Review : Bombay Velvet

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.

*

bombay velvet

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.

14 thoughts on “Review : Bombay Velvet

  1. Kamal Krishna Patnaik

    I read your blog regularly. I read all your posts(including the comments). I had expected some random guy to post a rant as a comment here, and that actually happened. The problem is, we always have some expectations from a movie. Speaking about Bombay Velvet, a person would have had the following thoughts, after watching the trailer:
    1. Anurag Kashyap ka movie hai, bohot dimag hai bande mein. Movie kharab ho hi nahi sakti!
    2. Ranbir Kapoor ko sab log talented bolte hai, toh acting toh dhaasu kiya hoga bande ne!
    3. Trailer kuch samajh mein nahi aya, movie magar zabardast hoga.
    Now, with these expectations a person would go and watch the movie. Some people would recognize the movie as pure bullshit. They would understand that the director might have not put his best efforts, although unintentionally. Such people won’t be afraid to call a spade, a freakin’ spade!
    There will be another batch of people who believe that whatever they expected from the movie was rock-solid and that’s what they got. They wouldn’t even admit that the movie wasn’t as good as they expected. They’ll firmly call the movie underrated even if everyone disses it.
    Looks like you found a guy belonging to the second category. Keep posting reviews. We love reading them.

    Reply
  2. kanupriya kaikeya

    No smoking was a brilliant movie and sadly not many have seen it. It’s based on an amazing short story by Stephen King called Quitters Inc.and Anurag Kashyap did justice to it and did a commendable job on adapting it in an Indian context.

    Reply
  3. Amit Tiwari

    I liked this review style. I don’t want to read a review where reviewer gives away whole story without even mentioning “Spoilers Alert* and then give some stars.
    Also everyone has to understand that every review is an opinion, a movie is not a (A+B)2 (square) formula that has a definite answer. Some people like shawshank redemption and others sleep over it. So what?
    A review will be as much opinionated as any movie, you may like it or not but don’t bash the creator for it, whether AK or HR.
    and I am saying this as a video commercial creator, not because I want to defend writer or AK.

    Reply
  4. Arun Pilania

    Not your best piece either, but your pick of AK’s most memorable characters and that strange relationship with ‘No Smoking’ made it worth the read. I’m still going to watch the movie though 🙂

    Reply
  5. Junaid Hamdani

    I haven’t watched the film but this for sure is no review and tells me nothing except that you didn’t like the film. Please don’t pass just an opinion as a review.

    Reply
    1. heartranjan Post author

      Point accepted. Will try to add to the piece in a few hours. Please come back and check this page for what exactly I disliked about the film.

      Reply
  6. Devarsi Ghosh

    Your review is balls and you don’t understand cinema. That is a given. The reason I have the itch to let you know this is because I love your blog a lot and to see this trash getting passed off as review hurts all my senses, including common – but most importantly it has some unsubstantiated hogwash – I saw the movie first day 3rd show ( then two more times ) and I can tell this with absolute confidence that this line: “Ranbir Kapoor doesn’t get a single line till 25 minutes into the movie, and Anushka Sharma 40 minutes into the film.” is pure nonsense. One can say that I’m picking on a particular line to get back at the review because I probably am a fan of the movie (which I’m not – I have my issues with the film but it’s obviously not as bad as the critics are making it out to be and BV will be treated with much respect and positive scrutiny in the future) but the thing is the moment you mention something false like that to push your point, your entire review loses credibility. Is this lying or is this hyperbole? I don’t know but boss, you stick to writing humor – you pen can kill people in that department – don’t attempt to write on cinema. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. heartranjan Post author

      Shit. I’m so sorry that I attempted to write on cinema.

      I’m sorry that I try to write on cinema, even though I have done a course in Film Studies, and am currently doing an MPhil on Cinema. I am sure you understand it better. I will try to stick to writing humour. I could take a leaf out of your very funny comment, to begin with.

      Chill, bhai. Why so much anger? I paid for my ticket, watched the film, didn’t like it, and wrote about it. I don’t ask you what to do in life, do I?

      If you think the film will be liked in future, I’m glad. I am a huge fan of AK myself.

      Reply
      1. Devarsi Ghosh

        See if you have done these course as you say and you are calling this a film “Review”, then do adequate justice to the act / art of film reviewing. You did not like it, very good. But you’re clearly not just any other Tom, Dick, Harry. You are armed with a Film Studies degree (so am I actually) so review it like it needs to be reviewed. Theres is a LOAD of shit writing going around on Bombay Velvet. Don’t add to it. If you didn’t like it, alright, break down to why and justify yourself. What review is this? Where you just go on like Opinion-opinion-opinion-opinion-fullstop. Where’s the attempt to explain why you didn’t like this, this, this, this and so on? I’m sure you can do better

        Reply
        1. heartranjan Post author

          Yes, I get your point. It was a hastily written piece. Toh waise bolo na, bhai. Yeh kya bakwaas hai, ki ‘stick to this, don’t do this’? I will try to expand my thoughts further, and probably add to it.

          Thanks for pointing that out. I am sorry if I sounded rude. And have a nice day! 🙂

          Reply
          1. Devarsi Ghosh

            Bohut garmi. Umar kam hai. Josh mein I might come off as a bit aggressive which might seem unnecessary – but its nothing personal. Its obviously MY expectations from what “I” deem is a proper review and its absurd to expect everyone will stick to it.

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