Starring: Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Kalki Koechlin, Vijay Raaz, Vijay Verma, Amruta Subhash
Director – Zoya Akhtar
Rating – 4/5
Gully Boy is inspired by the lives of home-grown rappers Vivian Fernandes aka Divine and Naved Shaikh aka Naezy and is kind of an ode to their struggle, effort and success.
Set in the dark alleys of Mumbai’s largest slum, Dharavi, Gully Boy is the underdog story of Murad (Ranveer Singh) who battles all odds to make it big as a rapper. Struggling on the personal front with an abusive father while living an event-less life peppered with petty crime and some mild romance, the first half honestly establishes the harsh realities of a young boy living in the slums.
Throughout the film there are constant reminders of the stark class difference between the gully boy and the privileged few born with a silver spoon. Zoya Akhtar’s version of a hero is so brilliantly perfect that he’s flawless even while having shades of grey.
Despite the drawbacks, Murad finds a way to express himself via poetry and the story beautifully takes you through his transition from an under confident, shy poet to a dynamic rapper.
Each character, whether it’s Murad’s unhappy parents (played by Vijay Raaz and Amruta Subhaash), his childhood sweetheart Safeena (Alia Bhatt), his up to no good friend Moin (Vijay Verma) or his mentor Shrikant aka MC Sher (Siddhant Chaturvedi) is wonderfully fleshed out.
Without straying from its theme, the film manages to touch upon several socially relevant subjects of patriarchy, feminism and social stratification without sounding too preachy.
The high points in the film have to be the rap battle scenes, the sequence leading up to Murad’s final rap, Apna Time Ayega’ and the climax scene giving one goose bumps when Murad’s teary eyed father looks at his son with pride.
Needless to say, the music is terrific and only helps the narrative in every way. The original track by Divine and Naezy, Apni Gully Mein’ is a delight. Several other tracks are catchy and stay with you once the film is over.
This is perhaps one of Ranveer Singh’s best performances till date. Ranveer as Murad is not just effortless but also evokes a deep sense of empathy among viewers. From being passionate about his craft to being sensitive and restrained at the same time, he shines in every frame.
Alia Bhatt as Safeena is feisty, crazy and absolutely brilliant. Playing the possessive girlfriend to the T, she can literally do anything for her boyfriend; even if it gets her almost arrested! Despite her notorious antics, she still manages to win a place in your heart. Her innocent smile right after a righteous lie manages to make even a dire situation comical.
Siddhant Chaturvedi makes a promising debut as MC Sher. He plays Murad’s mentor with utmost confidence and ease managing to steal focus in most scenes.
Vijay Raaz is in his finest performance as Murad’s father. You’ll loathe him for being the abusive man he is but also feel is pain when he breaks down. Vijay stands out in confrontational scenes between his wife and son. Amruta Subhash is applaud-worthy as Murad’s helpless mother who is caught between a rebellious son and an obnoxious husband.
Kalki Koechlin and Vijay Verma have small but significant roles in the film and play their parts amazingly well.
Supriya Says: Gully Boy bole toh full hard hai bhai. Public ko hasati hai, rulati hai aur entertainment ka full shot hai! Bole to isko miss nahi karneka bantai!