Acknowledgement: I am an Anurag Kashyap fan and will continue to remain so.
Anurag Kashyap has never defended himself or his work. He never cared about what the critics said. He shows to the audience what he wants to show. Yet, when his magnum opus Bombay Velvet failed at the box office and critics were out with their knives, he comes out in a defensive mode and gives an explanation. This is completely unlike Anurag Kashyap. He did not get angry with the criticism but he is angry with himself. Because he knows this isn’t 'him'. Probably for the first time, the expectations and the ensemble cast got the better of him. He did not want a film on his resume which he thought, did not have the original ‘him’. It was slightly condescending to say that audience will take time to understand the shocking narrative. Even the average film-goer will say that the narrative wasn’t any different from usual period films let alone be shocking. But we will give him the benefit of doubt. It was the anger speaking rather than the director himself. We do find fault with others when others cannot see what we intend to show them.
It is a fact that none of his earlier films had the kind of star power that this film has. Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Karan Johar. The biggest pressure on him was the launch of Karan Johar. Here is a successful director and producer, loved by the metro audiences and the media, who has his own talk show, judges a dance reality show, and hosts award ceremonies. He wanted to try his hand at acting. Chooses a negative role and to be directed by Anurag Kashyap. The onus of his success lies on the director. If Karan Johar is successful as an actor, Karan Johar will win all praise singularly. If he doesn’t, the director will be criticized for wrong casting and not being able to get the best out of a newcomer.
For the first time, he was feeling the pressure of the box office as well. This can be gauged from a few mistakes in the script (Spoilers ahead). Karan Johar’s character gets impressed with Ranbir’s character all too easily. It was as if the director was short of ideas on this one. The turnaround of Siddharth Basu’s character from honest to corrupt was as swift as a formula one car. Ranbir’s character wanted to kill Anushka’s character himself then why did he have someone keep a bomb in her room. It wasn’t that he had not killed anyone earlier. The double role of Anushka’s character was laughable. There wasn’t any logical explanation to keep the union leader alive. Vivaan Shah’s character was not required. It would have reduced the length of the film which seemed stretched at the end. All these points in the script made it look like a typical bollywood masala film where one keeps the logic at home. Unlike Anurag Kashyap again.
It is a blessing in disguise that Bombay Velvet failed at the box office. It is a learning for everyone to not get swayed by 100 crore collections. Indian audiences are slowly moving towards meaningful cinema and Anurag Kashyap must take credit to be the one to start this. I hope he comes back stronger and with renewed vigour to show his true mettle.