Devdas is the soundtrack of the 2002 Indian Hindi-language film of the same name directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. It was released on 2 April 2002 by Universal Music India. The soundtrack, which was developed for two years, contains nine original songs (composed by Ismail Darbar and Birju Maharaj) and one background score (composed by Monty Sharma), with lyrics by Nusrat Badr and Sameer Anjaan. The film’s screenplay was written by Bhansali and Prakash Ranjit Kapadia. It stars Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Madhuri Dixit, with Kirron Kher, Smita Jaykar and Vijayendra Ghatge playing supporting roles.
Shreya Ghoshal made her playback singing debut, following her 2000 meeting with Bhansali at a contest in Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. The composition of Devdas uses several Indian instruments, including basants, dholaks, sarangis, sitars and tablas. The album received positive reviews from music critics, who mostly praised Ghoshal’s singing and Darbar’s composition. It won several awards, including two National Film Awards and three Filmfare Awards. “Dola Re Dola” and “Maar Dala” are regarded as the best songs from Devdas, being listed as such by several publications. It emerged as the third-highest-selling Bollywood soundtrack album of 2002.
The soundtrack was composed by Ismail Darbar, making it his second collaboration with Sanjay Leela Bhansali after Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (2000), and the lyrics were written by Nusrat Badr, respectively—except for “Kaahe Chhed”, composed and written by Birju Maharaj, and “Morey Piya”, written by Sameer Anjaan.Monty Sharma finished the background score. The vocals were performed by Madhuri Dixit, Jaspinder Narula, Kavita Krishnamurthy, KK, Maharaj, Raghav Chatterjee, Rashmi Sharma, Shreya Ghoshal, Supriya Adhikari, Udit Narayan and Vinod Rathod. Maharaj, Saroj Khan, Vaibhavi Merchant and the duo Pappu–Malu were the choreographers.Devdas was directed by Bhansali and produced by Bharat Shah under his banner, Mega Bollywood. The director co-wrote the film’s screenplay with Prakash Ranjit Kapadia, a Gujarati dramatist and television series writer. It stars Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Dixit, while Kirron Kher, Smita Jaykar and Vijayendra Ghatge play supporting roles. The film was released in theatres worldwide on 12 July 2002, proved to be a commercial success, and received mixed response from critics.
“I just couldn’t get the mood of the song right. And after some takes, I started crying. But Ismailji and Sanjay uncle were very encouraging and told me I could do it. Their faith in me did the trick, and after that I got the song just right. After the recording, Bhansaliji and Ismailji said since I do a better job after I cry, they would make me cry [every time] before the recording.”
—Ghoshal on the recording of “Silsila Ye Chahat Ka”
While the composing of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam required Darbar to do much research, he wanted to create the music for Devdas “straight from the heart”. He decided to not listen to the earlier remakes’ soundtracks, as he did not want to be influenced; however, after it was 80 percent completed, he finally got chances to listen to the last 20 minutes of Bimal Roy‘s 1955 version‘s music. Darbar called the film’s soundtrack “not even 5 [percent] of Bhansali’s interpretation” and said he “wanted the music to match these heights without bothering if it had the required Bengali flavor. But I did use a classical base and the Baul of Bengal.”Mehboob Kotwal was the first choice for the lyricist. However, because of a conflict between him and Darbar, Badr replaced Kotwal on his debut as a lyricist. Anjaan wrote the lyrics for the song “Morey Piya” only.
Ghoshal made her Bollywood playback singing debut through Devdas, with “Bairi Piya” being the first song she recorded. She first met Bhansali on 9 March 2000, while she participated for a contest from a children’s episode of the musical game show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. He was impressed by Ghoshal after she won the contest, asking her to move to Mumbai so she could pursue her playback career; she subsequently moved with her family from Kota, Rajasthan. Both Darbar and Bhansali offered Ghoshal the opportunity to be the voice of Rai Bachchan’s character Paro; according to them, her voice had the innocence needed for the character. She said, “When I sang, I imagined myself to be Paro. Just like Aishwarya. I tried to bring in the Paro’s pain, confidence and innocence.” Darbar suggested Bhansali to use Dixit’s vocals for the song “Kaahe Chhed”, although he was initially uncertain about Maharaj’s opinion. Each song—which all had to be mixed for eight or nine times each—was recorded in 10 days.Basants, dholaks, sarangis, sitars and tablas were used in the compositions. The development was completed after two years.