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Bombay Velvet Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Friday, May 15, 2015 • Hindi ]
Bombay Velvet Review
Fox Star Studios, Phantom Productions
Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Naseeruddin Shah, Kay Kay Menon, Karan Johar, Siddhartha Basu, Raveena Tandon
Anurag Kashyap
Anurag Kashyap

What is it all about?

Anurag Kashyap’s paradigm shift from radical to mainstream commercial cinema is a beautifully shot, flawlessly detailed period saga enriched by gorgeous performance, but this well crafted technical wizardy lacks depth, allows the clichés to have its say and falls short of its dream to be the magnum opus it should have being.

The Story

Proclaimed to be based on historian Gyan Prakash's book Mumbai Fables, ‘Bombay Velvet’ gets its screen writing done by Vasan Bala, Gyan Prakash, Anurag Kashyap and S.Thanikachalam that shoos away to tell any history and prefers to stay cool in saying a period 1969 love story drenched in grandiose, color style and nostalgia.

Johnny Balraj (Ranbir Kapoor) a full time petty thief and part time boxer at night.. one night at a cinema hall he watches Director Raoul Walsh 1939 movie - The Roaring Twenties the last lines in the movie ‘He used to be a big shot’ inspires ‘apun’ ka Ranbir to be the big shot on bambai (Bombay).

Rosie (Anushka Sharma) is a singer inspired by Geeta Dutt as she sings ‘jata kaha hai deewane’ in a local den their eyes twinkle and its love at first sight..

Its prohibition time in Bombay and Parsi media baron Kaizad Khambata (Karan Johar) finds an ideal manager in Johnny for his bootlegging plans and a flamboyant night club ‘Bombay Velvet’ is formed providing a gateway to Khambata’s bootlegging and other illegal activities.

Khambata rival Jimmy Mistry also a media baron is hell bent to expose him. Rosie finds a job in Bombay Velvet and rest of the film is how the hopes, dreams of Johnny and Rosie collide with their individual realities while Khambata and Jimmy take on each other.

Well this is what probably should have being the film sounding on paper but on screen its overtaken by those ambitious flashy jazz hands that make it look more like a love story or a circa dramatic thriller that was expected to reach out and grab you.

What to look out for

Looking exceptionally beautiful, the movie magically transports the audience into the era starting with 1949. Incredibly flawless detailing is seen over here.. Errol Kelly (Design Consultant: Sri Lanka), Sonal Sawant, Sameer Sawant’s art direction, Kazvin Dangor, Rose Maria Tharakan set decoration, Niharika Khan’s costume and Puneet b Saini’s make up, Rajeev Ravi’s camera and Thelma Schoonmaker’s editing deserves a standing ovation. A classic piece of work.

Anurag Kashyap’s narration is intoxicating with occasional tributes to Raoul Walsh, Brian De Palma, Martin Scorsese, The Coen brothers and Bollywood cinema of the golden era.

Ranbir Kapoor delivers an exceptional performance. Anushka Sharma is ravishing and does beautifully.

The chemistry of Ranbir and Anushka is cool, elegant and fresh. Karan Johar impresses. Satyadeep Misra as Chimman, Balraj's friend is brilliant.

Other support cast also chips in with excellent support - Siddhartha Basu, Remo Fernandes, Vivaan Shah Raveena Tandon in  a cameo and last but not the least K K Menon as the special cop.

Amit Trivedi music rightly jazzes up the proceedings. Dhadam dhadam and mohabbat buri bimari beign the pick of the lot.

What not?

Oh gorgeous.. you are so beautiful but why so serious and predictable my love..Darling you impressed me but am not moved..'Bombay Velvet' is a treat to the eyes but fails to beat your heart. Undoubtedly ambitious Anurag Kashyap is seen suffering from Baz Luhrmann's syndrome noticed in ‘The Great Gatsby’ - compromising on visual spectacle at the expense of its story, soul, theme and heart.

Without a single moment of laughter the movie is mysteriously serious all the way through. Considering it is the directors first major big shot at the mainstream escapisms its baffling.

The absolute sannata (silence) on Khambata’s intentions spoils the momentum. After a brilliant start and as we are settled by the interval for a more arresting grab in the second half, the audience gets unexplained but well organize scenes without knowing what are the characters up to.. Ranbir fires all over holding two ‘Tommy’ gun in both hands ( how Scarface is that) but ends up killing only two.., people are getting killed, bombed, blackmailed for some big real estate, the mill workers strike all this doesn’t has a central point in the story line.

On the other hand the movie is more about Jhonny’s love affair and his fall from the manager of flamboyant night club - 'Bombay Velvet' not an invitation to the to the ball on how he becomes a gangster.

Further Anurag allows all the known clichés of the golden era to take over unconvincingly without any coherent connection to the proceedings. Double role and the worst part was the forced history thrown on us during the end credit explaining the story behind WTC building in Cuffe Parade Mumbai. Should it be called 1970 - WTC Ek love story.. what was Bombay Velvet Mr Kashyap..

Conclusion: Alas the big shot of radical, indie cinema Anurag Kashyap sees a gorgeous escapist mainstream dream in ‘Bombay Velvet’ but in ‘reality’ falls short of the expectations.. the ‘ugly’ cliché depth less story spoils the glory..

Baaki Ke Saare Fasaane, Baki Reh Gayi Teri Kasam

Fifty Fifty

Zamaana Hai Bura.... Ambitious attempt..

better luck next time

Rating: 2.50 / 5.0

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