The Hindi-language trailer for Anurag Kashyap’s Ranbir Kapoor starrer Bombay Velvet logged more than 3M views in its first three days on YouTube over the weekend. A subtitled version (above) is now out for one of the most anticipated movies of the year in India and across the diaspora. The period crime drama hails from the indie helmer who has been compared to Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese. Bombay Velvet even boasts Scorsese’s legendary, Oscar-winning editor, Thelma Schoonmaker. Set against the backdrop of Bollywood’s Golden Age and based on Gyan Prakash’s book Mumbai Fables, the film is the story of an ordinary man who must forge his destiny in the City of Dreams.
Kashyap is considered a groundbreaker who’s helped increase the profile of independent Indian cinema. He wrote the 2005 Oscar nominee Water and directed 2012’s critically acclaimed Gangs Of Wasseypur, a 5 1/2-hour new wave crime epic, which was his first time in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. The multihyphenate returned to the section the following year with family drama Ugly and also had three other films at the festival: He produced out-of-competition screening Monsoon Shootout and Critics’ Week darling The Lunchbox (which was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics) and directed a section of 100th anniversary showcase picture Bombay Talkies.
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Among the stars of Bombay Velvet, Kapoor is best known globally for 2013 mega-hit Yeh Jawaani, Hai Deewani and for his award-winning lead performance in India’s 2012 Oscar submission Barfi. He won the Best Actor prize for that film at the Indian Film Academy Awards and the Filmfare Awards. Some believe he has international potential along the lines of Shah Rukh Khan. Also starring is Anushka Sharma of Bollywood’s all-time highest-grossing blockbuster PK, in which she played opposite Aamir Khan over the holidays. Sharma is currently starring in crime drama NH 10, which she produced with Kashyap and has taken about $4.4M globally in its first week. Filmmaker Karan Johar rounds out the principal cast as the villain. He produced Yeh Jawaani, was a director on Bombay Talkies with Kashyap and also directed Shah Rukh Khan in 2010’s My Name Is Khan, one of the biggest Bollywood grossers of all time. That film was backed by Fox Star Studios, as is Bombay Velvet.
Kashyap’s company Phantom Films also co-produced Bombay Velvet and recently partnered with DreamWorks financier Reliance Entertainment to form a joint venture that will produce five to six films a year.
Bombay Velvet is Kashyap’s biggest film to date. I wouldn’t be surprised to find it playing in some manner in Cannes this year. It releases in India and on 150-plus U.S. screens on May 15.