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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Bombay Velvet- Movie review: Guns, romance and all that jazz!

From the promos, Anurag Kashyap’s BOMBAY VELVET promises to be an intriguing venture, even more so as it is set in Mumbai during the 60s. The glitzy cast of Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Karan Johar has caught our eyes. Therefore, is the film worth-watching? Well, let’s find out!

The story is despite being adapted from Gyan Prakash’s book ‘Mumbai Fables’. However, in my opinion, BOMBAY VELVET seems to be an amalgamation of ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI and THE GREAT GATSBY. This is due to the extravagant jazzy and crime mood in the film. The movie narrates the story of a boxer, Johnny Balraj (Ranbir Kapoor) who aspires to become a big-shot as he falls in love with a famous jazz singer, Rosie Naronha (Anushka Sharma). During an attempted robbery, Johnny meets Kaizad Khambatta (Karan Johar), an eccentric media mogul- who promises to make him rich. However as Johnny pursues the ambitious dreams, his hands become dirty.

One of the plus points of BOMBAY VELVET is the performances. Ranbir Kapoor’s performance as the hot-headed Johnny Balraj is great. His rough/tough look and fiery persona does not only remind us of the legendary Raj Kapoor, but also Al Pacino as Tony Montana in SCARFACE. The leading lady. Anushka Sharma also does a great job. Her performance is convincing and seems to have a powerful screen presence. After her impactful performance in NH10, she is proving to be a brilliant actress. Now onto the antagonist, Mr Karan Johar, whom we last saw as an actor in DDLJ. Johar portrays the role of the villain with gusto. He seemed so natural, that at times I could not really tell if he was acting! The supporting actors, including Kay Kay Menon, were also commendable.

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Another major plus point of the movie is the soundtrack, which is composed by Amit Trivedi. The fact that these songs were not composed by a famous jazz musician, it is indeed praiseworthy. Furthermore, the songs reflect the mood of every scene. Although most of the tracks are used in the background, they nevertheless enhance the retro atmosphere of the film. The tunes, Fifi and Mohabbat Buri Bimari are already popular, while other songs such as Sylvia and Ka Kha Gha fully revive Bollywood’s 60s jazz era. Undeniably, this is one of the best albums of Amit Trivedi!


In my opinion, the only glitch of the film is the length. With the duration of 149 minutes, the movie seemed to drag slightly in the second half, and therefore slowed down the pace. It could have been shorter! Nevertheless, the story attempted to avoid clichés hence it maintained the audience’s attention.

Overall, BOMBAY VELVET is an entertaining venture which captures the quintessential essence of the 60s. Kudos to the performances, the soundtrack and of course the director, Anurag Kashyap for endeavouring to create a stylish yet engaging movie!

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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