Long before Anurag Kashyap became the cult hero that is today, I have been supporting and defending him.
I watched Paanch around 2007, and it was the same year that my ex girlfriend mentioned that she wanted to watch Black Friday. It was a phase when I would watch Shah Rukh Khan movies, and I scoffed at her poor taste in cinema.
Black Friday changed the way I looked at cinema. It was the first film that shook me in the real sense. Ever since, I have defended Anurag Kashyap in debates and discussions. I loved No Smoking, though I’m still yet to put a finger on why. I watched Gulaal twice, and felt a strange pride when the four others in the hall applauded at the end.
Somewhere along the line, DevD released. Though it was clearly not his best work, it shot him into pop-culture hero-dom. Anurag Kashyap today is the face of the indie movement, he is the voice of freedom of expression in films, and seems like a sane voice who is finally getting his due. For millions of viewers, Anurag Kashyap is a ray of hope in a tunnel that is filled with shit every Friday.
And so when Bombay Velvet released, and got panned by everybody, I wanted to go watch the movie.
I wanted to like the movie, and write a passionate blog about how everybody else who didn’t like it were basically idiots.
I wanted to like Bombay Velvet. But like the prettiest girl in class, Bombay Velvet didn’t give a flying fuck about me. Bombay Velvet is so caught up in its own trip, in being pretty and trippy and grand and epic, that I had no other option.
For a film that has four writers, two editors, and three accomplished directors as producers, Bombay Velvet fails on so many levels, you are reduced to tears as an earnest fan.
Sample this. Ranbir Kapoor doesn’t get a single line till 25 minutes into the movie, and Anushka Sharma 40 minutes into the film. I understand that these are creative calls that the director takes, but how am I supposed to empathise with the leads when I feel nothing for them?
And Anurag Kashyap has consistently given us characters that we fell in love with. Whether it is Baba Bangaali in No Smoking, or the spectacular Nagma Khatoon in Gangs of Wasseypur, or Ransa Singh in Gulaal, Anurag Kashyap has a knack of creating stellar characters.
The leads in Bombay Velvet seem too caught up in their own trips. It’s as if they realized that this is their moment. That they’ve left behind the world of Yash Raj and have broken into the indie scene. And that’s enough.
Bombay Velvet is utterly disappointing. Not because it fails as a film. But because it pays you no respect as a viewer. You could plug in and listen to your favourite song for all the film cared.
The film is plagued with lazy writing, sloppy editing, and doesn’t give a fuck about you as a viewer.
And that is very hard to come to terms with.
I am waiting for Anurag Kashyap’s next film. I know it will be better.
Anything will be better than Bombay Velvet.