Bombay Velvet: Some Sad Bullet Points

Well, I do not know how and where to begin. This is something I’d been waiting for. This is something I expected to be a game changer. Instead, I am now left with monumental disappointment and depression. Initially I thought I will write a long eulogy but I do not even feel like talking about it anymore. I would rather list out a few things that are disturbing me.

  • Firstly, I think we really need to get over this wannabe-ness. Those Tommy guns and prohibition era get ups made me suspicious even when I saw the first poster. The first trailer was tepid too. OST was good and it somewhat restored my faith but However, now I feel that too much “inspiration” is killing off these films. Even the usual Thanks Danny, Thanks Marty stuff in the opening credit looks more like a gimmick nowadays.
  • I even hope that AK stops making his films sound like spoof of some other films (GoW-GoNY, Bombay Velvet- Blue Velvet). References to other classics were cool at some point of time but there is a expiry date for everything.
  • Also, I am not sure why Indian auteurs cannot scale up considering how people like Nolan so effortlessly moved on from indies to summer blockbusters.  In comparison in India whenever an auteur gets more money, all we get is some bloated, confused, unintentionally hilarious flops such as Agent Vinod, Byomkesh and now BV.
  • As for the film itself, it never gains momentum. After a good opening shot, it just meanders from one jazz song to another while we wait for something interesting to happen. This is incredibly disheartening because  it comes from a filmmaker who has given us some of the best films about Mumbai underbelly.
  • Even the performances oscillate between flat to adequate but I cannot even blame the actors considering the tame writing. K Jo entertains at times but it is more because of his prevalent image rather than his acting. Eventually this casting choice also feels like a gimmick. Imagine a real, strong actor in this role!
  • Even the more interesting parts are ignored for the sake of the tepid romance between the leads. The tussle between ideologically opposed media barons, struggle of the mill workers, Portuguese occupation of Goa, liquor prohibition, urban expansion of Bombay… so many themes are mentioned but as mere ornamentation without any serious insights.
  • More importantly, I think it is the most timid AK film ever, as suggested by the U/A certificate. Even after playing with such explosive themes, it has minimal violence and almost no sex. It plays it far too safe and even AK’s trademark chase sequences across Mumbai slums are missing in this over stylized Bombay.
  • Even GoW was a bloated, meandering film. But it kept people entertained with quick punchlines, quirky comedy and great performances. In comparison, BV offers none of it. How long can one keep appreciating the set design when everything else is going wrong?

I really hope AK gets back to his indie roots and his trusted actors now. After all, it is not a good feeling to see jerks like KRK having the last laugh!

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