Review : It is a given that Kashyap's films tend to get self-indulgent on many occasions but one can never accuse them of being predictable. Bombay Velvet, unfortunately, teeters between boring and predictable, reeking constantly of been-there-seen-that before moments and sacrificing story for aesthetic value. The inordinately long first half is over-crowded with twists and characters which are introduced every now and then and not each plot holds key significance by the end, except the "negatives" of photographs, a silly piece of evidence around which the entire film revolves which is stretched to the point of losing importance. Also, the film plods ahead without firmly establishing either a genuinely heartfelt love story or a revenge saga, as a result of which struggles to find its feet even as it junks in the usual double crossings, blackmailing, corrupt politicians and what not.
To give credit where it's due, the shootout scenes are terrifically shot, reminiscent of the kind of ebullience on display in his previous film Gangs of Wasseypur and you can't help wish Bombay Velvet had more elements from that mind-blowing film. Also, the attention to detail and excellent production design which transports you to Bombay of the sixties ensures the mood is set throughout. Then you have those trademark Kashyap moments when a guy ignorantly refers to Santa Claus as Santa Clock or that scene of telephonic silence between Johnny Balraj (played by Ranbir Kapoor) and Kaizad Khambatta (played pretty well by Karan Johar), or for that matter the scene where Kaizad breaks into a surreptitious laughter. These are only flashes of brilliance in an otherwise tiring film.
Music forms an integral part of the film. Amit Trivedi's phenomenal background score and soundtrack is one of the best works by a music composer in recent times. Devoid of any foot-tapping numbers or catchy fast-beat songs, the music stays loyal to the period in which the film is set and delivers accordingly.
Despite the shortcomings, one of the main reasons why Bombay Velvet remains watchable is the splendid acting. It features an ensemble of respectable actors like Kay Kay Menon, Manish Chaudhary, Karan Johar and of course, the two leads. Anushka Sharma does whatever possible within the ambit of her half-baked role, but it is Ranbir Kapoor who is the real show stealer. Nicely flowing with the shifting dynamics of Johnny Balraj, Ranbir is a treat to watch each time he appears on screen and with Bombay Velvet he has erased the stains of his previous debacle, Roy. Sadly, the script offers little room to emotionally invest in any of the characters, earnest as they may be in their performances.
I'm going with 2.5/5 for Bombay Velvet. It is an ambitious, scrupulously-mounted film but the unimaginative script has ultimately ripped this Velvet off its sheen.