Gully Boy

Zoya Akhtar’s new film Gully Boy inspired from the lives of rappers Divine and Naezy is a sensational movie that looks brilliant on many levels. Zoya and co-writer Reema Kagti manage to treat the typical rise of the underdog story in a very rooted way by exploring all the minute nuances that could have made a desi rapper. With the plot not getting confined to one person’s dream, Gully Boy is highly political, immersive, hard-hitting and most importantly it is fabulously inspiring.

Murad Sheikh is from the Dharavi slums.  His father is a driver and mother is a housewife. He is n love with this girl named Safeena. Murad is in his last year of college graduation but his dreams are somewhere stuck between poetry and rap. At one juncture in life, he happens to see this rapper named MC Sher and the movie shows us how that meeting sort of changes the attitude of Murad and how he eventually becomes the sensation named Gully Boy.

What is so good about this movie is that it captures the emotion so brilliantly. If there is an entrepreneur instinct in you, the chances of you getting discouraged by many are high when you make decisions and if those situations of nobody understanding you have happened to you in real life, then there are a lot of moments in Gully Boy that will strike a chord with you. The structure of the story here can’t make much of an impact as we are familiar with it. But by adding a relatable and real set of hurdles and conflicts in front of our hero, Zoya Akhtar manages to give that rebellious tone to this movie. In subtle ways, they are even saying the story of the helpless people of the slum. There is one scene where a tourist tries to tell about a rapper and Murad stops him and sings the whole rap to him. Through that scene, Zoya establishes the hero’s love for rap and also shows how much the outer world underestimates the people from the slum.

Ranveer Singh is just brilliant in being Murad aka Gully Boy. The way he internalizes the pain and also makes him so calm on the outside was just brilliant to watch. When Apna Time Aayega fires up the last moments of the film, he is literally living that character and his energy is outstanding. Alia Bhatt’s character is more of a tool for Zoya and Reema to show their bit of subtle feminism. Safeena is highly sensitive and brutally honest. Alia was in total control of that out of control character. Siddhanth Chaturvedi as MC Sher gets the attitude of the character perfectly and delivers a memorable performance in his debut outing. Kalki Koechlin didn’t have much to do here in terms of performance, but she was pretty convincing. The casting of Vijay Raaz as the father character itself was a brilliant decision and the fabulous actor was true to the character and there is one confrontational scene in the second half were he and Ranveer were competing with one another. Vijay Varma as the close friend Moeen and Amruta Subhash as the strong mother were also memorable.

Zoya Akhtar and the team have really good clarity about how to present the story. She captures the rawness of the slums and its people without making it too much of an Anurag Kashyap like abuse spree. Vijay Maurya who has written the dialogues has to be appreciated for that. And like I said this isn’t just about a guy from the slums aspiring to become big. It talks about gender equality, it criticizes women who endorse patriarchy, it shows the vulnerable sides of its characters, it shows the harsh reality that destroys the lives of people from the slums, and it criticizes the attitude of a section of adults who adamantly supports the concept of staying ordinary. All these things are bypassed into the content very neatly and smartly. Jay Oza doesn’t try to make the visuals a showcasing of poverty. Most of the times the camera is in confined spaces capturing the mood of those tight spaces. And occasionally the visuals zoom out into wide views that have striking static visuals. The music is the soul of this film and this is that kind of a movie where listening to the whole album after watching the movie can actually give you the same energy you felt while watching it. The edits are really impressive and they will keep you occupied in the narrative.

Gully Boy can give you serious gooseflesh because of the way it built the character of Murad with the finest of details. They have avoided the predictabilities of a usual underdog story by making us feel the struggle in being a rapper with originality. Gully Boy will surely be a lot of people’s energy pill once the DVD releases.

Rating: 4/5

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Final Thoughts

Gully Boy can give you serious gooseflesh because of the way it built the character of Murad with the finest of details.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


Categorized as Hindi, Review

By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.