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A movie with so many positives, and layers that can be unpeeled and explored, Gully Boy gives hope to every underdog, and reminds them that “Apna Time Aayega”!
When I saw the trailers the of Gully Boy about a month ago, there was a mixed feeling. The excitement of seeing the next Zoya Akhtar movie was high, but at the same time the thought of watching a movie were Rap and Hip Hop were the major ingredients was worrisome.
My exposure to Rap is what is belted out by the likes of Badshah and Honey Singh, thanks to which I have come to associate this form of music with everything negative. Though the songs of this movie presented rap in a sensible Avtar to me, I was still sceptical. But I must say after watching this movie I have a drastic change in my perspective.
Before I come to the nuanced portrayals, strong acting or relatable presentation I would first and foremost like to thank the whole team of Gully Boy for showing the country what rapping actually is and making normal mortals like me realise it is another form of poetic expression.
Now coming to the movie, this is one of Bollywood’s strongest portrayal of the underdog. While the underdog’s story in most cases is portrayed as a rag to riches story, often with an element of over-night success thrown in, here we have a movie which stays realistic in its portrayal.
You see Murad go through the low phases, bouts of being unsure, and even when he goes on to achieve his goal, he does not become a star overnight. Yes, he manages to make many littler Murads dream of following in his footsteps, but the message comes across clearly that his journey has just started. The big win does not propel him to the heights of stardom instantly and that is what makes this movie relatable to the audience.
The movie explores the world inside the bylanes of Dharavi in all its rawness. The struggles and desperation of pulling through everyday life while making all the efforts to keep your dreams alive, is what motivates Murad’s poetry. Here, you have a couple who are romantically involved who don’t burst into sugary sweet duets at the drop of a hat or speak in mushy tones with each other; what a relief! But again, this isn’t the most ideal of relations portrayed.
Over the years watching Zoya Akhtar’s movies, I have realised the women in her movies are as close to reality as they get. They don’t come in shades of black and white, but they grey. Them come with their share of follies, insecurities while being gritty and standing up to the storm in their own way. Finally, we have a new age 21st century Bollywood heroine, who is not a mere rebel without cause wasting her life away.
Safina has her ambition in place, and while she is in love with her man, she is equally sure of her career plans. All she longs for is to be accepted for who she is. While this aspect of her character made her resonate with loads of girls in the audience, the strength which she provides to Murad, standing by him through thick and thin, was lovely to watch. But at the same time, she comes across as very possessive woman. The portrayal of this side of her personality came across as funny the first time, but when you give it a serious thought it is a very disturbing trait. If the genders were reversed, would it not be termed as an abusive relationship immediately?
As for the older women in the movie, they seem to be reflections of scores of women you see around you every day. Women who put with bad marriages, women who raise their children constricted with restrictions, because freedom and choices are concepts alien to them. These women are neither celebrated nor chastised, but still form essential part of the narrative.
The bromance portrayed in this movie is a refreshing.
While Shrikant and Murad both come from disturbed homes, Shrikanth transforms himself to MC Sher with panache. He channels his struggles, disappointments and setbacks in life into his passion. He proudly owns his identity. He is everything that Murad aspires to be and he ensures Murad reaches there. No, he gives him no false hopes or flattering talks, just pushes him to move forward and face the crowd. Isn’t that what friendship is about, just being there for the other? Here we have a Bollywood bromance where the main agenda of the friends isn’t about planning on how to get the girl or who gets the girl; the biggest surprise is these guys don’t talk in double entendres. Yes, male bonding in Bollywood is possible without that!
Coming to the performances, the casting is just perfect. Ranveer Singh slips into the character with élan, the enthusiasm he has towards his craft comes a little more to the fore with each performance. Alia Bhatt like always is a natural, I wonder if the lady ever goes wrong where her professional choices are concerned. But the real revelation and scene stealer here is Siddhant Chaturvedi. He slips into the skin of his character with such natural ease, you would easily confuse him to be a professional rap artist.
This story of the underdog serves as a definite inspiration for all those, who are despondent with life and questioning the unfairness of it all and contemplating to trace their steps back. For it gives you the hope that, success does come even if its after heaps of struggles.
Maybe it was the conscious effort of the director or the real-life inspirations behind the story are exactly like this, but you have two men from very ordinary backgrounds who possess the strength to call out misogynistic behaviour, and the strength to not fall into the trap of gender stereotyping. Maybe that’s all we require – a little strength.
The only disappointment was that there wasn’t a glimpse of the real gully boys Naezy and Divine; maybe an appearance in the end titles at least was expected. But no denying that this movie is a definite watch, just to prep up your soul and make it believe “Apna Time Aayega.”
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A dreamer by passion and an Advocate by profession. Mother to an ever energetic and
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