‘Devika Rani’ Review: The Play Is A Stylish Tribute to the ‘First Lady of Indian Cinema’

Director: Lillete Dubey
Writer: Kishwar Desai
Cast: Ira Dubey, Joy Sengupta, Mark Bennington, Pranav Sachdev, Kashyap Shangari

The Upshot

A mix of fashion and substance brings alive the true Devika behind the reel one, on this play that spans 20-odd years of her life. 

Devika Chaudhuri aka Devika Rani (Ira Dubey), bestowed (fittingly) with the sobriquet ‘First Lady of Indian Cinema’ was a girl of many skills. She may act, sing, design units and costumes, produce movies, run a studio and depart a swooning path of admirers in her wake. Devika Rani – Goddess of the Silver Screen! written by Kishwar Desai reminds us of that consistently, whether or not by means of Devika’s actions or the phrases of characters who’re supporting collectible figurines in her extravagant life. 

Salim Akhtar’s lavish units and Pia Benegal’s luxurious costumes give us a glimpse of London, Berlin and Mumbai of the 1930s and 40s, and breathe life into Devika’s on-screen and off-screen histrionics. The story richly particulars her journey pre-cinema, her relationship with husband Himanshu Rai (Joy Sengupta), her appearing profession, the ‘Bombay Talkies’ period and ends along with her determination to go away all of it for private happiness with Russian artist, Svetoslav Roerich (Mark Bennington).

The play presents a compelling look into Devika’s life. Ira Dubey is bewitching as Devika, showcasing her delight, ambition, pragmatism, guile and loneliness with nice ease. She additionally will get to point out off her singing chops with a lilting rendition of ‘Main Ban Ki Chidiya’ from Achyut Kanya. She is ably complemented by Joy Sengupta who renders Himanshu as charming, desperately in love, hubristic, weak and liable to matches of jealousy because the story progresses. 

Ultimately, it’s a story of human relationships. Director Lillete Dubey does nicely to keep in mind that as she shines a highlight on Devika’s story arc by means of the lens of her relationships with different characters starting from Himanshu, her co-star and lover Najam-Ul-Hasan, her buddy and confidant Poorna and second husband, Svetoslav Roerich. You see (and sense) Devika develop, not simply actually, as every of those relationships educate her a lesson.

There is a line within the play that likens cinema to being a grasping mistress who calls for so much from you. And in the direction of the top, as Devika turns her again on cinema in favour of peace and happiness, you possibly can’t assist however really feel a kinship in the direction of this path-breaking doyen of Indian cinema, who really lived life on her phrases.

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