Bombay Velvet

Let me start out by saying that I am fan of Ranbir Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap and Amit Trivedi. 

Ranbir is good even in his worst movies (Besharam and Roy) while Anurag's worst movies are better than most. 
Despite all the negative reviews, I told KC I want to watch this one in the theatre. We booked a cheaper theatre and I was surprised there were empty seats even an hour before the show.

The movie stars Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Karan Johar, Vivaan Shah, Kay Kay Menon, Manish Choudhary and Satyadeep Misra while Raveena Tandon, Remo Fernandes and Varun Grover have cameos.

The story is nothing new. It is an amalgam of many Hollywood and Bollywood movies. 
In the 60s, a guy called Balraj (Ranbir) wants to make it big in Mumbai. He befriends Chiman (Satyadeep) as a kid. They start with smuggling and then meet Kaizad Khambata (Karan) who takes them under his wing. Johhny Balraj and Chiman do Kaizad's dirty business and soon become well off but not filthy rich. Kaizad opens a club called Bombay Velvet and makes Johnny the manager. 
Rosie (Anushka) is a fabulous singer who is used by men since she was a child. She comes to Mumbai and sleeps with men who can help her earn a decent living. Johnny hears her sing and falls for her. Rosie starts sleeping with editor of a socialist newspaper Jimmy Mistry (Manish) and he sends her to Johnny to spy on him. Rosie becomes a star at Bombay Velvet and reciprocates Johnny's love. 
In the end, Kaizad and Johnny's relationship turns sour because of Johnny's ambition. It takes everyone down. 

What I really liked about the movie:

- Anurag has got the setting of Mumbai bang on. Every detail has been taken care of and nothing is out of place. That is a hell lot of effort for a Bollywood film. It is amazing. 

- The music is out of this world. I didn't know I like Jazz until I watched Chicago in college. The street Jazz dance classes taught me little about the music and the dance too. While the recent Whiplash was a musical orgy. Amit Trivedi is a genius. I couldn't have imagined a Bollywood movie could have Jazz music. Thanks to guys like Amit good music stays alive in Bollywood amidst all the trash of Honey Singh and Kanika Kapoor. There is a climax scene where the music plays to gunfire and action. That scene alone is worth all the money I paid for the movie. It is simply brilliant. Something like in Gangs of Wasseypur 2 but better... so much better. Sounds of bullets being fired are part of the music. 

- Ranbir Kapoor. There are many people online wondering if his star power has dimmed due to recent flops. I don't think it works that way. Ranbir took a risk and I think it worked. Who knew he could do action so well? He reminds me of Al Pacino in one of the gangster movies. Ranbir is perfect in every scene. Despite Besharam, which I did try to watch, and Roy- I would go and watch his movies. All his movies. I may not last till the end but I will try. 

- Anurag Kashyap. I think he did a good job with what he had. I don't think there is any flaw in the direction. He has tried something new and different and that in itself is commendable. I will never think twice about spending money on his films. He is simply brilliant. I don't think there is a BAD Anurag Kashyap film... and there never will be. 

- Costumes. Oh my god!!! I have never seen such costumes in any Bollywood movie. Anushka wears couture gowns... the kind we see on red carpets like Cannes. I don't mean Filmfare Awards and shit. Those gowns are not a patch on the ones you see at Oscars, Cannes or even the Met Gala. 

- Karan Johar. Honestly, I thought he would be over the top and ham his way through a negative role. But he is good. Very good. He should star in all his movies so that there is atleast someone who knows how to act. 

- Vivaan Shah. I have watched both his movies- Saat Khoon Maaf and Happy New Year. He is a good actor. I wondered what kind of roles he would get since he is not good looking and looks like a kid. Bombay Velvet should open doors for him because he makes an impact in his small role. And with the right styling, he could even play the main lead.

- Manish Choudhary and Kay Kay Menon. Superb. Kay Kay needs better roles. He could easily have played the main lead of this movie with as much panache as Ranbir. 

What I did not like:

- The biggest problem is the script. The story was nothing unique. I have seen Bollywood and Hollywood versions of these already. There is too much happening and a lot of it does not make sense. There are 2 kinds of action movies in Bollywood which make money

  •   The intelligent ones which are thrilling and make your mind tick. I don't think too many of these exist. 
  • Over the top, loud ones- Dabaang, Gabbar etc etc
Bombay Velvet belongs to neither category. It is definitely not the first one and it cannot ever hope to be the second one. There are too many gaps and weak points in the movie. Like, I didn't know when Rosie falls in love with Johnny. It is much later that you get to know she really loves him and is not just playing around. And why does she love him? That question is never answered. 

- The ending. It is such a terrible ending and made me want to cry. Like, what was the whole point of the movie? Was the 2.5 hours buildup for THIS? 

- Raveena Tandon. She is not sexy and looks more ugly in all that make up. Someone good-looking for a cameo next time, please? Like Malaika Arora Khan?

- Anushka Sharma. She wasn't bad. In fact, she acted well but somehow didn't make an impact. I didn't walk out of the theatre thinking how brilliant she is and I don't know why.

I did enjoy the movie but everyone around me was very, very bored. Watch it if you are an Anurag fan else avoid. 


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