Dev - Bland romance that fails to strike a chord!
Debutant Rajath wants to say a lot about life and uses love as the focal point, romance to be more precise. He uses his protagonist Karthi (Dev) to keep imparting his thoughts about life to other characters around him. Ideally, these messages should have made an emotional impact on these characters and that should have transpired to us. But in Dev, they come across as impressive dialogues that make sense but are merely like bullet points on a PPT. In other words, they are like these catchy posts on social media that you can relate to but what about the movie in itself?
Karthi is pretty good in the titular character and his easy presence is that one thing that actually keeps Dev afloat. For a film like this to work, the heroine and the romance between the pair are what matter. But in Dev, apart from Karthi, nothing much works. Rakul puts in a laboured performance for a pretty straightforward character. The romance hardly has any spark. You never get the feel that these two people are into each other. The film as such keeps sprawling over different geographies from Ukraine to San Fransisco to Chennai to Mumbai and finally to Everest but you never even feel a flutter. Important decisions in the film seem to happen because they are plot points and not out of any sort of logic. The couple fight, join, again fight and again join. It really is not about reasoning alone. Something like a Kushi works because irrespective of whether you can relate to a character like Shiva or Jenni in that film, you buy into their madness or as that film progressed you would believe that those characters would behave that way. Even if you do not agree to the previous sentence what you would agree to is that the film kept you entertained. The lack of entertainment in Dev was the biggest issue for me. It sure did have songs, action (completely unwarranted) and repeated attempts at comedy. But they fall flat. The Kushi comparison is only to establish that even without having much to say, you can make an entertaining film. Dev is at the other end of the spectrum. It wants to say a lot and probably that is one of the reasons for its undoing.
The climax of the film has Dev scaling the heights of Everest. The intention was probably to establish love as an adventure or as the film puts it – to test the strength of the mind. But what we get is only the tiredness after an exhaustive adventure.