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Joined: 02 February 2015
Director: Anurag Kashyap
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Karan Johar, Kay Kay Menon, Manish Chaudhary, Satyadeep Misra and Siddharth Basu
Make no mistake, Bombay Velvet is an epic. Its sense of achievement is only rivaled by its ambitions. Anurag Kashyap set out to make a film that even Hollywood (read Martin Scorsese) would be proud of. One look at its visuals and you'd say he achieved his target too. But a film is much more than just its technical prowess and/or the director's vision. A key area of any commercial film, the writing, dodders in Bombay Velvet, especially in the third act as well as some important dialogue. It leaves you a little underwhelmed. It's disappointing all the more because the build-up is so fascinating and the performances are stellar. If only the writers had stayed away from the party-pooping clichs.
The story and the Achilles' heel of this saga is a run-of-the-mill romance. Ranbir Kapoor is Johnny aka Balraj and Anushka Sharma is Rosie. He's a post partition victim and she's fallen prey to the evil of men in Portuguese occupied Goa. Searching for a life in Bombay, like every other character in the movie, they meet and something just clicks. Their love chronicle is predictable but certainly not straight-laced. There are twists and turns. There's a game of deceit. There's a remarkably candid rapport. And it all deserved a more imaginative and appropriate end than the one Anurag Kashyap chose for his film. In its arduous narrative, the film takes a while to set things up. It's because the screenplay devotes that much time in establishing characters. As a result, Karan Johar's Kaizad Khambatta and Manish Chaudhary's Jimmy Mistry stand out and get noticed. Even the two lead characters are flawlessly executed. But that meticulous design goes missing when time comes for the story to conclude. The final act of Bombay Velvet nearly derails the film. Certain dialogue, most notably the one's written for Kay Kay Menon's character is childishly simple. It just robs the film of its momentum.
What keeps things on track, albeit with some major maneuvering, are the performances. First and foremost, Karan Johar is the surprise package of this film. The man belongs in front of the camera. In a classic lovers versus gangsters set up, he brings a stylish and suave sense of freshness to the bad guy. His performance makes the villain funny, novel and entertaining. Manish Chaudhary as Jimmy Mistry, an ego-driven megalomaniac is suitably intense. Satyadeep Misra, puts in a decent effort as Chimman, Balraj's best friend. But the film belongs to Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma. Ranbir needn't prove how good an actor he is, his career is already a shining example of the same. Yet, he brings his top game to a wonderfully eccentric character. It's the kind of role they used to write for the likes of Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. And Ranbir looks effortlessly comfy in the skin of his character. Anushka has just picked up the intensity where she left it in NH10. This actress is truly on top. Her efforts make you believe in the love story and that edgy but fun chemistry between the leads. The highlight though, is her performance on stage singing those love jazz inspired songs. One word - brilliant!
A list of superlatives is not enough for the efforts of Amit Trivedi and lyricts Amitabh Bhattacharya in composing the music of Bombay Velvet. The jazz driven numbers are a perfect complement to the gangster and club setting of the film. Rajeev Ravi's camerawork deserves a special mention. There's certain Hollywood feel to the film and it all comes down to the remarkable light play that Ravi's cinematography achieves. Similarly, the editing despite this being a lengthy feature, does more than one favour. It gives the movie a sense of homogenous integrity.
All said and done, this movie is Anurag Kashyap's theatre of dreams. It's his stylized and well-crafted rendition of films like Moulin Rouge and Scarface. Not that he's inspired by these films. Rather it's his homage to these classics. This is why you'll find so many musical as well as plot references to old movies. But all that effort goes a-begging because the filmmaker tries to sneak in too many things in too little space. This film is inspired by the writing of Gyan Prakash on Bombay's colourful history. So when parts of Bombay's actual history converge on this kitschy world of guns, gangsters, suits and pretty women it just makes creative disparity. It's like too many tracks and influences muscling to take control of the viewer. But none manage to hit home the message. And that's what makes Bombay Velvet's conclusion so anticlimactic. It just doesn't come together in the end.
Having said that, Anurag Kashyap does manage to make a movie that is up there with Hollywood standards. In its two-hours-thirty-minutes runtime, it manages more than a handful of memorable moments. The romantic formula might've let it down, but the real story of this film is how well it's conceived and presented. A certified visual delight.
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hedwig_fawkes, princessunara, Angel-likeDevil,
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Good night and congrats to Anurag Kashyap for losing challenge n see here how he will cut his Hathiyar.
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