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.
Top 10 Everything 2002
The Piano Man conquers Broadway, Eminem goes Hollywood, plus the rest of TIME's picks for the best of the year