“Daaga Seth, Main aaj bhi phenke huye paise nahi utha ta” There is a reason why this dialog tugs at your heart.
There is a reason why Vijay’s character attracts you. There is a reason why you cry when he’s shot. There is a reason why those dialogs, scenes, moments, and movies remain in your memory. The magic of Salim-Javed -Amitabh-Yash Chopra is a bias, and it will remain so for the rest of our lives.
But wait,why are we talking about Deewar when we are reviewing Bombay Velvet? For starters, relax, there is no connection in story line plot or class.Bombay Velvet is at best a wannashine . There were lots of opportunities where Anurag Kashyap could ve delivered that sucker punch,that killer dialog,or that classic shot, however unfortunately ,the scenes or the storyline do not do justice to the portrayal of Johnny Balraaj or Bombay which are the two protagonists.
But the reason I brought Deewar into context is because of a similarity of thought between how Vijay goes from being a coolie in the docks to a top shot in the gang world and how the city of Bombay plays an active role in the narrative.Anurag Kashyap’s gloss with the boss, Bombay Velvet is nothing but an ode to such movies of yesteryear like Deewar or perhaps a sequel to something like Once upon a time in Mumbai, which I thought had a tighter character description i.e. Sultan Mirza.
Bombay Velvet is like Manchester United of yore. A team full of stars ,but lacked magic as a team for most part. Anurag Kashyap,Karan Johar,Ranbir Kapoor,Anushka Sharma, Kay Kay Menon etc. a pedigree which could slap you in the face make you believe it was a complement. But there is none of that. If Anurag could argue that the expectations were too high, I would argue that would you rather have it otherwise? A whopping 90Cr. movie ( though unconfirmed,) a very high budget by Indian standards is better off with high expectations I reckon.
So what’s the story about? A street urchin who wants to make it big.A city which wants to make it big.Rest of the objects rally around it.Rest of cast wraps around the narrative albeit inconsistently. You have the gloss, the visuals ,the costume designs, sets,music and background score are quite good as is the attention to detail ( like Mohandas & Co. ,Roshan Talkies etc.), you have the stars.
So whats missing? The connect is missing.The mojo is missing. A compelling tug in the heart is missing.The protagonist’s plight and the evolving Bombay storyline are sketchy at best.Never compelling that the audience cringes , laughs, cries and feels for the narratives.
Ranbir Kapoor with blood shot eyes in more than 50% of the movie tries his best to play the part, he is not going to pull off a Tony Montana ,but he does well in whatever limited framework was given to him, perhaps a touch over.Its like trying a bit too hard.Anushka was perhaps the best in the song Dhadam Dhadam, letting go of her emotions , though i must say her lips were distracting,no pun intended. Karan Johar was a bit too camera and angle conscious I thought.Acting,and I am no expert,just a fan,is also about being carefully careless.You need to ease up a bit.So without being too critical his first effort was ok – barring the climax scene when he runs out of bullets.Bad donut. Bad expression that.Reshoot that one please.
I am going to go with 2 out of 5 for this Anurag Kashyap effort. Anurag , I mean after you’ve created a cult classic like Gangs of Wasseypur, this did not go with your compelling story telling ability. As a fan of your craft,I will hope and pray and wait for your next venture to make amends.
So in conclusion, Bombay Velvet never gets to be the Big Shot it wants to be, sadly remains the average common man.