Friday, May 15, 2015

Review: Bombay Velvet

Bombay Velvet Is Birbal Ki Khichdi,
Does Not Get Cooked.

2 stars

Mini Review:

Bombay Velvet has all the ingredients of becoming an incredible biryani. But it never really gets cooked because none of the ingredients want to be cooked in the same pot. There is newspaper rivalry, there is a socialist plot, there is a cops and robbers theme and more... Seems more like a TV series hastily edited together.

Main Review:

Who doesn't like slow cooked food? Raan that takes over two days to cook, Char Siu Pork and Mediterranean Roast Turkey need blink-free attention... And no one but those who love food can describe the joy of opening up the Dum-cooked Biryani... There's a reason why traditional recipes when followed yield awesome results.  

But there's no bigger nightmare for a chef to realise that the ingredients are so odd that they do not complement each other and will not taste good cooked together. Why would you put Kalamata olives in Biryani? Let's look at the ingredients in Bombay Velvet.

There is the story of besties from wrong side of the tracks. 
There is the story of rivalries of two privileged lads who run rival newspapers. 
There is a cops and smugglers track.
There's builder-politicians nexus. 
There is the story of a girl with the golden voice who has to sacrifice much for the glitz and glamour. 
There are guns and alcohol and sexual politics. 
There is love.
There is jazz.

And if this were a TV show centered around a nightclub, audiences would have loved it. This alas tries to cram everything in 150 minutes and you actually look for the slide that says Interval.

It's not badly done or anything. It is a beautifully shot film, and the one star goes to its fabulous production. 

You will love the texture of the wallpaper in Johnny's office and the club, and you can almost feel the softness of the curtains in Rosie's house. But for every wonderfully shot sequence there is a wail of supposed jazz songs that have the most ridiculous lyrics. You begin to wonder, would Madhuri Dixit ever dance to, 'Dhadkane goonjtee hain dhadaam dhadaam' instead of 'Dhak dhak karne laga'? And assuming one is still talking about 'dhadkane', how on Earth do you explain 'Darbadar ghoomti dhadaam dhadaam'. Do heartbeats wander about clanging? It's worse than 'Main karoon toh saala character dheela hai' because at least those songs aren't pretending to be something they are not. 

An old gent was heard muttering, 'Isiliye Bombay mein jazz mar gaya.'

By the time Anushka stops belting out inanities, there's a male jazz voice that could be singing about dying in the shower or being fed to the wood chipper. You don't care any more.

You raise eyebrows when one of the cigar chomping bad guys claims he liked Anushka better when she lay on his sofa and sang. And you wonder if you napped in the middle of that story and missed that song.

You wonder how Ranbir's hair keeps changing in length and its curl. Then you forgive Salman Khan's weird changing hair in Veer and imagine Ranbir Kapoor sitting in his vanity van like Bradley Cooper in curls in American Hustle.

The second star goes to Karan Johar who steals the show as a villain. His mooch is creepy and perfect for his role. He has an enormous screen presence and will make you laugh with him and hate him and you want to tell people to step away from him. That's very Pran like villain-ness. Perfect. 

The movie jumps so often from one thing to another because it is attempting to make all kinds of stories gel. The result is as weird as finding kaffir lime leaves in your turkey roast. Why is the stand up comedian there at all? And why is he wearing a fake moustache? Is he also a spy? Johnny Lever said that comedy was mostly mimicry in his time. Was there a audience at the club for stand up humor like that? Also, Ranbir is shown in an Opium den. I expected Byomkesh Bakshy to come storming in then... Speaking of storms, there was always rain to wash away Ranbir's bruises... And the story has jumped so much that they forgot Ranbir was in the same room as the photographer (the ghastly Geeta Dutt song is being sung!) and that's where he punches a sailor, so why is he beating the guy as though he were a stranger...You also wonder where the smuggler vanished to...You wish there was some closure to the story of the pedophile...

Am I spoiling the movie for you? If you will watch the movie despite this review, then you won't care. 

And if you do want to watch a really good Anurag Kashyap movie then please watch Ugly. 

Bombay Velvet is so tedious and annoying, it should have been named Bombay Sandpaper. You'll be scratching your head and wondering if they showed you a never-ending promo of a TV series...

p.s. The Geeta Dutt song is as horrendous as beggars in long distance trains singing tunelessly, 'tum ek paisa doge woh dus laakh degaa' accompanied by unmusical castanets made from cement pieces. 

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