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Bombay Velvet Turned 5 On May 15, Subhash K Jha’s 5-point Fact Finder



1.     The  main lead in this mother of  all disaster epics was offered to Ranveer Singh who  was  all set to start shooting when he  was  replaced, literally  overnight  by Ranbir Kapoor. Ranveer  was  not even  informed  formally  about the change  in the cast. Baal baal bache , Boss.

2.     Based  on  the  brilliant Mumbai Fables  by Gyan  Prakash,  the  film was an unmitigated disaster  , showing losses  of up to  80-90  crore rupees for its producers Phantom Films. To a large extent  the  partners  at Phantom  Anurag Kashyap, Madhu Mantena, Vikas Bahl  and Vikramaditya Motwane  split  because of  Bombay Velvet and the heavy losses that  it accrued.

3.     Surprisingly  athor Gyan Prakash stood by  the  film. In an  interview with me  after the  film’s release Gyan said,   “ I’m thrilled that the film even got made! From the very beginning I knew that it would be a challenge, given the requirements of a period film.  So was the  complexity of the story of Bombay’s transformation from an industrial to postindustrial city of real estate and finance, which had to be told through an ensemble of characters and complex plot twists. Perhaps in the heat of the moment, it is difficult for the critics and the audience to appreciate the effort involved in mounting such a film.  But I am deeply appreciative, and I love Anurag’s stylized way of telling my story.I think the film has met with mixed reception because of wildly different expectations. Some expected an Anurag film to be like Gangs Of Wasseypur. Others expected a film with stars like Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma to be a standard Bollywood fare. Yes, with Anurag’s twist, but still with the usual story telling, character development, plots, etc. Perhaps the promotion of the film, presenting it as a star-studded spectacle, also raised this expectation. So, when it turned to be neither, people were disappointed.On the whole, I think it is an amazing film, one with huge ambitions in terms of cinematic craft and in its expectation that the audience will connect the dots, and not have every bit told to it.Of course, any film, any work of art has flaws. And when I see the film, I too have second thoughts on a scene here, a scene there, what could have been left out, what could have been added.I am astounded at the glee with with which some of the critics have gone at the film. I don’t quite understand why criticism has slipped into taking perverse pleasure in pointing out flaws. Perhaps that is backhanded appreciation what the film tries to achieve.”  Danny  Boyle  of Slumdog  Millionaire also doted  on the film. Danny praises  nearly every that  Anurag Kashyap makes.

4.     Anushka Sharma who  played the  jazz singer the smouldering Rosie  got to  do a  jazz version of Geeta Dutt’s Jaata  kahan hai deewane  from Guru Dutt’s CID. This jazz version of  O P Nayyar  done up by Amit Trivedi was seen as  a  kind of vandalism  of the original.

5.     Karan  Johar who  played the arch-villain  Kaizad Khambatta describes his tryst with screen  villainy as a  colossal disaster. Karan was mortified that  no one was scared  of him , although he  played an  intimidating villain. That’s okay,Karan. Bombay Velvet  is  a misfired milestone.  The whole  world was supposed to watch and  rave about it. No one came.

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