A slick and contemporary reimagining of an enduring classic, My Name Is Not Devdas brings together the participants of a skewed love triangle.
Devdas is NOT the tragic, misunderstood lover of yore; Paro is NOT the spurned woman who’d shut herself in; and Chandramukhi is NOT your next-door hooker with a heart of gold.
As each character narrates their own version of events, a tale of half-truths emerges that swiftly boils to a crescendo with bruised egos, deadly obsessions and electrifying revelations. Turning a page is all the time you will get to catch your breath.
Honestly, I was a little sceptical of the book when I saw the lack of information in the synopsis. However, once I started reading it, I was absorbed into the beautiful world of Aayush Gupta’s Devdas. He has captured the pain of the classic beautifully while tweaking it for the modern reader. As frustrated as one feels while watching the original Devdas and his egotistical and entitled patriarchal attitude, our innovated Devdas is equally interesting. Each of the characters in the book shares a unique world view and Aayush Gupta has presented them beautifully.
The flow of the narrative is continuous and keeps the reader hooked. Even though the story seems distorted at first and it is difficult to make sense of, as you read further the blanks start to fill and you start loving each character, yes, even Devdas.
I don’t know if this was the intention of our beloved author or not, but the factor that drew me to this book and added it to my list of favourites was the satire of society in this book. The witty lines that Aayush Gupta has framed add a touch of humour to the realistic situations of the story. They presented the stark reality of the world without trying to colour the harsh realities. They are lines that one would keep with them to recall and mention in banter or to make everyone around them laugh. I especially want to appreciate him for being able to keep this story real. Many a time, when writing fiction authors tend to modify the situations so that they are no longer realistic. In My Name is Not Devdas, almost every situation seems real and possible. The instance of the hostel warden kicking them out and snobs in their car chasing our Paro and Chandramukhi was a scene that shook me to the core. It was not only scary for the characters but also something that was highly likely to happen in real life.
Some of my favourite lines in the book are mentioned below to motivate you to read this masterpiece and feel the awe and enlightenment that I felt.
I have a theory, Greatness comes from never looking down. Literally, I mean. All the great, distinguished men of history, I doubt a single one has seen his feet. Most of the hoi polloi spend their lives looking down, at the phone, at the alphabet, at themselves. So much so that when they finally look up, it’s not enlightenment they experience, but a dull, muscular pain in the back of their necks. [ 34 ]
A minister rapes a minor for years. The audience doesn’t care… The audience reads the snippets, each crueller than the last. And it grows numb and number. It insulates itself with a layer of placenta, back into its mother’s womb. Deluding itself that this is an anomaly, that this can’t happen to them. They know that’s bullshit. The minister’s just not focused on them yet. [ 126 ]
I am not Harayana when I am in Harayana. I am not unloved when no one loves me. I am not owned when I owe something.
I am who I am regardless of where or what I am. [ 146 ]
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