First up, you can give Dev the heave-ho if you're there for the 'kiss' between Fardeen and Karreina; it's not worth your time. Actually, if you're coming for either Karreina or Fardeen, you'd be grossly disappointed. Anybody who'd go to any movie to see these guys will be disappointed. So will the people who are looking for some commercial action. The only thing commercial about Dev is that you paid to watch it.
Set in the volatile suburb of an urban jungle, Dev is a dark tale of human emotions unleashed in a communal storm; the clash between the inner soul and the outer being; the nakedness of a common man in a political web; the inability of Fardeen Khan as an actor.
Dev (Amitabh) is a high-ranked policeman whose nature is sculpted neatly through a grave dialogue of his - the point is not whether he is alive or not, the point is whether he's done his duty or not. And honoring his duty also includes complying with the orders - the one rule that twists his soul.
The episode begins when Dev shoots a Muslim student for obscene behavior in a college. The leaders of the community visit Dev to show their resentment. One particularly power-hungry leader (Latif) sees this as an opportunity to spread communal disturbances. And the scapegoat he chooses for this is Fardeen.
Fardeen is a youngster who's greatly enraged by the attitude dished out by the society towards his kind just because a few of them acted stupidly. Not all actor-sons are stupid actors, you know. Look at him. He's got this important role, right? If he were bad, why would he still be around? Huh, huh?
Anyway, in the movie, Fardeen is a fresh-out-of-college youngster portraying the angst of a typical modern Muslim - why should the whole community be branded for something that a few did? His boiling frustration erupts when his father (a peace-loving man) is shot by the police in a demonstration that turns violent because of the Muslim leader, Latif.
The flames are further fanned when Fardeen tries to assassinate Dev. And Satan breaks out in cold blood when Latif uses Fardeen to blow up a temple. The situation is now beyond the police and stands on the verge of a huge political propaganda.
Meanwhile, a passionate love story is brewing between the baby-pink Karreina and the rebellious Fardeen. When Fardeen is stuck in the unholy strangle of communalism, crime and guilt, the only solace he has is sticking his mouth passionately into Karreina's.
But bummer! This woman doesn't even know how to kiss! And they blame poor Fardeen for not showing any expression. How can someone act when they haven't got a wet, slimy kiss from the heroine? How? Huh, how? First of all there are no item numbers, no shoot-outs, no underwear. Now, no kisses, too? Poor Fardeen.
Back in the business, Dev is torn between duty and ethics, when during a communal riot, the police is ordered to wait till the Hindus finish burning the Muslims. And whom does he get these orders from? From Tej (Om Puri), his best friend for the past 30 years.
Tej had always been a smart police officer; always working more for the political leaders than for the public. Tej shows the typical, ignorant and barbaric outlook towards Muslims because Dev's 10-year-old son was gunned down by some Muslim terrorists.
The conversations between Dev and Tej during their daily drinks form the two sides of a coin. Both sides are equally Zzzz-inducing, so you can catch a few here.
In their last encounter, Dev is about to submit a report against all the policemen (including Tej) who had a hand in the brutal assault on the Muslim colony. But Tej isn't about to give up his job. Even for his best friend. Dev has to be eliminated. But since Tej is too conscientious, he cannot gulp the guilt. So the movie ends on this bitter note.
Om Puri as the man torn between duty, ethics and sentiments has given the best performance of this year so far. He's better than Amitabh, who, although delivering a great performance, seems to have overdone it in a few places. The man who played the character of Latif, the Muslim leader, is also fantastic.
Karreina as the scarred but bold girl is very believable, while Fardeen as the confused youngster just fades in the midst of the other mighty performances.
The movie's motives are simple - narrating a story. It neither offers cheap entertainment nor a solution for communalism, nor is it preaching anything. It plainly tells you the story of a brave police officer and the people around him. It leaves the rest to your judgment.