Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Karan Johar, Manish Chaudhary, Satyadeep Mishra, Kay Kay Menon, Vivaan Shah
Director: Anurag Kashyap
A small-time hood with big ambitions, wanting to become ‘Bambai Ka Raja’. A honey-voiced Goan girl, heart set on being a star. A city on the cusp of explosive growth, swarming with venal babus, greedy businessmen, beady-eyed landsharks and cops-in-cahoots.
Based on historian Gyan Prakash’s excellent original work (he’s also co-written the movie), ‘Bombay Velvet’ is the story of all these characters trying to find their place in the late 60s Bombay. It was the era of Prohibition, rising brawny action heroes, flashy media moguls parlaying power and gossip, jazz bars spilling over with illicit liquor and dirty money, and rapacious builders.
It was also the Bombay of dying mills, blue-collar desperation and fiery trade union leaders. By then, it was already the eternally seductive city paved with gold– the place people came to dream and to despair, forming the unending cycle which still is its reigning double-edged leitmotif.
Lookswise, the film is pure gorgeousness. Trouble is, it is also largely overwrought and inert. The meticulous detailing in the re-creation of one of the most pulsating periods of Bombay’s history, is terrific. Much of the film stays, mostly and disappointingly, on its sepia surface.