Dhasu script, rapchik dialogues, jhakaas acting…bole to sau pratisadh paisa wasool.

I would not describe Gully Boy any other way than this. For no other lingo will quite fit in to describe this intensely private journey into the world of music, hip-hop and rebel. Loosely based though on the lives of Naezy (Naved Sheik) and Divine (Vivian Fernandez), this fictional biopic takes us on an intense, honest and uncut tour of Mumbai underbelly where rapping springs like wild berries.

The genesis of rap is mostly about rebellion. This movie is a shout-out against the small-worldliness of Murad’s (played by Ranveer Singh) life, his proclivity towards making a noise through his pen and later his voice too, voice for Safeena’s (played by Alia Bhat) rebel against the hard-bound muslim society where every girl wants to be like her friend Suhani. It’s a boiling pot where morality and hypocrisy blends its thin line, love and loyalty blooms like blossoms in winter and an intense uneasy discomforting wait for that moment of explosion. 

So when Murad plugs in his earphones to drown out the cacophony and angst of his father bringing home a second wife, the American song fits in perfectly in the strange emotional strain and dynamics of his domestic space. Or when shunned by the bouncers, fed-up by the small talks of the drivers at a party, discriminated on basis of social status, he locks himself up in the car and plugs in to a rap…the mix of native tongue, slang, attitude, urgency and anger is his only way to salvation as he tries to drive his mind at the speed of light away from this world of hypocrisy and vain.

Few moments stick on long after you leave the theatres.

The intensity between Alia Bhat and Ranveer Singh in the flippant casual retake of Safeena beating up another girl…

Vijay Raaz (who plays Murad’s father) slowly breaking down from being an overbearing father trying to make his son understand the futility of dreams and Murad’s steadfastness to realising them…

the moment between Kalki Koechlin (Sky) and Murad where he admits without Safeena his life would be about a grown-up who never had a childhood… 

and those come-and-go moments of realisation…the proverbial finding himself…when Murad pens… “Apna time aayega…”and “yeh galia andha kua kyon hai” make you realise that you have gotten used to living with these discords and sleepwalk through life.   

Mumbai bastees like Dharavi, Borivili, Kandivili has a lot to contribute to the rise of desi rap culture and Zoya Akhtar makes a very successful and honest attempt to portray this discord. Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhat give the performance of their lives, while Siddhant Chaturvedi makes an exceptional debut. Gully Boy is a statement for the small ignored and crowded out in a space we wish did not exist.

It’s a movie about people raging, battling, winning, losing, bantering, living, thinking about living carrying a silent rhyme in their hearts, its frequency only picked up by those who want to hear the music within. Murad heard the call and answered—“Mein kuch hai…mera wajood hai…”  

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