Bombay Velvet is a film from Fox Star Studios, the branch of 20th Century Fox that makes films specifically tailored to the urban Indian market and for the West, the Far-East. It is a period piece that has proven to be a hit so-far despite a history of such films, made locally, grossly underperforming in the Indian market. Littered with special appearances, first timers in specially carved out roles, and designer costumes (courtesy of Shivan & Narresh) it is essentially about a young man out in the dog-eat-dog world for the very first time.
Anxious, lost and frustrated, Balraj (Ranbir Kapoor) spends most of his time in Bombay’s red-light district. This is 1949 and life’s hardships eventually throws him into a life of crime. He gets hunted by this editor of a tabloid, who is also a shrewd and calculating person. Kaizad Khambata (Karan Johar) appoints Balraj to manage a club he owns called “Bombay Velvet”. He is also enlisted to dislocate the presence of Communism in the country, and their resistance to a capitalist agenda. Balraj is almost successful in his task, until he comes across a classier publication, which unknown to him is busy attempting to entrap him.
The editor of this other upscale publication hires a bar jazz singer, Rosie (Anushka Sharma) to tempt him into falling right into the trap. However, during the “trapping episodes” the two end up falling in love, and this fouls up the “nicer” editor’s plan to carve a portion of the money making venture Kaizad has given Balraj to acquire. The film is long, filled with lots and lots of drama, but it cannot be made in any other way, successfully. The script has a wide-audience appeal, and there is plenty of inventive wit, breathtaking action and a whole lot of undiluted glamour.
Ranbir Kapoor, finally gets his calling in a difficult genre, and is back with such an effortless performance. He gets the film moving and ends it with applause, and somewhere along the line, inbetween all this harshness, you relate to the protagonist, because of his seriousness aplomb. The rest of the star cast do their part well, from playing a sly glamazon to a man who has gone crazy looking at what he can do, how much he can control.