The most hyped movie and over buzzed film Bombay Velvet finally hit last Friday. The movie considered to be the Magnum Opus of its director – Anurag Kashyap, turned out to be a disaster over the box office. Thanks the poor reviews, the film was able to garner from most of the critics within and outside B Town. Ironically, the forecast from Idiots like KRK seemed coming true and he has his own weird ways to have gala time. However, on the other end, the filmmaker was honest enough to confess about the debacle he faced for his film over box office. He went further speaking his heart and soul claiming though he had worked hard to make a period drama but has no regrets to see the film falling flat on the Box Office. With so much money pumped in for such film, what went wrong is an interesting question to pose. Secondly, is Box Office is the only yardstick to gauge the success and failure of any film churning out in B Town is also an important question to analyse. The latter question suggest the idea, whether BV was really a failure was a deliberate to debase the efforts of a highly acclaimed filmamker found in B Town.
Understanding Anurag Kashyap
Before we jump into any conclusion, it is really important to analyse Anurag Kashyap and his efforts of filmmaking in B Town. The fact is Anurag Kashyap enjoys his own brand in B Town. He has come a long way, right from his earlier desire to become a scientist to joining a theatre group in Delhi and soon heading to Bombay with 5k in his pocket in the nineties. He is the only director in contemporary age to have slept on lofts, benches and pavements till he made his ways inside B Town starting his career in writing scripts and dialogues. With couple of hard luck failures, he managed to write dialogues and screenplay for Ram Gopal Varma’s movie Satya. It took a couple of years to prove his worth in the industry, but he emerged out with his unique ways of writing and directing film, he was successful in receiving applauds even from far and wide. These include the prestigious award from Government Of France called Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2013.
AK – The Journey So Far
Soon he was successful in carving his niche in making realistic films backed by thorough research and hard work. Some of his best work include the series of Gangs of Wasseypur. He released both the parts in a gap of less than fortnight, showcasing the life of a real time gangster based in Wasseypur in Dhanbad District, which is considered to be a Goldmine of Coal and natural resources in Jharkhand. Digging deep inside world of Coal Mafia wasn’t simple as it appears, but he left no stone unturned to showcase the chosen theme the best over the silver screen, keeping everything similar as discovered in the typical environment of Wasseypur. Right from adhering to the local dialect, diction, mastering slang, he was successful in showcasing the nineties with his creativity and perseverance. Not just this film, all his films in B Town showcases similar efforts from him, which has further gifted him a selective fan following among the audience found in both domestic and international market. Everytime he hit any film in Indian and Overseas screens, he was sure that he has his audience to catch. Wish idiots like Kamaal R Khan would ever understand, when he is in utter ignorance and naive minds claim that AK has no fan following, while giving his so called video review of BV.
Bombay Velvet- The Rights and Wrongs
Personally Speaking, when I went to catch the film, I was sitting with just few people around me catching the film with pin drop audience feeling intense air conditioner effects despite the scorching heat outside this summer. Frankly, a movie covering the post independence age issues, life and environment would anyway start and end the way we saw in Bombay Velvet. The director has worked hard to portray the issues, which Bombay was seen getting surrounded with, right from showcasing low class taporis keen to become ‘Big Shots’ to showcasing the tug of war witnessed among the socialist and capitalist elements. Showing politics, muscle and money power, which is exploited by few men with wealth and resources to capture the city to make fortunes making themselves rich by all hook and crook and making people free from their lives by killing them after being used like a disposable. Perhaps Bombay Velvet has tried to portray some ounce of History the way Bombay turned a financial capital and the cost the common man of this city had to pay to make this city get this status. In a sense, the film was a reminder of forgotten history of the transformation taking place within the city by cunning businessmen in the city. Rest is mere typical masala seen in the form of love story and other things, which are seen in any typical Bollywood movie. However, the beauty of the film lays in the sets of sixties, which is perfectly showcased keeping things the way it were seen in those days. Has the audience of sixties could have caught the film, BV could have made them nostalgic about their childhood Bombay, which they miss in this fast growing city.
Hence when you have so many things, then what went wrong with the film? Well, it was the absence of the audience, which could have enjoyed watching the old Bombay. The one who could have felt nostalgic after watching this film seems to be disappearing. If you have the young generation, which is usually the case in any theatre of India, then you cannot expect the film to do well. Ironically, most of the critics and reviewers to do not belong the same audience, so, it’s but obvious to see them missing this angle. So, who should be blamed for this debacle? Are the actors, or story, screenplay, dialogues, songs, music, etc, responsible this debacle. Perhaps no one, the actors were incredible in their performance, right from giving the right accent, body language, diction, and let’s not forget the costume especially the 35 kgs of long dress of Anushka etc, they remained perfect to showcase their performance suiting the sixties of Bombay. The songs too resembled the sixties, far diverse than the ones we find in the modern day films. Well, once again the target audience was missing, which could have made the film the hit over the box office.
AK- the Bold and Honest Person
No sooner the ill performance of the film was reported, the audience were didn’t waste their time to shoot their views on social media. Twitter was filled with hilarious tweets posting the sarcasm for the filmamker and his team. However, Anurag Kashyap was honest to confess the failure of the film. Instead of reiterating or throwing parties to have gala time with the lead stars of the film, he was bold enough to accept the brickbats and applauds thus breaking away the stereotypes of partying at such time unlike the other filmamkers. His experiment to make period drama film failed for the missing target audience. Also, the cost of 120 crores cannot be recovered with figures like 5 and 8 crores film collection during the weekend, which will go down during the weekdays.
For Anurag Kashyap it was hard luck making a film like Bombay Velvet. His efforts to experiment to do something new and unique has failed as there was no one to understand what he really wanted to portray through his film. The missing target audience and missing factors, which can attract the audience has made the film BV flop at the box office. Interestingly, the film had a couple of controversies earlier but not at the time of release, which failed to attract the audience towards it. Perhaps it was the honesty of filmamkers like Anurag Kashyap, which failed over the box office, otherwise BV wasn’t that bad to do well over the box office.