Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Loser

When does a character becomes a metaphor? A 'tag', which you can put on people you know and say he has become 'so-on-so'. They become such an identifiable but at the same time larger-than-life persona, they create a category of their own. Take for an instance James Bond. Do we need to ever attempt to describe what a 007 is. No. Never. And that's why he is so popular. Year after year they'll make films starring Bond and people will run to the theater. Another example is superman.

There is one thing common among these guys. They are heroes. Heroes with generous amount of out-of-the-world power, be it simply raw strength or deadly gadgets. With that you add charisma and cool quotient. You know... tall, fair, handsome... etc etc. And most importantly, they have been a long lasting character on paper before coming to the screen. Their charm is not created in one day.

But, what about being similar long-lasting, memorable character just by being the biggest loser... A character who has become another tag, another adjective, being used in everyday language, with abandon.

Yes I'm talking about Devdas. Sounds familiar? Yes. We all know Devdas. He is one character created for the eponymous novel back in 1917. Novel was a success (but then, everything from the pen of Sharat Chatujjey was a success). After nine films in Bengali, Hindi, Assamese and Tamil, most of us know what are the characteristics to label one as Devdas. And none of them can be termed as heroic or ideal or anything similar. He is one guy who is famous for losing it. Losing it all. Albeit losing it in style. You know that dialog? "Haar ke jeetnewalo ko..." Yeah that one. No wonder SRK was the latest avatar of Devdas!

And guess what. He is back. No, not SRK (come on, he is always there, if not in this, then the next channel). As you may have guessed I am talking about the coming-soon Dev.D (statutory warning: link not for minors). Lets start with a quote from the director himself.

Abhay told me he had an idea, a story. I said ,”OK tell me”. He narrated me a story of a stripper in a LA strip club and a guy who is attracted to her. The guy had a back story, an unrealized love story. After he narrated the whole story, he asked me guess what is it. I couldn’t. He then told me it is Devdas. I looked at him. I never thought before that moment, that Devdas could be retold like that. That was where Dev.D was born.
Read the full thing here. And you can catch the trailer in youtube. Man, I love the term "emosanal atyachaar". :)
Whatever, this post is not 'bout the film, but the character. What is there which has made him so memorable and popular. Whenever I think 'loser' is the word comes to my mind.
Is it the romanticism, killing yourself for that 'one luv' idea which attracts us.
I don't know. Maybe its not just pyaar-ishq-mohabbat. It is the self-destruction. We love fools. Fools for a cause. Any damn cause. Because we all are fools.
Fools who make mistakes, take the wrong turn, get hit by the truck of fate when they were looking at the opposite direction. It hurts. And for a moment it feels nothing is worth anymore. So what's the point of trying. Let it slide.
Off course being the sensible and wise types we come back to our senses. For sometime things look only black and white. After some time (which can be very long) things start falling into places.
Think about those soldiers you saw in the WWII film. End of battle, no ammunition, completely surrounded by enemy forces. Surrender is the only option. And there will be one guy who'll take a knife and run into the bullet-rain, shouting "Hail Hitler" or "God save the queen" depending on the film. In a second there will be so many holes in his body it is almost semi-transparent.
What about the guy next to him. He also takes the knife. Take a step ahead. And then he stops. He knows it is worthless. He can't die like fool. He puts it down and surrenders. He knows he has done the right thing. But there will be that feeling biting inside him.
"I wish I could do that..."
And that's why we love Devdas. He did it. What we could not think of doing. People talk about the one love and life is worthless if they don't get it. But we know that's bullshit. Only a fool will do that. Well, Devdas was a fool and he died a fool. He had the guts to show the finger to the world. Of course being son of a zamindar helps. Having great actors portraying you on screen helps.
And that is my friend is the ever-lasting charm of being 'The Loser'. You have to be the biggest of all. And the masses will adore you, making you the Martyr-of-Mohabbat. And lots of broken hearted young souls will stop shaving and run to the pub to contribute for Vijay Mallya's next sportscar or IPL team!
So cheers to Devdas (he will like that). He showed being a loser is cool sometimes if you can do it right.
May his soul rest in peace.


  1. hehehe...wonderfully put...completely agree. who ever said Size doesn't matter...well being the BIGGEST certainly helps...loser or otherwise ;)

  2. @Arun
    Yep... Size matters... You see the point is not being a loser. You have to be 'The Loser'...