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The Great Gatsby (2013) DVD Review: Devdas in Hollywood

America of 1920’s and India of 1920’s were poles apart in term of culture, values and everything is what one assumes generally. Interestingly a Bengali novel Devdas and The Great Gatsby written in the same period has the same theme a rich boy, hopelessly in love with a girl who also in love with him, but is now married to other person, while the boy still pins for her and in the process destroys himself.

Baz Luhrmann is known for his over the top musical extravaganza, a la Bollywood style, this is exactly what is required for screen adaptation of  F. Scott Fitzgerald’s popular American novel The Great Gatsby.

The film is set in 1920’s New York which is full of money, power, comforts that any man can imagine and parties which are bigger and bigger with thousands of people sipping wine and tasting caviar. Baz effectively uses jump cuts and CGI to take us inside these parties. In fact first half an hour of the movie you feel like it is one of those movies where rich have everything except love. Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) is an aspiring author who shifts to bond trading to make money and shifts to west egg of New York, which is where all people with newly acquired money are shifting to. His neighbor is Gatsby (Leonardo Di Caprio) who throws lavish parties for no reason, and it seems everybody in New York has enjoyed his hospitality. One day Gatsby sends an invite to Nick for one of his party, Nick realizes that no one really know who Gatsby is, or where he hails from. It seems New York the city would sleep with anyone who has money and knows how to spend it.

We are finally introduced to the character of Gatsby and as he arrives onscreen he is accompanied by fireworks and the now famous dimples of Leonardo Di Caprio. It is one of the most operatic introduction scenes of a hero, which Hollywood rarely does unlike its counterpart Bollywood which devotes almost 20 minutes for introduction of hero. While Gatsby and Nick soon become friends, Nick understands the need of Gatsby for validation by other people. Herein we have a brief scene with Bollywood Superstar Amitabh Bachchan who plays a Jewish Gambler Meyer Wolfsheim and even though it is a brief role, his very charm and presence makes us wish he could have got more screen time. We realize that he is an actor of such great caliber, unlike his other Indian counterparts who discover new accent when they cross the Atlantic.

greatgatsby-06Soon we realise that Gatsby is still in love with Daisy (Carey Mulligan) cousin of Nick, the only problem is Daisy is now married to Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton), who as we discover is not a perfect husband and is unfaithful to Daisy, Tom is someone who is still living in old glory while he is unable to accept the changes around the New York which is taking place. Baz Luhrmann then shows his grip on how he can handle human emotions, in a hotel room scene where Tom, Daisy, Nick and Gatsby are present.

The soundtrack which is produced by Jay Z, is one of the best soundtracks of the year, though some may argue, 20’s are better represented by Jazz Music, but then what is the fun if even in in a fiction novel you follow all the details to the T. My personal favourite was the melancholic and haunting Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey which plays several times in the background.

The Sony DADC comes in 16:9 and 2.40.1 format, with Dolby Digital sound. The DVD also provides English, Dutch,  French and Persian subtitles. I watched the 2d version of the DVD, but I am glad to say the images were clear and offers good depth and is pleasing to eyes.

The Bonus feature of the DVD has deleted scenes, with Baz Luhrmann explaining why some scenes were left out, this also includes one scene which includes Amitabh Bachchan. Baz discusses how he chopped of many scenes after death of Gatsby and how Baz decided the movie should focus mostly on friendship between Nick and Gatsby.

One of those film which you can watch on lazy Saturday afternoon and you would not be disappointed.







By: Cinemausher
Posted: November 8, 2013, 2:00 pm


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