Dev Ramalingam (Karthi) and Meghna Padmavathy (Rakul Preet) are different as chalk and cheese
. While Dev is adventure-loving and emotional, Meghna is career-oriented and practical. Yet they allow Cupid to strike. Dev is a simple, lighthearted story that states what happens, but doesn’t analyse.
Dev loves adventure. So, his best friend Vikki (Vigneshkanth) pushes him into another adventure-like concept, love. Like any other hero’s friend, Vikki encourages Dev and assures Meghna is the right girl for him. But she, in general, doesn’t like men because her dad left the family when she was a kid. Naturally, she is sceptical about Dev and his intentions.
Debutant Rajath is a fairly good storyteller because it’s not easy to keep the audience engaged when you can see what’s going to happen next. Dev isn’t an earth-shattering film, but it’s not bad at all. The story is far from perfect. At the same time, it doesn’t disappoint you either. What makes it refreshing is how Rajath narrates the story, drawing from day-to-day incidents that happen in life and his observation of people. As much as the director lets his lead characters bloom, he doesn’t ignore the supporting characters. The camaraderie between Dev, Vikki and Nisha (Amrutha Srinivasan) is a treat to watch.
No love story is complete without cars and bike rides to plot the course of love, right? That’s what happens in Dev, too. But it’s inadequate. Take this scene where Dev takes Meghna to witness the sunrise—it doesn’t do much to you. Let’s take a similar scene from Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada. The writing is so fantastic that even now if you visualise, it makes you smile and evoke a sense of nostalgia. STR and Manjima wake up early to watch the sunrise in Kanyakumari, and you catch Manjima yawn as you feel the dawn. That ‘feel’ is missing in Dev.
Karthi breezes through his portions and Rakul isn’t all that impressive. The lack of proper lip sync makes you feel a little disconnected. Dev boasts of some beautiful camera work and visually-appealing scenes. When a film has superb actors like Ramya Krishnan and Prakash Raj, you tend to expect some solid performances. But their characters are underwritten. Harris Jayaraj offers not-so-fresh tunes, and you hardly remember any of those songs when you step out of the movie hall.
As for the story, it doesn’t move forward with breakneck speed. There are extended sequences of flashbacks—which sometimes feel a tad too overlong. Rajath manages to inject a few fresh elements into Dev, which is enjoyable in parts. On the whole, I will tell you why it doesn’t feel fulfilling—Rajath’s protagonists are too good—and his world is filled with just too many feel-good moments like Karan Johar movies. But let me satisfy myself by saying—after all, like life, romance itself is a journey. Sometimes, it’s smooth. Half the times, it’s bumpy. So is Dev.