Movie Review::Bombay Velvet

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An Anurag Kashyap movie always has history associated with it. Similarly Bombay Velvet also comes with its share. Initially there were rumors of Aamir Khan being a part of the movie, then the movie was about to be shelved due to budget issues and finally there was always a scare of  how “Bombay” could be used in title. Thankfully all the issues were sorted out and here we have Anurag Kashyap’s magnum opus Bombay Velvet. Lets see how this one fares

Bombay Velvet has a very intelligent plot to start with. It talks about post independent India mainly Bombay’s journey with elements like corruption, pomp, capitalist mindset with some very interesting characters in the backdrop. Yet there seems to be a problem with this plot – the director leaves a lot for viewers to understand, interpret and in some places also assume. Thus the viewer is lost at multiple times at what just happen! Balraj(Ranbir) and Chimman(Satya) bond over a street fight in the city’s underbelly and soon become best buddies/crime partners. Balraj, the ambitous of the two, lusts to become a “big shot” in the city of dreams.They soon run into a conniving Kaizad Khambatta(Karan Johar) who is just waiting for some like Balraj to complete his grand plan. Soon the trio turn the situation in favour of them by either eliminating their foes or luring the politicians with women and then blackmailing them. Thus Bombay Velvet, the club, right in the heart of the city is born which propels Balraj in realizing his dream and makes way for Khambatta to carry out all his illegal activities. Enter Rosie(Anushka Sharma) the jazz singer cum spy of the newpaper editor Jimmy Mistry who is sent to obtain the evidence of Khambatta’s activities. As expected Rosie falls in love with Balraj without realizing she is just a pawn in the whole scheme of things. What happens next forms the story!

Apart from my initial problems with the plot I have another fundamental issue with the movie; the dialogues. They are far too plain and cliche. With Anurag Kashyap being there you expect those quirky one liners and acidic responses..Infact dialogues have always been the forte of Kashap’s movies(remember ‘permission’ dialogue from GoW, the ‘withdraw’ dialogue from Gulaal-they were brilliant). In terms of dialogues and scene execution the movie falls flat, there is no one scene which will stay with you post the movie gets over.

However what stands out are the performances. Ranbir Kapoor gives his heart and soul into the role of Johnny Balraj. He is exceptionally good and stands out in all the scenes keeping his best for the last scene where he kills the antagonist. Anushka does most of her talking through her eyes and expressions. Though she is subdued in most of the scenes, she plays the second fiddle perfectly. The surprise package of the movie is Karan Johar who definitely steals the limelight. Watch him in the scene where he takes a moment in between a conversation, goes out of the room and laughs out aloud. He is simply superb! Rest of the cast is strictly OK. Songs keep appearing from nowhere during the scenes but I must say Amit Trivedi’s jazz experiment fares quite well. Couple of numbers are hum-worthy.

On the whole I would say the movie is strictly average-thanks to flimsy dialogues and power packed performances. As a huge fan of Anurag Kashyap, I am DISAPPOINTED!

-Ashwath

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