In Gully Boy, everything in the film happens parallel to the railway tracks that you pass every day. This is the world you are familiar with or at least know about. Director Zoya Akhtar has successfully done away with the tag of only making films around the rich, and made a never-to-fade mark with Gully Boy. RAP – or Rhythm & Poetry, is a point and pace that the film completely obeys. It happens very rarely that a film is larger than it appears, and you are fascinated by the world that the makers have created for you. We give you five reasons to dress up right away and rush to the nearest theatres to watch Gully Boy.
Acting: Ranveer, in his last outings Simmba and Padmaavat, was loud, active, and always dance-ready. Zoya’s Ranveer is a complete opposite. Ranveer as Murad is patient, has thehrav on his face. He lets his eyes do the talking. Even when he breaks into dancing and singing, it’s in Murad’s style, not Ranveer’s. And Alia Bhatt is a revelation – Safeena is a girl who tries to live life on her own terms without her parents knowing about it. She loves Murad to the extent where she can even kill for him, without a second thought. Alia Bhatt plays the role with finesse. If Ranveer brings the patience, Alia drops the punk, and balances everything. Special mention for Siddhant Chaturvedi who plays MC Sher. He is lit!
Cinematography: Some things are best unpolished. This film is an example. The tone isn’t polished, it’s raw and fresh. It lets you into its world. Drone shots by cinematographer Jay Oza of the Bombay 70 landscape blow life into it. Raps are fast but the cinematography is slow and steady, the camera takes its own time to move and absorbs you to an extent where you feel part of the experience. Yes, Ranveer does break the fourth wall once for a song sequence, but doesn’t break the link which is commendable.
Screenplay and Writing: The film talks about someone striving to achieve a dream, and struggling for it, but he isn’t leaving everything behind. Murad and Safeena, both don’t leave academics, they appear for exams and do well, unlike other films where protagonists generally leave everything behind in their struggle. Zoya in her last two ventures (Lust Stories, Gully Boy) has cracked a code via which she makes silences speak. No dialogues, just the eyes… goose flesh! It doesn’t start by setting base, it begins assuming you know what you have signed up for and it is well executed this time. Zoya and Reema Kagti shape the story in a way that you step into Murad’s shoes, you are him and live his moments. Writer Vijay Maurya, who also plays Murad’s uncle in the film, has penned downright authentic dialogues for this script. The dialogues ARE the language of the film.
Songs: The lyrics of the first song said Asli Hip-Hop Se Milaye Hindustan ko, and it does. The music album already has a separate fan-base. No obvious agenda of making a bold commentary on society, its taboos or current state, it’s just telling a story, and 54 musicians coming together makes it is worthwhile. Javed Akhtar’s soothing poetry and the beats and commentary from the ensemble rappers are a treat to our senses. Well written lyrics blended with right beats are on loop.
Scenes and Detailing: Did you really think Zoya wouldn’t sprinkle her magic here? She does, and how! A scene has Sky (Kalki Koechlin), Murad and a group of friends drawing graffiti on the walls and writing honest messages on posters and hoardings. It’s Zoya taking the world and paint it red. A moving effect was Murad travelling in local trains looking at people doing their monotonous jobs with dead faces, and himself turning into one while a poem plays in the background. Murad measuring the size of Sky’s bathroom and comparing it to his house, was a clever take, and so real. The detailing is on point at all times. Be it Ranveer’s body with no abs, and displaying hairy armpits, or Alia’s clothes being as simple as the story merited. Set in the slums, and shot in real slums and not made-up sets, enhances the authenticity.
Watching Gully Boy is a must for the Asli hip-hop, and for an Indian filmmaker taking the notch a few levels higher.