A gender reversal take on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Bengali novel Devdas, this show follows Devika Dharam Dwivedi aka Dev DD aka Vicky (Asheema Vardaan) as she navigates life, love and friendships.
Here’s what you missed on season one
To give you a quick recap, Devika, a fierce, headstrong Rajput girl is the modern-day female version of Devdas who is in love with Parth (Akhil Kapur), the male version of Paro. However, Parth’s family wants a sati savitri daughter-in-law and Devika doesn’t fit the bill. Enraged at Parth’s inability to stand up to his family, she breaks things off with him and leaves Jaipur for Mumbai. There, she goes on an alcohol-fuelled bender to get over Parth, has some sense knocked into her by her best friend Chandni (Rashmi Agdekar) and falls in love with her boss, the suave Anurag (Sanjay Suri). Plot twist: he turns out to be Chandni’s father. Oh, and Chandni’s a lesbian who used to have feelings for Devika, which become a sore point in her relationship with Radha (Rumana Molla). Anurag’s way of dealing with this bombshell is to dismiss his relationship with Devika in favour of that with his daughter and he unceremoniously dumps her without telling her why. This is a drama after all.
Let’s talk LGBTQIA Pride and female foeticide
Yes, Dev DD is about Devika’s journey of picking herself up after hitting rock bottom and emerging as a better Devika 2.0. However, the main plot points in this season focus on queer marriage and the obsession with preferring a male child over a female one. The show spins the spotlight on Chandni and Radha’s relationship, their struggle to be given the same respect and rights as their straight counterparts and rampant homophobia across the Indian society. It’s heartening to see a queer relationship receive this kind of attention on-screen, with Devika championing their love and shooting down prejudices they receive with her feisty quips. The second main plotline focuses on Anurag and his ex, a TV reporter, Aditi (Nauheed Cyrusi) going undercover at the Jan Janta Hospital in Jaipur to blow the lids off a female foeticide scam. Again, Devika finds herself embroiled in this as she struggles with her love for Anurag, is courted by her college senior Paritosh (Aman Uppal), a doctor at the aforementioned hospital. And while it’s interesting to see an Indian show focus on important topics, it does feel a tad forced and preachy. Perhaps in their effort to show how Devika got her groove back, the show makes it appear that Devika singlehandedly changes societal perceptions on same-sex love and the importance of a girl child, which let’s be honest, are a tad far-fetched. The ending, which is really predictable, doesn’t quite give one the satisfaction of seeing Devika’s evolution to a stronger, smarter person as it should.
A round of applause for performances
Asheema Vardaan is, for a lack of a better word, kickass as Devika. She’s got an author-backed role with the best lines, relatable repartees and gets to showcase her range via a myriad of powerful scenes. And while the actor could easily fall into the trap of going over the top and turning this drama into a melodrama, she’s wonderfully restrained. Sanjay Suri is an actor who never disappoints and his Anurag is no exception. While he’s saddled with a slightly frustrating storyline of juggling two women, a vulnerable relationship with his daughter and unearthing a scam, he does justice to the material meted out to him. Rashmi Agdekar’s Chandni is wonderfully unassuming, delightfully feisty and highly likeable as the show progresses. If nothing, watch the show for this trio alone.
WATCH OR NOT
If you were invested in Devika’s story in season one and want to know how it plays out, go for it.
Director: Harsh Dedhia
Cast: Asheema Vardaan, Sanjay Suri, Aman Uppal, Nauheed Cyrusi, Rashmi Agdekar, Rumana Molla, Deepika Amin
Streaming on: ZEE5/ALTBalaji