Film: “Dev”; Language: Tamil; Director: Rajath Ravishankar; Cast: Karthi, Rakul Preet Singh; Rating: *1/2
After plodding through a plot that crawls at a snail’s pace, I was left wondering why anyone ever thought the audience would want to invest two and a half hours in a ‘roam-calm’ that’s more ‘roam’ and less ‘calm’.
Dev moves restlessly all over the place, and finally gets nowhere.
For most of the film’s running time. the lead pair is shown running from pillar to post looking for ways to liven up their privileged lifestyle. Dev, played by Karthi, is essentially an entitled wastrel living off his father (Prakash Raj)’s wealth. He falls in love with Meghna, played by Rakul Preet Singh, a severely limited actress who has a charming personality but little else to recommend herself to the profusion of projects that come her way.
Singh plays an entrepreneur with a serious concentration problem. She runs around pretending to be busier than she actually is, looking for love in pokey places like the social media. Just why a woman so successful and reasonably attractive would agree to date a man who does nothing except hang around with his two best friends — one male and the other female(gender equality thereby gets evenly apportioned). The two besties have nothing to do except make orgasmic noises about everything that Dev says and does.
For a long long time, I wondered what the point of making this film is. Most of the playing time goes in Dev trailing, wooing, courting and singing to Meghna. So okay, is this film a vehicle and a pretext to blare Harris Jayraj’s trying-so-hard-to-be-cool songs? Looks like it. As Karthi and Rakul break into a jig on any and every occasion in exotic locations, where for some weird reason, the locals dance with the lead pair.
But trust me, the songs are not a distraction, because there is nothing to be distracted from. Dev is a painfully routine love story designed to play up the lead pair’s star power. Karthi’s character is specially self-indulgent. He is shown as a wastrel, but by choice. If he wants, he can prove himself a genius to his doting father. And Dev has his morals in place. During an early song, he is clearly seen saying no to a ‘firangi’ chorus as she hits on him.
The chorus girl tries to look disappointed. But it comes out more as relief. The kind we experience when this ordeal of a film finally ends.
That comes much later. For now, Dev is shown rescuing a well-groomed rich-type of a girl from a gang of wannabe rapists and then lecturing her on how one must never impose oneself in a relationship.
This is the same guy who befriends the heroine on the social media.
Awesome. What do we say about a long dreadfully uninteresting film where the hero’s father and the heroine’s mother, played by the redoubtable Prakash Raj and Ramya Krishnan have more potential as characters than the lead? I’d like to see a love story between the two parents.
But wait. Am I wishing for a sequel to this plodding rom-com? I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
A big disappointment from Karthi who showed so much promise in the Telugu film “Oopiri”. He must stop trying to bulldoze his way into the masala route. Macho-giri and nacho-giri are best left to lesser actors. Karthi should pick projects that have something to say. “Dev” has nothing to say. And it says it with no pleasure.
By Subhash K. Jha