Thursday, Dec. 12, 2002

Devdas, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, India

There's no more colorful introduction to Bollywood than this all-singing, all-dancing, all-fired spectacle. The plot, based on a 1917 novel, is good-old family-values propaganda: rich boy (all-world charmer Shahrukh Khan) leaves home, abandons girl friend (former Miss World Aishwarya Rai), dallies with prostitute (worldly-wise Madhuri Dixit), suffers nobly. It's played with such commitment that the tritest plot twists seem worth believing — and singing about, in nine nifty production numbers. Beyond that, Devdas is a visual ravishment, with huge sets, fabulous frocks and beautiful people to fill them; it has a grandeur the old Hollywood moguls would have loved.