taken seriously. Here we are more implicit; the drug usage is more candid. Everything else is more implied. Sometimes the less of what you see sticks out, especially so when you treat it in realistic manner. This is why drugs and sex is getting noticed in Dev D because all of it being presented in a much more believable manner. Since it is real, it comes across as explicit!
But tell me honestly, isn't it a mental turmoil for an actor to be in a part of such a role?
Since Anurag's way of making movies doesn't have any space for superficial level of storytelling, it does get a mental turmoil on. When you are portraying a character like 'Devdas' for like an entire day, it does become intriguing and exhausting. It turns out to be much more than just other film because you are constantly working in a film that takes so many different pitches. One does tend to get exhausted.
Anurag (Kashyap) says that it was the film's music that helped him relax once he returned home after a heavy day at work. True for you too?
Amit Trivedi's music for the film is truly brilliant. Each of the tracks shows the state of the character's mind and works superbly with the film. Numbers like 'Duniya', 'Nayan Tarse' and 'Maahi Mainu' are my favorites. Dev D is one of rare out and out musicals that have been made. Also, for a subject like 'Devdas', we can't be fools by not having songs. Each of the 18 tracks has a reason to be in the movie. They play in the background and go down quite well while in accordance with Anurag's vision of incorporating music in the narrative.
There was music in No Smoking too...
But here you will see a difference when compared to No Smoking. There is a lot of humor derived from the songs. Also, they play for the moment and take the narrative further. Let's face it, a song less film by itself is considered as a parallel film so when we had 18 tracks at our disposal, how could we not allow Dev D to become as commercial as it can.
But weren't you worried about doing Dev D considering Anurag was fresh out of No Smoking?
Why do you guys keep forgetting Black Friday? See, No Smoking was always going to be on a different tangent altogether. I don't think the non-performance of the film at the box office was created any trap for Dev D. There is no insecurity whatsoever, why would I? I never felt like that even once while working on the film. I respect Anurag Kashyap. He has it in him to make a movie in a certain way and comes with an ability to deliver.
One really wishes that Dev D works though you would consider yourself a little unlucky with Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, right?
No way, I guess the film fetched itself as well as me some great response. And then it released at the time (the Mumbai terror attack) when there were so many other tragedies happening around us. For us the film not taking a great opening was a small tragedy. In any case, as the weeks unfolded, the film did get steady. No, it didn't rake in huge collections but people were curious as the film continued to play on in theaters and then on TV. The film has certainly recovered its money, it's not a flop. It's a little success in its own way. It gained public acceptance, got all of us some good acclaim and credibility.
'It's all about loving your family', agrees Abhay Deol. He also says that a film like Dev D should be watched by an entire family. A word of caution though is thrown by him - "Dev D is a family film but not the kind that should be watched by all the family members 'together'. We catch Abhay Deol in a candid mood as he talks about Dev D.