Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet looks like a glorious pastiche of influences, some that we are excited by, and others that we wish he would ignore.
You know that Trailer Talk always waits for three or four films at a time to pass its summary judgment- just so that we may temper the excitement we feel at the thought of a Badlapur with the inevitable disappointment of a Dolly ki Doli. But every once in a while comes a movie that deserves its very own special edition of Trailer Talk. And this time, that film is none other than Bombay Velvet.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or are one of those South Bombay women who “don’t do Bollywood”), you know all about BV by know. This is the film that has Anurag Kashyap going (more) mainstream, Karan Johar returning to acting after his glorious turn as sidekick in DDLJ, and Ranbir Kapoor hoping for a career resurgence after the double meh of Besharam and Roy. It is also the film which has run into continuous delays and issues. Rumour has it that grumpy paterfamilias (and Twitter newbie) Rishi Kapoor doesn’t like the film, and wants things changed. Rumour also has it that Raveena Tandon is either the best or the worst thing about the film, or perhaps not in the film at all. The film is likely a crisp two hours short or a bloated five hours long, complete camp or a verite masterpiece, and everything in between. Let’s see what the trailer looks like.
0:17 seconds- That background score, straight from a Manmohan Desai film, is perfect. This is the kind of score that turned Master Raju into Amitabh Bachchan while running across the tracks, and anything that begins with such music can only be well intentioned in its desire to please.
0:31- Also loving, that shot of gold biscuits, last seen in a film with a protagonist called Vijay, and a villain known by everyone in the city as ‘Loin’.
0:36 – Where do we stand on Ranbir Kapoor’s hair? Conceptually, we get what Kashyap is doing here- marrying Guru Dutt’s sensitivity with a boxer’s wiriness to create the poet-fighter Byronic figure which women swoon over, but not quite sure if Kapoor is pulling it off. Also, it has to be said that our least favourite Ranbir Kapoor is the idiot savant. We like him more when he plays confident and cocky and never really buy him as particularly lovelorn. So here’s hoping that the movie shows more of his assuredness and less of his puppy dog face.
0:56 – No complaints about Anushka Sharma’s hairpieces though. This Sharmila Tagore bouffant is on point, as is a Valley of the Dolls messy-do from a later scene. Anurag Kashyap’s women are often underwritten, and even here we get the sense that Rosie is basically the kind of fantasy that men like Johnny Balraj dream of (gorgeous, a bit unhinged, and duplicitous- but transformed by her love for our hero). But Sharma is typically good at choosing her scripts, and we are willing to be surprised by newer shades to the character.
1:07 – In the battle of real/false hairpieces the only fair winner would be that thing on Karan Johar’s upper lip. We would take his villainous turn more seriously if the very first dialogue he said (Big Shot ban-na hai, main banaaonga) didn’t sound suspiciously like banter from Jhalak Dikhlaja.
Yes, in the past few years he has been a tad over-exposed, but one can’t help admire Karan Johar’s willingness to try new things at the risk of being found out. Fingers crossed for him!
1:19 – Anushka Sharma face here is so alive! No one does complete joy as beautifully as her in Bollywood. Every once in a while a critic gives Ms. Sharma a back-handed complement about her “girl-next-door-realness”. We wish that she doesn’t let it affect her confidence, and continues to light up the screen with her smile.
1:52- Does anyone get the feeling that too many of the plot lines hinge on a telephone conversation in this film? We counted at least four instances of characters talking on the phone to the other. And while we don’t mind the fact that it is a bit anachronistic (really, hardly anything in the film will qualify as ‘realistic’ 1960s in that sense), we can’t help wondering if there’s a little bit of weak storytelling at play here.
2:07- At this stage, if you’re a fanboy, the sight of Ranbir Kapoor holding two Tommy guns will convince you that this is a film for you. To us, this just gives flashback of the very disappointing Public Enemies- another film with a promising cast (Johnny Depp, Marion Cotillard, Christian Bale, Channing Tatum) that was beautiful to look at but oddly soulless.
Please don’t disappoint us Mr. Kashyap- give this film the visceral rage of Paanch, or even the complete self-belief of Gangs of Wasseypur, and we will gladly spend money to watch Bombay Velvet in the theatres.
Are you excited about Bombay Velvet? Or do you just want the year to fast forward to us watching Ranveer Singh in Dil Dhadakne Do? Tell us in the comments below!