I saw Bombay Velvet starring Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Karan Johar today. I left the theater with mixed feelings and then decided to do a Bombay Velvet Review post.
Bombay Velvet Review – The Good Things
Bombay Velvet is an extremely stylish movie. The Sepia tones help establish an old world feel. I can only imagine the effort the filmmakers would have put up in creating that period feel. It is believable and looks great! The movie is about a Jazz club and while I am no expert in sound, the entire movie stayed true to the Jazz theme. It went very well with the overall styling of the movie. The characters of the three protagonists are defined quite well and the acting by the lead pair is good too.
Bombay Velvet Review – The story
The film opens in newly independent India where we get glimpses of Balraj and Rosie’s life before they met. You see Balraj’s desire to make it big and Rosie’s journey to becoming a singer. Enter Karan Johar as Kaizad Khambatta – a suave and ambitious businessman who first rechristens Balraj as Johnny and then zooms him into the world of jazz nightclubs, illegal alcohol and unethical business dealings. Set against a backdrop of converting Mumbai into a metro in the late 60s, the love story of Johnny and Rosie blossoms. Conflicts are created by politicians, businessmen, Johny’s ambition and even Rosie’s past. It is fast pace and dull not get dull. However, it fails to go deep. As someone who has absolutely no idea about the struggles of the mill workers and the history of the development, I did not really learn anything. The film does not scratch beyond the surface of the issue. The story was extremely heavy and could have done with a few light moments. The second half gets predictable and although the screenplay tries to inject a bit of mystery, the reveal comes fairly fast.
The story is based on the book Mumbai Fables by Gyan Prakash. I suppose the book will get into much more detail about the land issue and there could be some tender moments from Johnny and Rosie’s romance that were missing in the film.
Bombay Velvet Review – Anushka Sharma as Rosie Noronha
I feel that Anushka shines as Rosie with her expressions. Her body language, her styling and her acting and her expressions are spot on. The dialogue delivery though was disappointing. Not only did it do nothing to suggest that she comes from Portuguese occupied Goa, in a few scenes where she is speaking fast, you get that punjabi touch! Now I am not saying that she should have picked a heavy Goan accent, but she could have lost that north Indian touch. Her styling is good. She transitions back and forth between the girl next door and glam diva with ease. Her demeanour changes as the movie progresses, as Rosie becomes more confident and learns to stand up to herself. You can easily pick on those nuances
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Bombay Velvet Review – Ranbir Kapoor as Johnny Balraj
When I saw the trailers, I was not impressed with Ranbir’s curly haired, mustached look. Seems like the director wasn’t too because he made him lose the mustache halfway into the film! In a movie where Ranbir occupies almost every frame you can imagine the responsibility that rests on his shoulders. He delivers. He maintains the arrogant air of a self made man. You can see his pain, his ambition, his love. But you cannot feel it. In Barfi! or in Wake Up Sid you actually feel the protagonists emotions. In Bombay Velvet, you just can’t.
Bombay Velvet Review – Karan Johar as Kaizad Khambatta
Karan was supposed to be a suave and stylish villain. In an attempt to make him seem humane, we get a back-story of diminished wealth and lost grandeur. The homosexual angle of his character seemed unnecessary to me. There just wasn’t enough mirth in this portrayal to be a convincing villain.
Bombay Velvet Review – Final Words
I give it 2.5 out of 5. Watch it for the period setting, for the sound, the different music, the old world glam. Will this film achieve the status of a classic? We will just have to wait and watch!!