The Indian Hamlet
Mushtaq Sheikh unveils a book on Devdas
He started a trend with the book The Making Of Asoka. Now journalist-turned-author Mushtaq Sheikh has another ace up his sleeve in the form of Devdas -- The Indian Hamlet.
"When the project was proposed, I was still busy with Asoka. But once I took a look at what was ahead of me, it seemed interesting and I went ahead full steam," says Sheikh.
"I went to the Pune archives to see what was available because I thought here was a chance to do something more than just write about the new Devdas. I can truly say that Devdas -- The Indian Hamlet is an odyssey of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's classic masterpiece Devdas through the spectrum of Indian psyche. It is an introspective look at how the character of Devdas took its roots in the Indian mind and transcended the traditional boundaries between print and cinema. Devdas traces the footsteps of Devdas across a century of Indian films and analyses the fascination and lure of the character of Devdas that has inspired 12 cinematic versions in almost all the major languages on India."
The book is based on exhaustive research and detailed discussion with the actors and technicians and film observers from all over the country. The romanticism and decadence dwell on Sarat Chandra's conception of Devdas and the factors that attracted filmmakers to this literary masterpiece.
"In the chapter Mirror Image, I have looked into the minds of legends like P C Barua, K L Saigal, Bimal Roy, Dilip Kumar, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Shah Rukh Khan, who have immortalised Devdas. Mystical Muses is a character analysis of the women in Devdas' life as portrayed by actresses Vyjayanthimala, Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai who lived the parts of Chandramukhi and Paro.
" Devdas Reborn, Jinxed Pheonix and Shining Through form an ode to the efforts of Bharat Shah, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and their cast and crew who went through intense trauma and pains to realise the dream called Devdas. A State of Being and The Indian Hamlet are a critical psychoanalysis of Devdas and his story using literature and critical opinion as a measure."
The book has a foreword by Shah Rukh Khan and an epilogue by director Sanjay Leela Bhansali. "My own focus this time was that people who will buy this book must have a reason to do so. A coffee table book has longevity. I thought I might as well offer them something more than just a book on the making of the film," states Sheikh.
"I was aware that it (Devdas) had a history behind it and when I started researching, I could see at a glance that something was simmering here."
"It was then that I decided my focus should be a study of Devdas the noun rather than Devdas the character. The word Devdas has a deep connotation. It was exciting delving into it."
The book will be released by the end of August.
The Devdas Special
Mushtaq Sheikh on The Making of Asoka