2 Works By Sarat Chandra And Their Adaptations

I recently got to read two of the greatest works by Bengali author Sarat Chandra; Devdas and Navvidhan. 

I read their Hindi translations, so I cannot claim if I might have unintentionally grabbed the errors that came along. Anyways, I’ll share, what is to the best of my knowledge.
I’m going to compare the two texts with their cinematic adaptations.
Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, devdas, bengali, literature, novel, hindi, english, translation, navvidhan, tumhari paakhi, 2002, shraddha arya, iqbal khan, aishwarya rai, shahrukh khan,madhuri dixit


Devdas and Parvati loved each other right from their childhood. Once, Devdas returns from Calcutta after completing his education, his parents start being concerned over his marriage. However, they don’t get him married to Parvati because of caste differences.
Parvati is married to a forty year old Bhuvan Chaudhary, whose children are of Parvati’s age only.
Devdas meanwhile opts for dipsomania and interacting with a prostitute Chandramukhi, once his father dies; leaving him a fortune. His brother and sister-in-law do not behave well with him. He sends his mother to Benaras to get her an escape from their negligence.
He promises to visit Parvati at least once.
When he visits her before his death, Parvati’s husband doesn’t allow her to meet him and assigns all the servants in the house to forbid her.
It is literally unbelievable for me that Sarat Chandra was just seventeen when he wrote the text. The way he described Chandramukhi and the place where she lived shows his mindset. 
A seventeen year old doesn’t know of all such phenomenon. Even if one knows, it is difficult to explain. Even if the modern day kids know of this, it is still believable, because, they get to see so much on TV and even worse, Netflix. But a person of that era didn’t have access to such sources. So how did he know and explain who a Tawaif is and how she lives.
I must share the key differences, I found in the text as well as in the 2002 Bollywood adaptation starring Aishwarya Rai, Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit.

1. Parvati’s Nickname

What was Parvati’s nickname in the text?
Paro, obviously, right?
Parvati’s nickname in the text was ‘Patto’. Please don’t be upset. I know the name is not as iconic as the one given in movie. 
Paro is a soft word for which one doesn’t have to stress his tongue. While, hearing the word ‘Patto’ feels like any rustic woman.

2. Childhood was not covered

In actual text, the story started from the time, Patto and Devdas were in village school. However, the story in movie started from the time Devdas returned after completing his education.

3. Devdas’ education

Devdas didn’t go abroad for his education. Indeed, he went to Calcutta.
In fact, they were based in a village.

4. Chandramukhi’s background

Chandramukhi wasn’t at any brothel. She had her own apartment in Calcutta. She shifted to a village later on due to the outstanding expenses.

5. Parvati’s Husband

Parvati’s husband wasn’t as austere as shown in the movie. He even wept that how good Parvati was nurturing his children.
I think that the way he commanded servants to stop Parvati from reaching Devdas, was right. Even though he is portrayed negatively, just answer a simple question. Which husband in this world would let her wife meet her boyfriend?

6. Communication between Parvati and Chandramukhi

There was no real time communication between Parvati and Chandramukhi as per the text.

7. Violence against women

Devdas was violent towards Parvati. He punched her back when she found him smoking. He caned her a lot when because of her mistake, he was injured while fishing. Even before her marriage, while Parvati was near the river to fetch water, Devdas hit her head with a stick ‘just as a souvenir’. This is so ridiculous.
The text promotes so many anti social values.

Praises for the movie

Dances were iconic. Dola re for example.
The way actors played their part was also iconic. 
The movie was an epitome of cinematography.


After the death of his second wife, Shailesh seeks to get his first wife back to his home, with whom he was married at the age of eighteen. When he went abroad for his education, his father banished his wife back to his natal home.
Since, he wanted to marry Bhupendra Babu’s daughter, his friends pull his leg that he should get his first wife back.
Irritated, he calls for her. Usha returns and fulfills her responsibilities.
She, however, develops grudges with Shailesh’s younger sister, Vibha over the upbringing of Shailesh’s son, Somendra. Vibha’s husband Kshetramohan as well as the sister-in-law are supportive of her, anyway.
After Usha leaves, Shailesh starts with the company of hermits. This troubles his sister.
Eventually, Usha returns again and finishes all the panic.


The story was adopted into a serial on LifeOk ‘Tumhari Paakhi’ starring Iqbal Khan and Shraddha Arya.
There was no role of Bhupendra Babu in the text, but in the serial his counterpart was Rana who was a business associate with Anshuman (counterpart of Shailesh). In the text, Shailesh was a professor while in serial, his counterpart was a businessman. Even there was a role for Rana’s daughter, Tanya.
The way Usha calculated all the expenses was very well act by Paakhi.

Hindu Phobia

In the novel, Hindu lifestyle has been severely chided, calling it backward. Even Usha, who was from a traditional background, when returns, breaks the Tulsidal Mala and gets her husband’s and son’s shikha cut which is really offensive. Tulsidal Mala can be donated. Shikha once resolved shouldn’t be cut.
Hermits are referred to as fraud for no reason.

My impression of Sarat Chandra’s work

All opinions remain my own.
Since, I’m doing a research over languages of Uttarakhand, not only am I reading their work, I’m reading other works as well.
In a book by a Garhwali Association, they wrote, “Writing is an expression of emotions.”
It’s really true. We write what we face. 
Sarat Chandra, though, had a good writing style; but it cannot be said that his plots were good. His works highlighted the lifestyles of upper middle class or the ultimate elite who were deeply inspired by the colonizers. 
With the same effect, gross Hindu phobia can be seen.
Probably, his works can be credited for introducing villains as the protagonists.
Even though, his works have been adopted into various movies and serials, this doesn’t define the relevance of his works.
This generation talks about everything that was supposed and expected to be hidden behind the curtain of humility and privacy, even a decade ago.
Comparing to this era, his works are a lot better because whatever is described is done after a proper selection of words.
These days, people don’t think about their language and the selection of their words. Might not the children hear and corrupt themselves is not their concern.
Such works are a boon for like minded people as they can pick up and say, “Look it was even written a century ago.”

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