Anurag Kashyap (the man whose two films as a director and more than four films as a writer already there in the ‘Movies To See Before You Die’ List at BTC), is widely known for his bold and disturbing off-beat movies that mostly struggle at the box office in search of some decent returns. Hence to break this set pattern of his career, he desperately wanted to take a big leap by making a commercial box office success with BOMBAY VELVET setting some new records in the trade. Luckily he got all his big finances delivered, a reputed cast enrolled and an exceptionally talented technical crew at his disposal too, ready to help him deliver a polished finished product to win over the viewers.
But unfortunately Anurag couldn’t get the mathematics of Hindi commercial cinema right in his calculations, resulting in a completely avoidable product that simply fails to connect with the viewers in its entire duration of 150 minutes showcasing a lot of overplay, over confidence and visible pressure of delivering a ‘made to order’ classic.
However to begin with the positives associated with the project, BOMBAY VELVET does get its time period graphics worked upon perfectly well supported by a fine cinematography and an energetic background score. It has a splendid show of lighting, costumes and set designing enhancing the visual impact on the screen, setting up the desired mood along with the ‘jazz’ notes. Plus the performances are mostly intense getting into their given characters passionately. Yet the most important factor missing in the film remains ‘the instant connect with the viewers’ that isn’t visible right from its first sequence to the last, which has to be the prime concern of a director making a Hindi commercial film to entertain his wide audience.
To give you a precise idea, it honestly gives me immense pain when I have to pull down such a movie wherein hundreds of talented technicians have worked together so hard to the best of their ability for so many months or even years.
But then, if you are really talking about commercial Hindi cinema specifically made to entertain the masses then you got to know that how many of them actually go to watch a movie for its technical excellence, sets, lighting, cinematography, costumes and more?
How many of them are really familiar with the names of Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Al Pacino and others favourites of the directors, influencing the overall treatment of the movie more than required?
How many of them can really cherish the ‘JAZZ’ tone of most of the songs and the weird lyrics like “Dhobi Ka Kutta”, “Yeh Kya Kiya Syliva”, “Dhadaam Dhadaam” and more.
And how many of them are supposed to enjoy a Yash Chopra/Manmohan Desai kind of script (revolving around an underdog winner, smugglers and politicians) presented in the form of ‘a festival product’ following the deep, dark patterns of ‘world cinema’.
Sadly (and unexpectedly) while making his so called time-period classic talking about nothing new, Anurag completely forgets about his actual ‘Target Audience’. The people who want ample quantity of everything put into their plates of entertainment as was perfectly done by the likes of Manmohan Desai, Prakash Mehra, Yash Chopra and more successful directors of 70s.
In other words, if I put up a question that, “Can there be a Hindi commercial movie conceived without any sufficient dosage of action, humour, love or emotional connect with the viewers?” Then the answer has to be NO unarguably.
But here director Anurag Kashayp strangely makes a vague attempt to win over the common man or the masses with NO enjoyable action, NO humor in the entire duration and NO love or emotional pull in its lead pair having an affair heading towards Nowhere. Yet why he still insists of calling this as an attempt to venture into the commercial cinema remains out of my understanding. Moreover who keeps a name such as BOMBAY VELVET if one wishes his film to reach the masses as a pure commercial venture? In fact in my opinion Anurag’s GANGS OF WASSEYPUR series had more power to influence every single person of our country than this colossal disappointment called BOMBAY VELVET.
Coming to its clichéd choice of subject (based on Gyan Prakash's book 'Mumbai Fables'), the storyline has no steady progression making any impression whatsoever on the viewer. And it was really hilarious to see the reservations the makers had giving more time to the poverty, mill workers and the strikes that happened to be an important part of the life lived in that particular time period. May be it was on the strict instructions of the corporate production house that just keep your focus on stars, clubs, smugglers, police or politicians and that’s it.
In straight words, nothing worked for me in the film apart from its technical excellence achieved, a couple of good tracks including ‘Behrupia’ (but not the oldie remix), the laughing scene of Karan and a few enjoyable moments provided by Kay Kay Menon. Neither Ranbir’s Al Pacino inspired looks could do some good to the film, nor Amitabh’s NASEEB inspired fight sequences could add the much needed thrills to its uninteresting sequences. In addition both Anushka and Karan Johar acts also turned out to be strictly okay with nothing exceptional as was being conveyed before the film’s release.
Anyway keeping my personal opinion aside, what can be more authentic than the public views heard within the single screen theater becoming the final verdict of the viewers. And here is what they had to say at various points of BV mentioned below:
After almost 45-50 minutes into the film, when nothing was there in terms of action then a person from the first rows shouted, “O Ranbir Bhai,……..Kucch Kar To Sahi…..!”. And this was almost the same outburst I last heard in ROY.
Just before the interval, when the proceedings became further dull, a voice came from my back “OSCAR Ke Liye Jaayegi Yeh Pacca………..Wohi Dekhenge!”
Post intermission, the moment Anushka sang these words, “Dawa Na Kaam Aaye”, there came loud laughter from different corners of the theater.
And then more laughs came in as Karan Johar delivered the most hilarious line of the film as, “Tumne Rozy Mein Aisa Kya Dekha, Jo Mujhmein Nahin Hai!”
Overall, if this was Anurag Kashyap’s ambitious dream of directing a complete commercial film for the masses, then I would request him to please wake up from your sleep and get back to making your own kind of cinema forgetting this major failure. But since now he has discovered a new kind of association with people who actually CONSTRUCT Hits rather than MAKING films, I seriously get worried about what he will be directing next and targeting whom sitting in the theaters, spending their hard earned money on the tickets.
Rating : 1.5 / 5 (Including 1 for its technical excellence, few songs and background score)