Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma starrer Bombay Velvet released on May 15, 2015. Directed and co-produced by Anurag Kashyap, this film was a flop at the box office, and was a commercial disaster. The film completed 6 years at the box office a few days ago; let's take a look at some lesser-known facts about the film.
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 author 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 the 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 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 smoldering 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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