Bollywood and the Rule of Law

In this fascinating paper, Michael Hoffheimer surveys the changing treatment of law and lawyers from Saratchandra’s original novels Devdas and Parineeta, Bimal Roy’s classic film dramatizations of the 50s, and the 2002 and 2005 hits. He argues that the mythic reworking of the stories shows the enduring appeal of the conflict between romantic love and social convention. And he shows that the transformation of the male lead in Parineeta from lawyer to musician and the corresponding transformation of Devdas from rusticated student to alcoholic lawyer pit law directly against eros and complete the personification of lawyers as bad lovers. Hoffheimer corrects a huge historic oversight in providing the first discussion in an English language law review of Saratchandra and of the classic film translations of his works.

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