Ranveer-Alia’s ‘Gully Boy’ Is a Ferocious Gaze at Status Quo
The film does not shy away from exploring divisive class lines.
Ranveer-Alia’s ‘Gully Boy’ Is an Underdog’s War Cry
Gully Boy from its onset gets us into the mood. We unthinkingly nod our heads and tap our feet in a synchronised fashion. The infectious tempo slowly grows on us as Zoya Akhter and Reema Kagti’s screenplay plunges headlong into the lives of Murad (Ranveer Singh) and Safeena (Alia Bhatt).
Jay Oza’s camera makes Dharavi’s serpentine claustrophobic lanes expand and contract like a living, breathing organism.
Here are characters who demand to be heard, to be seen and to be acknowledged – the warm gush of words and beats reinforcing the anger that slowly seethes.
‘Apna Time Aayega’: Underdog’s War Cry
“Apna time aayega” is almost an underdog’s war cry. Murad (Ranveer Singh) first utters these words when his father forces him to fill in for his driver’s job as he recuperates from an accident. Murad isn’t sure what he wants from life, but sitting in the car gazing at the glistening party his employers are attending, he is certain he isn’t ready to give in just yet.
A chance meeting with MC Sher (Siddhant Chaturvedi), a rapper performing in his college, convinces Murad to channelise his angst into verse.
Music is at the core of Gully Boy which starts with a shoutout to the original gully boys Naezy and Divine. Apart from the songs Apna time aayega and Meri Gully mein, sher aaya sher is another very catchy number.
Zoya Akhtar’s directorial gaze is resolute in looking at the world through the underdog’s eyes. Ranveer imbues Murad with a quite, almost gentle touch.
His shy, mostly downcast, eyes come alive with hip hop as he slowly discovers spurts of anger within him which he never knew existed. His music keeps getting edgier as he digs deeper within himself.
Ranveer’s Terrific, Alia Is on Fire!
Ranveer brings in such credible potency to his performance. He is, simply put, terrific! Safeena is another beautifully written character. She is madly in love with Murad but that’s not the end of her story. Unlike Murad, Safeena knows exactly what she wants – to be a surgeon and get married to the love of her life. She is ready to literally headbutt anyone who comes between her dreams. Alia Bhatt is on fire here.
Vijay Varma as the friend living on the fringes, on the wrong side of the law, always comes up with a sterling performance. But the surprise package is Siddhant Chaturvedi. MC Sher is a force to reckon with thanks to him. In their scenes together Chaturvedi is as arresting as Ranveer if not more.
Kalki Kochelin in a small but effective role as music producer Sky takes the film a notch higher.
Gully Boy taps into the underground hip hop scene but there is so much more to cherish here. The film does not shy away from exploring divisive class lines.
There is a scene when Murad looks around awestruck at Sky’s bathroom – measuring it from corner to corner as one can only guess what could be going on through his head.
Safeena’s Muslim identity is showcased matter-of-factly without letting stereotypes take over. And the “apna time aayega” sentiment which is universal in its appeal but subversive in its sheer ferociousness to question status quo.
Apart from the pace which I suspect some might find too indulgent (at 156 minutes there are some portions that can make us fidget a little) there is just so much to appreciate here. To borrow Gully Boy’s lingo – this movie is bohot hard!!
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