Movie Review: Bombay Velvet


Movie Name : Bombay Velvet

Director: Anurag Kashyap

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Karan Johar, Kay Kay Menon, Manish Chaudhary, Satyadeep Misra and Siddharth Basu

Stars : 4 (**** stars)

Don’t mistake Bombay Velvet as an epic. Its sense of achievement is only rivaled by its ambitions. Anurag Kashyap  has set out to make a film that even Hollywood would be proud of. After looking at the visuals you’d say he achieved his target too. But the film is more than just its technical excellence and/or the director’s vision. The key area of any commercial film, the writing, convulsion in Bombay Velvet, specially in the third act as well as some important dialogues. It leaves one a little underwhelmed.

The Story :

Ranbir Kapoor is Johnny 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 deception. There’s a remarkably candid rapport. And it all deserved a more imaginative and appropriate end than the one chosen by Anurag Kashyap for his film. In its exhaustingly 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 cautious 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 are kiddish & very simple which rob the films momentum.

Performance :

What keeps things on track, even with some major maneuvering, are the performances. First and foremost, Karan Johar is the surprise package of this film. He 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 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. Yet, he brings his top game to a wonderfully eccentric character. It’s the kind of role whih is to be written for the likes of Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. And Ranbir looks effortlessly comfortable in the character. Anushka has just picked up the intensity where she left it in NH10. 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. Brilliant! is the only word that will come to your mind.

Teamwork :

Superb is not enough for the efforts of Amit Trivedi and lyricts Amitabh Bhattacharya in composing the music of Bombay Velvet. The jazz 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 unvarying integrity.

Conclusion :

All said and done, this movie is Anurag Kashyap’s dream. It’s his stylized and well-crafted version of films like Moulin Rouge. Not that he’s inspired by these films. Rather it’s his homage to the classics. This is why you’ll find so many musical as well as plot references to old movies. This film is inspired by the writing of Gyan Prakash on Bombay’s colourful history.

So when parts of Bombay’s actual history assemble on this gaudy world of guns, gangsters, suits and pretty women it just makes creative imbalance. It’s like too many tracks and influences fighting 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 of 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 for the viewers.

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