Gully Boy Story: Murad (Ranveer Singh) must fight off his poverty and social disadvantage to realise his dream of being a rapper. His friends and family rally together to help an ordinary boy in becoming an extraordinary rapper.
Gully Boy Review: 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 story kicks-off in a match-box sized chawl room in Dharavi, where Murad dreams of a better life. He loves the feisty Safeena (Alia Bhatt) just as much he loves to pour his pent up emotions and frustrations onto paper. His life takes a dramatic turn when one day he sees MC Sher aka Shrikant, rap a few college boys to shame, after they’ve booed a girl offstage. Shrikant takes Murad under his wing and together they kick-start a rapper team that’s high on spirit and passion. It’s the classic underdog story, with Murad’s poverty establishing the fact that he’s got very little chance to succeed and no right to harbour big dreams either. Also, his orthodox father Aftab (Vijay Raaz) brings in the quintessential conflicted relationship. While some parts of the film are predictable, what makes ‘Gully Boy’ stand out is the emotional intelligence. Murad’s journey has some fantastic moments that draw you in and keep you hooked. The stellar dialogues by Vijay Maurya add depth to the narrative. The story and screenplay by Reema Kagti and Zoya scores high, has flair and finesse with beautiful touches on the edges. It’s just the kind that raises the tempo of the narrative a notch higher.
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 music of the film is killer, too. The movie is inspired by the lives of rappers Naezy and Divine, and these Indian artistes, along with a whole host of their contemporaries, have scored a super soundtrack for the film. There’s a reason the film feels legit and that’s down to the fact that real rap artistes worked on this film. The treatment and the visual finesse of the film are at par with anything you’ve seen from Hollywood or anywhere around the world. The rap battles shown in the film are riveting and an inspired piece of writing. 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!