Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bombay Velvet review: "Technically brilliant but not quite a velvety viewing experience!!!

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???

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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!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben

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