Ranveer and Alia on the Politics of ‘Azadi’ Track in ‘Gully Boy’

Ranveer and Alia spoke about keeping an apolitical stance, when asked to comment on the politics of ‘Azadi’.

3 min read
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Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt starrer Gully Boy, which is one of the most anticipated films of 2019, is all set to release on 14 February. The film is loosely inspired by the life of rapper Divine and Naezy, with their socio-economic struggles serving as a background in the film. When Ranveer and Alia were asked about the politics of street rap in an interview by Anupama Chopra, they said they were ‘apolitical’.

Speaking about the lyrics of Azadi in Gully Boy - which is reminiscent of the demand for azadi in Kashmir or also former JNU Union president Kanhaiya Kumar's use of the alleged anti-national 'azaadi' slogan in a speech 2016 - the actors said they keep their onscreen personas separate from their real lives as artists.


As a contrast to the politics of gully rap, when Ranveer was asked about his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said,

Azaadi is not a track I’ve directly engaged with. It’s used as a montage in the film. So I haven’t had any real engagement. Dub Sharma, Vivian Fernandes, Zoya Akhtar or perhaps Ankur Tiwari could shed more light on this. I love listening to it, it’s a catchy track. 
Ranveer Singh

Alia and Ranveer both said they’re very apolitical and unqualified to speak about the socio-political theme of the song.

It’s as good as saying, ‘If I’m a drug addict in the film, and I’m not a drug addict in real life, then I’m still contradicting that’. This doesn’t mean I have to match my character onscreen. I don’t think we give out a very strong political vibe as actors in general. And we understand that now is a time, particularly, when anything you say or do can be blown up and can be perceived a certain way. Even coming out in your own defence and standing up for something, nowadays, could backfire. Silence is golden, you believe in what you believe in. Focus on what you’re here to do, which is make movies, and be a good person. 
Alia Bhatt

In an interview with IANS, the song’s composer, Dub Sharma said, "The song (Azadi) from 'Gully Boy' is totally different. There is no particular context to it. It has nothing to do with the 2016 scenario. Through the song, we just wanted to convey what's happening in the society. When people will see the movie, they will understand the real context to it".

Sharma had composed the Azadi song in 2016 by taking a leaf out of the 'azadi' slogans by Kanhaiya Kumar. However, for the Azadi track in Gully Boy, he reworked the same song, and just changed its context.

In the new song, rapper Divine, whose life has inspired the film's story line, raps about several social issues ranging from corruption in politics and education system to the problem of discrimination and claustrophobia in the slums.

Some people on social media pointed out the contradiction.

Asked about the anti-government tone of the song, Dub Sharma said: "I am just an artiste. I think about different things and issues prevailing in society while composing the songs. But when the song reaches the public domain, everyone interprets in their own way.

"It's absolutely okay, everyone has their own opinion and interpretation. When people see a Monalisa painting, their opinion about it may vary from each other... The same is the case with the songs. I am open to different interpretations from people's side. But when they will watch the film, they will get to know the real context behind the song."

You can watch the interview here:

(With IANS inputs)

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Topics:  Ranveer Singh   Gully Boy 

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