Bombay Velvet is a very honest attempt by Anurag Kashyap (I will refer him as ‘AK’) but it has its share of flaws as well as some really touching moments. Ranbir’s character Johnny Balraj is the heart of the film. It is a movie that revolves around him. In one of the scenes where he reduces people to dust by firing two tommy guns is so fantastically shot. Reminds me of Tarantino’s Kill Bill in someway but obviously not at par with it. It is because of him, that the film goes to a different level. Also how Johnny goes to fight with a ‘Japanese’ boxer every time he wants to vent out his frustration is shown superbly. That intensity in his eyes when Khambatta calls to hear from Chiman if Johnny is dead but instead Johnny picks the call and none of them speak, is so intriguing.
But AK has under-utilized various actors, and plots go incomplete like K K Menon was not given adequate screen time to show his presence. Also the rivalry between Khambatta and Jimmy was left unattended in the end. But what can AK do, he introduced so many characters that to handle each of them is so difficult.
Rosie played by Anushka was so so perfect in every way. Those fine moments between her and Johnny always leaves us wanting more. Her expression in every song makes her so convincing as a jazz singer. But then the plot where AK introduces Rita as Rosie’s twin sister sounds really stupid. That is where the film suffers post interval.
Every frame of the movie is grand, it boasts of people wearing shining suits, throwing cash, smoking pipes and consuming alcohol. After sometime you start feeling it’s not-so-real. Also Johnny’s best friend Chiman’s death doesn’t come as a shock because AK never connected us to him. Where Johnny feels bad for Chiman we feel indifferent.
Now to come to the music, Amit Trivedi has made every song perfect for the situation. “Sylvia”, “Behrupia” and also the two versions of “Mohabbat Buri Bimari” are standout. Also “Fifi” is beautifully shot. The background score though seems a bit loud but is genuine and feel-good.
Finally talking about the climax, it comes at a time when you are a bit tired and want the movie to end. This is where the ‘Tommy Gun’ scene comes which brings you back into the movie. And finally in the end with Johnny’s death Rosie says to him ‘Big Shot’, completes the movie for me. I don’t know but I feel satisfied with Johnny, he achieved what he went for. In a society where he aims big and says “Iss baar Ghoda chunega uspe kaunsa Jockey baithega”, he does succeed, but the film lives as a flawed classic. I will remember it forever and would like to thank AK for giving a new experience of hindi cinema to me.