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BOMBAY VELVET - Its as if a cliched 70's script is adapted to make a dark, classy but unappealing festival film only to be shown at Cannes and not to the Indian masses. (Review By Bobby Sing)
15 May, 2015 | Movie Reviews / 2015 Releases

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)

Tags : Bombay Velvet Review by Bobby Sing, Bombay Velvet Movie Review, New Bollywood Movies Released, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com
15 May 2015 / Comments ( 4 )
Sudhanshu
Dear Bobby,

I agree with your point of "instant connect with viewer" and this should be treated as only criterion for god or bad movie. Please help me in understanding difference between art and commercial movie. I think film is a form of art in itself and film without it is body without soul.
But,don't you feel that in the name of "sufficient dosage of action, humour, love or emotional connect ", we, the viewers, are cheated again and again by movies like Wanted, No Entry, Chennai Express, Kick and you may know better. Do they have not made film as a fair or exhibition where we can see all "chamak-dhamak-nach-ganna" but not art. Should we not treat movie as good or bad instead of art or commercial?
Don't you feel that many good movies are not reaching to audience just because of this art vs commercial discrimination ?
Lastly, I think that it is not good idea to include public opinion in review because I personally heard many bad comments while watching Shahid, Udaan,Court, BA pass, Mastram and many more.
Don't take me wrong. I more or less agree with your review of BV but want to hear from you about commercial VS art cinema and I have not liked idea of including comments of audience in review. I think that at least you can criticise/appericiate a movie better without using it.

Rregards,
Sudhanshu
Bobby Sing

Dear Sudhanshu,
The film world itself came up with a term as PARALLEL CINEMA or ART CINEMA WAVE in the 70s and 80s, but I never was able to relate to this term wholeheartedly in those decades too, because for me that "instant connect with the viewer" is the only thing that needs to be there in a good film as a must. Moreover as I see films can only be studied in terms of GREAT, GOOD, AVERAGE and POOR films along with the classification of different GENRES and thats it.

Talking about entertainment, the terms gets a different meaning altogether when it comes to Hindi film viewing that has gone through a drastic change since 2000. Before that the scenario was completely different as the personas were quite patient and calm with no 'fast food' kind of living, jumping at things from one point to another. And one can easily find this 'jumping' in today's film editing too wherein you will seldom witness some long, emotional scenes in any so called mainstream film having big stars.

A film viewer/fan has been 'changed' delibratedly by the media and industry itself in the past two decades for their own benefits and that is clearly visible around when you get to see the reactions of people following their own star idols with a blind passion. For instance, A fan of X is passionately working to make his idol's movie hit even if its just a mediocre product and then he is also more than interested in pulling down the movie of Y because Y is a big rival of his followed star in film business. 

And this all has nothing to do with Cinema at all................benifitting only the makers.

However things are slowly moving towards a positive change so lets hope for the best in the coming years.

Lastly, coming to the idea of public reactions, its fine as you didnt like it but many friends do find it as a novel way of expressing the general viewpoint of the people siting in the theatre cracking some enjoyable lines.
Plus if you have noticed, the reviews including these public comments are only of the movies seen in single screen theatre where the people do get involved with the film much more than the multiplexes (where film viewing can easily be termed as quite boring). Also these reviews are only of the movies that simply failed to pull them in after a few moments.

Yet I will surely keep in mind this mention of yours in the next reviews.

Cheers!

Mustafa

After watching Anushka in the songs numerous times just one name comes to my mind...the legendry Nadira.I am really happy that anushka did this movie after disturbing her fans with N10.I agree with you that the movie became lil more commercial instead it should have been a bit less glitzy...also your point is correct that how many people have understanding of a lot of technical things involved in the movie, the Jazz music and so on...the makers needs to understand the likers of such things are very few in 2015..they must plan and target the movie accordingly and not just hoping to pull teenage and 20 something young crowd to make it blockbuster hit. This could have been done with a bit less budget so that they would have collectes decent collections from a handful of mature audiance.

Bobby Sing

Thanks Mustafa for your detailed comment agreeing with the viewpoint given.
And as rightly mentioned the budget remained the main reason of it becoming one of the biggest duds.

Keep Visiting and Writing in,
Cheers!

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