Posted: 15 May 2015 at 7:54pm | IP Logged
The ApunKaChoice movie review of 'Bombay Velvet'. There is nothing velvety about Anurag Kashyap's latest film. Characters move through the haze of cigarette smoke, blood is ritually splattered, gunfire breaks out at the drop of a hat, and dead bodies pile up by the numbers you don't care to count after a while.
'Bombay Velvet' is a film that hits you in the gut and tugs at your heartstrings at the same time. It is a film that eschews the beaten track and aims to give its viewers not just entertainment, but a cinematic experience. It comes pretty close to achieving that. Only it its ambitious sweep, the movie gets too knotty, overlong and overwrought. Another might-have-been-a-cinematic-masterpiece.
The crowning glory of Bombay Velvet' is the character of Johnny Balraj, played incredibly well by Ranbir Kapoor. This man Johnny is a self-propelled torpedo, a loose cannon, a reckless hotheaded wannabe who won't be guided, controlled or coerced by anyone in his bloody rise to be a bigshot of the prohibitionist Bombay of 1960s. He's a fighter who's got the gall and stomach to take a lot of beating, but he's not a quitter.
Trailer: Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma's violent love story in Bombay Velvet'
Bombay Velvet' is essentially the love story of Johnny and Noronha (Anushka Sharma). She's a beautiful singer who's suffered abuse at the hands of men. The story plays out in the Bombay Velvet club in a sprawling city that is a fertile turf for the avaricious capitalists or principled communists to exploit. If the profiteering Khambatta (Karan Johar) uses Johnny as his pawn to blackmail or curry favours with the powers-that-be (Siddharth Basu plays the venal city Mayor), his friend-turned-foe Jimmy Mistry (Manish Chaudhary) uses his newspaper to stoke the flames of communism and stem Khambatta's growth in the corridors of power.
Johnny and Noronha's love story is inextricably entangled in this mess. He is the manager of the Bombay Velvet club where she is a singer. She's there to spy on him. He trusts her to death. What happens when Johnny's trust is broken and his meteoric rise to be a big shot halted? Hell breaks loose.
Bombay Velvet' is director Anurag Kashyap's ode to Raoul Walsh's 1939 Hollywood movie The Roaring Twenties'. The film has beautiful art and production design. Kashyap shows an incredible eye for the detail. The city of Bombay has been recreated in a sepia tone by cinematographer Rajeev Ravi and everything in the city, from cars and trams and the brand of refrigerators or matchboxes to the newspaper headlines and signboards conform to that period.
Watch: Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma in Bombay Velvet' song Fifi'
Another remarkable thing about the film is the way the songs are seamlessly stitched in the story. One song after another segues in and out smoothly. Kudos to Amit Trivedi for a superb jazzy score.
Bombay Velvet' is powered with terrific performances by its actors. Ranbir Kapoor steals the show with his feral act as a reckless Johnny with his apun tapun' lingo and trigger-happy finger. He is truly the toast of this film, followed by Anushka Sharma who comes up with a subtle act as a vulnerable Rosie who can slap back her tormentors when pushed against the wall. Karan Johar makes a creditable acting debut and has a sly smirk that works well for his character. Kay Kay Menon (as an investigating officer), Manish Chaudhary, Siddharth Basu and Vivaan Shah (as a driver) make the cut on the sidelines.
Director Anurag Kashyap nearly pulls off a mammoth feat in Bombay Velvet'. The film is beautiful but turns into a mess in the second half. There's an absolutely ridiculous twist when Ranbir's Johnny tries to get Rosie off the hook. Nearing its fag end, the film doesn't know what it wants to be anymore: a love story or a revenge saga. Sadly, it ends up being neither.
Watch Bombay Velvet' for Ranbir Kapoor's wild and volatile act. It's his best to date.
Definitely worth a watch