Movie Review : Bombay Velvet

Bombay Velvet: Nothing Jazzy about this Velvet

The much awaited Anurag Kashyap mega budget saga “Bombay Velvet” released this Friday. Looking at the track record of Anurag who breaks norms, the same was expected of “Bombay Velvet”. The movie was touted as the best neo noir movie of Bollywood.

But alas the bubble bust and “Bombay Velvet” based on the famous historian Gyan Prakash’s book “Bombay Fables” is just an ordinary movie which is high on the glamour quotient. The story captures the lives of two individuals Johnny (Ranbir Kapoor) and Rosie (Anushka Sharma) and their love story. Set in 1960’s Bombay it chronicles the events which actually made Bombay the Financial Capital of the country which it is today and how the lives changed for the people living in the city.

Screenplay written by Gyan Prakash & Anurag Kashyap and co-written by Vasan Bala & Thani oscillates from being a love story to being a Bombay Velvet Reviewmafia movie and the outcome is a complete chaos. The movie neither could justify being a love story nor being a mafia thriller. The flow of the screenplay is not smooth and looks as if the events were conceptualized in isolation and later put together. In a nutshell it lacks a story line and instead relies heavily on presentation and glamour. Too many characters without any proper graph are another issue with the writing. The second half is a drag and you just wait for the end to happen. Few sequences are stretched unnecessarily.

The dialogues are hardly impressive. It varies from being either serious to outright stupid making the plot more inconsistent.
It is the Production Design by Sonal Sawant which is the biggest highlight of the movie and actually overshadows other aspects. Every aspect is detailed and is flawless. The other highlight is the costume design by Niharika Khan. Every character’s costumes is detailed to the T, especially the costumes of Anushka during the Jazz performances are commendable. Another highlight which makes the movie a worth watch is the cinematography by Rajeev Ravi, he captures the Bombay of 60’s beautifully. Predominantly shot in Sepia tone, it complements the mood of the movie beautifully.

Editing by Prerna Saigal and Hollywood’s Thelma Schoonmaker is another flaw; it could have been more crisp and concise.
Amit Trivedi’s music is the most soothing factor of the movie. Amit’s jazz compositions will be remembered for a long time. Amiabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics go from being poetic to outright chessy what with words like “Dhadham Dhadham” in a song sequence meant to be sad sequence.

Performances by the ensemble cast make the movie bearable. Ranbir as Johnny the fickle minded, short tempered orphan does an earnest job, though I would not say this is his best performance but he tries very hard to overcome the short comings of the writing. Anushka as Rosie the jazz singer is a complete miscast. She lacked the oomph factor which was required for this role, though she brings the innocence but fails to create an overall impact. Karan Johar as the scheming and menacing Kaizad Khambatta does well in whatever was given to him, but looks visibly uncomfortable in the menacing acts. Kay Kay Menon though has a brief role of a detective, but he shines the most and overshadows others. The surprise package of the movie is Satyadeep Mishra as Chimman, Johnny’s best buddy. Satyadeep’s act is effortless and extremely impressive. Siddharth Basu as the Mayor struggles both in language and in performance. Manish Choudhary as Jimmy Mistry is impressive. Rest of the cast does a good job.

Anurag Kashyap ambition unfortunately did not match his vision, which resulted in “Bombay Velvet” being a wannabe mix of Martin Scorsesse and Quinton Tarrantino movie. Kashyap was not clear whether he wanted to make Broadway Musical or a Criminal Thriller or a quintessential love story, a huge disappointment by Anurag Kashyap. I will go with Two and a Half Stars…

Movie Rating: 2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

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