Cast: Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Kalki Koechlin, Vijay Raaz, Amruta Subhash, Sheeba Chaddha, Vijay Verma
Director: Zoya Akhtar
Producer: Zoya Akhtar And Farhan Akhtar
Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt starrer Gully Boy finally hit the screens today and the movie has received a tremendous response from the audience. Ranveer Singh kills it in the ‘Gully Ka Chokra avtaar and Alia Bhatt also sets the stage on fire with her performance.
BT Reporter Harnidh Kaur went on to ask the ‘Mumbai public’ about Gully Boy and the audience could not stop praising the movie. Performance of the leads Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt was highly appreciated by the people. The movie depicts the reality of Dharavi in Mumbai and the people living in the slums. In short,’Movie bhot hard hai bhai, yahi bolti public’.
The principal conflict point in Gully Boy, written by Reema Kagti and director Zoya Akhtar, is predicated on the seemingly unbridgeable gap between Murad’s ‘khwaab‘ (dream) and the overwhelming ‘aaju baaju ki asliyat‘ (the reality around him), which his defeatist father never tires of reminding him of. Late in the film, the titular hero’s maternal uncle (Vijay Maurya, also the film’s dialogue writer) verbalizes the boy’s destiny: “naukar ka beta naukar banega(a servant’s son can only be a servant)”.
Gully Boy is unconventional in terms of its setting and the larger issues of class perceptions and social prejudices that it addresses, but its central narrative construct – a defiant underdog fighting daunting odds in a bid to become a rap star – traverses familiar ground. Gully Boy does not subvert the conventions of the genre, which restricts the game within a predictable arc.
This lively take on a young man’s struggle to rise above his station in life – it’s a tale inspired loosely by the experiences of real-life Mumbai street rappers Naezy and Divine, both acknowledged upfront in the credits – is informed with empathy and solidarity. The drama is located in a milieu that is summarily marginalized in mainstream Mumbai movies except when the spotlight is on radicalization and terror plots. This immediately separates Gully Boy from the ABCD series of dance movies and lends it social acuity. Despite being overlong, the film is an undeniably entertaining, even rousing, portrait of a robust life forged by adversity, tenacity and the courage to dream.
Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy, an underdog story shining a light on India’s incipient hip-hop subculture, is the first great Hindi film of 2019 and a rousing celebration of spunk. The writing is enthralling, the texture fantastic, and this world is a revelation. Here are characters without room to breathe who express themselves breathlessly, through a style of music that has always belonged to the marginalised. Dissent finds a way — and a beat.
The film opens with a dedication to pioneering Indian hip-hop stars Naezy and Divine, Akhtar and co-writer Reema Kagti borrowing background and specifics from their lives. Many local rappers show up, cameoing as themselves, which is a delight. Yet Gully Boys doesn’t try to explain the music itself, or what draws these hungry young men to the righteous aggression of Nas and Tupac and Jay-Z, or even what distinguishes this subculture from other rebellions.
Gully Boy is the story of a young man breaking free through street rap. Zoya Akhtar, working off a script she has written with Reema Kagti, stuffed with pulsating dialogue by Vijay Maurya and four young rappers, takes this one line premise and runs with it, and gives us a film which shines a light on those who have, over the years, been made invisible in mainstream Bollywood: the minorities, the underclass, the people who have no access to the fancy arcades of wealthy India.
My minor quibble with this film is in the ways Akhtar plays safe: the father who is so against his son coming improbably around feels like squaring the circle to keep us happy. Some of the predictable arcs, are, well, predictable.
Times Of India
There’s a line in the film where the character MC Sher (Siddhant Chaturvedi) says, “Agar duniya mein sab comfortable hote toh rap kaun karta?” That’s an insight that comes only from a true fan of this performing art. Director Zoya Akhtar’s ‘Gully Boy’ is the definitive look at the rap scene in India. It chronicles the story of an ordinary boy Murad, from Dharavi, who dreams big and refuses to let adversity squash his spirit. His journey from being the quintessential slumdog to being an ambitious rapper named Gully Boy, is exhilarating and exciting, to say the least. Rap is an unconventional genre of music in India, but even those who don’t necessarily associate with this form of music, will be able appreciate the underdog and heartfelt story.
The driving force of the film though is the performance by Ranveer Singh. He was born to play this part and the way he raps his soul out in the film, makes it a killer set. He breathes life, despair, euphoria and belief into his role. A line in the film where MC Sher tells Murad says, ‘Tere andar toofan hai’ is bang on. With every new performance, the actor brings in a tidal wave of surprises. Equally brilliant is Alia Bhatt, in a smaller, but deeply impactful role. The actress brings effortless ease into the fiery eccentricities of her character. The chemistry between Ranveer and Alia is cute, lovable and fiery, too. Siddhant Chaturvedi, in his first film, deserves a dab of honour. He’s easily one of the most effortless actors in showbiz. Vijay Varma, Kalki Koechlin and Vijay Raaz are all superb in their respective roles as well.
The problem with the film though is it’s length, which stretches to two-and-a-half hours, but the emotional deftness and clap-worth dialogues add the right amount of gusto and keep you totally engaged. This is a film that deserves an encore. And in true rap style, let’s just say… yeh ‘Gully Boy hard hai bhai!