I know Kashyap can make bad films, which are plainly unwatchable sometimes. But 'Bombay Velvet' is so disappointing and depressing, it is another level of bad. With Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma in classy prints and stunning faces you do expect a lot. But the level of stupidity the film showcases is just unexpected, and in an Anurag Kashyap film, unwanted. The film never maages to keep us hooked even through the credits, forget the matter of lifting off. Amit Trivedi's music is the only find in this boring film. A genuine disappointment.
Among the list of much awaited Bollywood films of this year, Anurag Kashyap's "Bombay Velvet" would have figured prominently in the top half for most of the movie lovers. Well it was kinda understandable after all the cast & crew involved in the project were of proven credentials. Ever since the first look of the movie was released in January, just like many others even I was eagerly looking forward to its release. So does it have a script as captivating as its visual finesse???
India had recently earned its Independence & Bombay was making baby steps to being a metro as businessmen splurged money to make sure they reaped the profits by whatever means possible. One of the key players in this mad race was Kaizad Khambatta (Karan Johar), a stylish shrewd businessman & tabloid magnate who got all his dirty work done through his trusted aide, Johnny Balraj (Ranbir Kapoor). Johnny's journey from a small time con man to the manager of the iconic club, Bombay Velvet wasn't exactly a cake walk but his obsession to become a 'big shot' after being inspired by Hollywood gangster movies notably "The Roaring Twenties", made him commit crimes without batting an eyelid. If at all there was something which caused his heart to skip a beat, then it was Rosie (Anushka Sharma); who had also gone through a similar tumultuous childhood before becoming the most sought after singer of the club. Things moved along smoothly, until Johnny proved to be too big for his shoes. So has Johnny taken on more than what he can chew???
Anurag Kashyap belongs to the unique class of directors, whose movies are brutally realistic & that focuses more on the darker side of humans. In his latest venture, he has come with a stylised version of Bombay of the 1960s & actually it resembles more or less like a Hollywood movie of the yester years. Though he has done utmost justice to the technical aspects, he has failed to do the same when it came to the script. Based on Gyan Prakash's Mumbai Fables, the script by the quartet (Gyan, Anurag, Vasan Bala & S Thanikachalam) focuses on various plots against the backdrop of a romantic tale but unfortunately none of them woos the audience. The problem is such that the audience doesn't actually connect with the protagonist no matter whatever ill fate befalls on him.
However, from a technical point of view; "Bombay Velvet" absolutely rocks in all counts. Sonu Sawant's eye for detail with exquisite art designs & Niharika's elegant costumes were beyond words. Amit Trivedi's music which was predominantly jazz was outstanding & all kudos to Neeti Mohan for her brilliant rendition. Rajeev Ravi also deserves applause for his wonderful visuals while I felt the editing by Prerna Siagal & Thelma Schoonmaker could have been better.
Ranbir Kapoor has put on a scintillating performance as the protagonist which required charm & fury in adequate measure. Anushka has done a fine job though I felt maybe someone else like a Priyanka would have been a better choice as the character required more oomph & vulnerability; also she didnt seem so convincing as a singer. Karan Johar surprised me to be frank as he comes up with a credible act while Satyadeep Misra (as Ranbir's friend) was fantastic. As for the rest, Kay Kay impresses though he got a rather raw deal while Siddhartha Basu & Manish Chaudhury has done a fine job as well.
Verdict: The brand name of Anurag and an enviable cast & crew will ensure an encouraging initial at the box office. However, it's unlikely to cater to the taste of the audience due to a lack lustered script as the technical aspects could deliver only to a certain limit. In short, it had the potential to become a landmark movie but falls well short of expectations!!!
I really wanted to love this one! Though I don't agree with all the flak that it received!!!
One feels slightly intimidated and/or browbeaten to review Anurag Kashyap's films. His films are like the songs of American rock band Coldplay - most of them don't make much sense and because they don't make much sense, they can mean anything. Bombay Velvet is one such product.
Set between the late 40s and the late 60s in Bombay, story of a migrant, Balraj (Kapoor), who lives his life to grow exponentially on his own terms is hardly convincing. He begins his life with the monies hauled through pickpocketing and starts living his puzzling dream when he falls into the clutches of a bootlegger called Khambata (Johar). The build-up is faint as the story picks up pace to set the theme, which is about greed for power and fame that fixates our little, glam-doll protagonist.
Fear of anachronism is visible from frame one, and the brutal attention to details - to recapture (one prefers "reinvent" though) 50s'-60s' Bombay - is the greatest highlight of the film. This means the story is absorbingly clichéd.
The history of Bombay is heavily dealt with as the plot carves itself out, ending the crime drama with an epilogue that has a punctuation error in it. The touch of politics that drives the crime genre in the film is a cooler depiction of the developments that led to a city now called Mumbai, which became of Bombay and, is where I sit now and write this review. Now, THAT is fun to watch. Few familiar twists and turns drive the screenplay to a highly cribbed climax. Humor, if you can detect it, is wicked and forced.
Kapoor is phenomenal as the hero of the film, but my heart hardly ached for the lad as he went about gun-wielding to rip off men who denied his own way of maddeningly narcissistic life. The whole cast, including Sharma, Menon, and Basu do a beautiful job by staying in their characters. Debutante (that's what the intro credit says) Johar seems to have borrowed his natural effeminacy into the screen as he puts up a rather bad show at being a cool tycoon. His character is like a headless chicken who flounders (sic) after having pecked for cereals with other characters of the film. Pardon me for using a dialog from the film. If the makers can plagiarize (sorry, the right phrase is "be inspired"), why can't I?
I am tired of watching rip offs of that Godfather gun-in-the- flushbin idea, and that is when the film starts to fumble. With a soundtrack for the climax that reminds you of the Oscar Best Picture Birdman (2014) and FX TV show Fargo (2014), one can confirm the imagination quotient of the film. But do watch out for the mildest anti-smoking statutory warning in the history of Bollywood.
All said and done and having used few superlatives to describe the film's richness, I cannot use the word "original." And at a time when people go and die by originality, and partake in copyright fights, does a film made from ripping off old cult classics and popular ideas work? The audience have to decide. And boxing, if you wonder, from the trailers and the posters, is a gimmick. Apart from that, it is exhaustive at 150 long minutes.
BOTTOM LINE: Bombay Velvet, as an ambition, can be lauded for its art setup, which it never fails to brag about. But, with a phony villain and an over-smart hero, their joint saga is as raw as the blood that glimmers off the bodies of the men they kill. 5/10 - average.
Can be watched with a typical Indian family? NO
This review was sponsored by ProdNote (www.prodnote.com)
This is the third turkey Ranbir Kapoor delivers after Abhinav Kashyap's Besharam (2013) and Roy (2015). A hat-trick no doubt. Both Kashyap brothers - Abhinav and Anurag have wrongly milked Ranbir dry. Ranbir should pull up his socks and get married to Kat for her luck to rub off on him. He looks lost in the movie with a dopey look. Too much of inhaled stuff, I guess. All that 60s' look and classic and dark shoots fall flat. No amount of media glorifying it will work. This is banal tamasha to wait for Kat's Jagga Jasoos (2016).
Anushka Sharma is no Deepika Padukone, not even an iota close. After her lip job, she looks like a bee-strung blob. And the weird dresses she hangs over her, compete with tents. Next year she'll get the National Award for no category. Karan Johar should stick to being a 'director'. That spot was also courtesy SRK. Johar is till now considered gay. Post-release of this movie, he may have to look for other labels! Jiska kaam usi ko saajhe. Aur kare toh danda baaje. With a stiff upper lip (effect of mouche) he hardly performs forget act. He is debuting with this movie and his role is shaped after Blitz editor Russi Karanjia. OK, that's inuf!
The songs r something from Mars, I mean 'out of this world'. So, let them remain out of this world. We mere mortals cannot decipher them, forget enjoy. Not only the movie is based on a book, even its poster is plagiarized from English movie (Gone With The Wind, 1939). But the Hindi actors forgot to ape their English counterparts! Even there is a remix song of Jaata kahan hai deewane (CID, 1956). There is no novelty or creativity in the movie, except borrowed plumes.
As far as the ishtory goes (u still waiting for it!!!), watch an 80s' Amit or Dharam's movie. An aspiring boxer hero, a singer heroine and a cardboard villain with a feel for the heroine. Each one of them is a cardboard. No actors. Raveena Tandon Thadani in a special appearance does the opening credits with a dance number. Balraj (Ranbir Kapoor) is a son of a sex worker. Frustration leads him to becoming a boxer to earn ready cash. His good friend is Chiman (Satyadeep Misra). They work for Kaizad Khambata (Karan Johar), editor of the tabloid Torrent. Kaizad offers his wife Mrs Khambatta (Shanti) to lure other men to blackmail them. His interest is in men. He tells Balraj to take care of his club Bombay Velvet and also to gradually finish off the communists.
Jimmy Mistry (Manish Chaudhury), is the editor of labour tabloid Glitz. Jimmy sends a singer Rosie Noronha (Anushka Sharma) to lure Balraj. But the duo fall in love. And...Kaizad too develops feelings for Rosie! Mayhem follows literally. The 'heart'y wars take over media wars. Think about Times of India vs Hindustan Times or The Hindu vs The Indian Express or The Telegraph vs whatever... The audience may not wait for this lengthy banal movie's inane ending. Both Persis Khambatta and Kaizad Gustad may take offence to 'Kaizad Khambatta'. The only plus to this movie is it is rich with Parsi characters.
As far as director Anurag Kashyap goes, he can take solace in his ex-wife Kalki Koechlin's marvelous performances. A terrific actress. He should hang up his director's boots. Period. He is no creative person. He just want to move up the social ladder making trash. Naach na jaane, aangan tedha. Anurag was dilly-dallying on this turkey's release. He knew its fate. He shouldn't have made. He shouldn't have released it. There were two earthquakes in Nepal. This is a man-made one in India that'll paralyze the audience in to curly thinking.
Historian Gyan Prakash (63), on whose book MUMBAI FABLES (2010), this movie is based on, will be left tearing his hair out. He'll spent sleepless nights till the day he reaches grave, where he'll toss and turn! Two good movies - ISHQEDARRIYAAN and LATEEF pushed forward their release later this month to offer space to this turkey. They shouldn't have bothered. This movie needs at least 200 weeks continuously to make its presence felt. I can predict its BO but why bother for what'll be apparent soon? Pahlaj Nihalani has a lot to answer for letting it go without cuts. He should resign when he doesn't know his job instead of being a BJP stooge. Even God will NOT save this movie...even with a barge pole. It shouldn't have been attempted.
Really loved this one, awesome music, acting, cinematography and especially the scale. Once again Anurag Kashyap delivers a masterpiece.....though it lacks at some points but still I think its a must watch
This is the biggest disappointment of the year. Bombay Velvet is Technically brilliant but it suffers from a narrative inept that takes away the soul of the film. There is not a single scene in the film that can be qualified as Anurag Kashyap's trademark style. It's 2+ hours of complete nothingness.
Brilliant in scale, cinematography, acting & music but it lacks in the Anurag Kashyap's origanality & also because of the incoherent script.