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Friday, 12 July, 2002, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
Global release for Bollywood epic
Shahrukh Khan
The film has already received rave reviews

The latest Bollywood epic, Devdas - said to be the most expensive film ever made in India - opened on Friday in cinemas around the world.


There's a little bit of Devdas in every Indian male

Producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Massive media coverage ahead of its release has ensured that tickets in the Indian capital Delhi have completely sold out.

The much awaited film with its lavish sets and expensive designer costumes cost more than $10m to make.

The film, based on a 1917 novel by Bengali novelist Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, tells the story of Devdas, the son of a village landlord.

Devdas is caught between a courtesan - whom he can never love - and his childhood sweetheart, who is already married to another man. Heartbroken, he turns to alcohol.

Star cast

The film stars some of Bollywood's best known actors. Shah Rukh Khan plays Devdas, while his ladies are played by leading actresses, Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit.

Devdas star Madhuri Dixit
The production boasts lavish sets and costumes

The film has used expensive costumes for its two leading ladies. In one song and dance sequence, Madhuri Dixit wears an outfit weighing 30 kilograms.

Those with a stake in the film are buoyant about its success.

The film opened to packed audiences in Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta.

One of the film's distributors in Delhi , Mudit Gupta, told the BBC that he is confident that the film will be able to recover its production costs in the first few weeks itself.

It also opened on Friday in cinemas around Britain.

Rave reviews

The story of Devdas has been a favourite with Indian film-makers and several versions of the novel have been attempted before.

Aishwarya Rai and Shahrukh Khan
The romance ends in tragedy

The director of the latest film, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, said he decided on a new version because according to him, " there's a little bit of Devdas in every Indian male".

The film has received rave reviews.

And actress Aishwarya Rai says her role wsa a great challenge and she hopes it will be a milestone in her career.

"The publicity of the film and the grand cast will go a long way in making it a success," said film critic Aruna Vasudev.

The strategy seems to have worked if the crowds at the cinemas are any indication.

"I had to choose between Bend it Like Beckham and Devdas. I chose the latter and I am glad I did," said cinema-goer Ravi Behl, who watched the first show on the first day in a Delhi theatre.

See also:

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29 May 02 | Entertainment
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