Niharika Singh, Kshitij Sharma, Deeya Dey, Rohit Pareek, Anoma Pabuwal, Mahendra Singh Rawat, Kenneth Shipley
Kshitij Sharma (Screenplay/Dialogue), Deeya Dey (Screenplay)
"Devil" Wraps Up Fest Run; Preps for Distribution
A multi-award winning feature film from co-writer/director Kshitij Sharma, Devil is based upon the acclaimed short story by Guy De Maupassant, expanding upon its original source material in telling the story of Dev, an ex-Army man played by Sharma himself, who is struggling to provide care for his dementia-ridden, rapidly declining mother (Niharika Singh). Believing his mother to be in her final days, he makes a unique arrangement with a homecare nurse named Maya (Deeya Dey) to provide for her care. It's a situation that ends up plunging everyone involved into an abyss of unimaginable darkness, bringing vividly to life Guy De Maupassant's words and creating a largely effective, memorable feature film for Sharma.
Produced on an ultra-low budget, Devil has picked up over a couple dozen awards along its festival journey and now heads into a planned indie distribution destined for further success.
Filmed in India and in Hindi with English subtitles, Devil benefits particularly from a strong, layered and complex performance from Deeya Dey, whose Maya is filled to the brim with moral complexities and yet she nicely underplays her performance here and leaves us largely guessing what's going to unfold unless, of course, you're somewhat familiar with the source material. Regardless, Dey's performance here is an absolute highlight.
Sharma's performance, as well, is generally quite effective even if Devil portrays him somewhat darker than what actually plays out in the film's source material. It's still a compelling performance that keeps you intrigued from beginning to end.
Despite some occasionally hit-and-miss lighting, lensing by Abhishek Negi is effective throughout, while the film's naturalistic setting draws you in and creates a noteworthy sense of comfort before everything starts to unfold.
If you are familiar with the film's source material, and I am, then you largely know what to expect from the embellished yet thematically consistent Devil. It's a strong, ensemble effort that is involving and engaging and ultimately quite satisfying.
For more information on Devil, visit the film's official website linked to in the credits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic