Happy Valentine’s Day folks! My V-Day began on a high note, with a first-day-first-show viewing of Zoya Akhtar’s “Gully Boy”. Read on to know if it’s worth watching.
Murad Ahmed (Ranveer Singh) is a Mumbai based slum-dweller with big dreams. He has a controlling philanderer for a father (Vijay Raaz), a subdued mother (Amruta Subhash) who has no say, and a strong-minded girlfriend (Alia Bhatt). He channels the fury and frustration of the challenging circumstances he lives in, by writing edgy rap numbers. His fate turns dramatically, when he meets rising rap star MC Sher (Siddhant Chaturvedi) and musician Sky (Kalki Koechlin), through the internet.
Picture courtesy: www.peepingmoon.com
Bollywood is known to sell dreams to the masses. In the last year, I’ve seen many films play on this concept, but “Gully Boy” stands head and shoulders above the rest. Where “Gold” lost points for focusing on the actor over the content (review here); “Sui Dhaaga” picked a hugely implausible theme (review here); and “Baazaar” failed for its melodramatic handling (review here); “Gully Boy” picks a believable idea and deals with it realistically.
The star of the show is Zoya Akhtar. I’ve always been a fan of hers, but she has outdone herself here. Her direction is crisp, and there’s not much to fault with any aspect of the film. Ranveer Singh is subtly nuanced and makes a huge impact. Alia Bhatt, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Kalki Koechlin are good at their respective roles. Vijay Raaz and Amruta Subhash as the poor parents, Sheeba Chadha as Alia Bhatt’s mother, and Vijay Verma as Ranveer Singh’s troubled friend, are outstanding.
The cinematography and editing is fabulous. Mumbai’s visceral aspects shine through, adding drama and depth to the film. The costumes are accurate and the camera work is masterful. The raw, close-angled shots serve as a metaphor for the intensity of rap music. I’m not usually fond of rap but the music here is remarkable. The witty and highly original lyrics enhance the overall experience. By rapping in Hindi, Gully Boy connects with his audience in the film, as well as with people unfamiliar with this genre of music. Kudos to the lyricists and Reema Kagti, the writer of the film.
The film shows how boundaries of religion, sex and class are slowly dissolving in metropolitan cities (also read reviews of “Manmarziyaan” and “Badhaai Ho” for similar themes). As the internet takes over the imaginations of today’s youth, they have access to a plethora of cultures and a variety of artistic media, through which they can express themselves. We may be far from a utopian world of acceptance and tolerance, but at least we’re making strides in that direction.
“Gully Boy” is very inspirational, especially for creative types (like me!), who attempt to forge new paths in a heavily competitive world. I highly recommend the film to everyone. Most people will connect with the story at its core. Those who appreciate good cinema will enjoy it as a bridge between the alternative and the mainstream. To paraphrase a line from the film, “agar duniya mein sab comfortable hote, toh art (rap) kaun banata?”. Akhtar’s “Gully Boy” is a fantastic work of art, indeed.
Film Rating: 4.5/5
*Unless specified, all pictures are taken on my phone. Copyright for this article belongs to nooranandchawla. Featured image courtesy: www.bollywoodtimes.in
**This is not a sponsored post