The raw texture in every aspect of the narrative, a “not- to- miss” mention of almost every sensitive, yet muted and pinching, point of the characters through its songs, and a constant presence of lyrical silence which speaks paralleled volumes with immensely strong dialogues, is what makes Gully boy an epic that it is.
Of course, needless to add, its perfect protagonists played by Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, and the supporting star cast, added incredible energy, not just on screen, but within the viewers too.
The movie revolves around the niches of the Mumbai slum, and its haunting reality, majorly from a perspective that puts forth an economically weak Muslim family’s lifestyle. It’s a treat to watch, Murad, played by Ranveer Singh, who’s relentless urge to change his life and his pain, only talk in silence through his writings; a domestically abusive father; a supportive mother; Murad’s childhood sweetheart Safeena, who is fearless and an aspiring young surgeon herself, and his old and new friends who struggle with him in their own ways, to make him the ‘Gully boy’ that he finally is.
The movie is so well knitted, and almost every dot connects so aptly with the other, that no one individual can be called the ‘star” of the narrative. Each of them has put their best foot forward. The only one who does look a misfit and is loosely crafted is the character of Sky, played by Kalki. Director Zoya Akhtar, perhaps, wanted to put a point across to showcase Murad’s growth, but then the strings get broken soon after, as far as Sky is concerned.
Of all that I have understood from his process of preparing for a role, Ranveer Singh has nailed it yet again, while trying to sync the ghetto character of Murad thoroughly into his soul. What speak for him are his wet vulnerable eyes, his silence, the depth in his poetry, and his heart that beats for rap, and indeed his lady love Safeena. In those handful moments when he does get vocal, kudos to the dialogue writer, Vijay Maurya, who has simply brought more shine to the star.
I have loved Alia Bhatt for the transformation she brings to her own character, similar to what she did in Highway, Raazi, and now in Gully boy. The articulation of how a Mumbai girl from a conservative family, and a gundi of sorts would speak, has been done exactly to the point by the young actress. Together they portray a sweet couple, deeply in love, progressive, possessive and the biggest strength for each other.
Siddhant Chaturvedi, who plays Murad’s mentor, MC Sher, has stolen my heart away and so has Murad’s old friend Moin, played by Vijay Verma. Both these relationships individually have been beautifully crafted by Akhtar and Reema Kagti, the co-writer for the movie. The core message and characters they carry with them is the big heart of a true friend, who is bravely ready to give it all to let Murad live the passion of his life. They put to life the reality of giving with open hands, that too when they do not have anything in themselves, apart from their own sheer talent. Remarkable.
Gully Boy’s music is not the routine list of songs played for you, but an interesting fusion of poetry and beats that introduces you to the horrific realities of a minority lifestyle, crime, politics and to the self- scripted norms of the society that the wise youth does not relate to.
Every word of the movie is written with such depth, that each of it melts down into a new poetry that the dreamer is ready to shout aloud. That’s how the dreamer Murad is. In the middle of all his life’s challenges, his career build ups and with his hard work, he’s able to turn his struggles into opportunities, to live his contrasting dream.
Few deep dug messages that I could establish are how valuably poor the richer counterparts are, and vice versa. The scenes where Murad drives his owner’s car as an almost graduate sitting next to the daughter who’s a graduate herself. The silent discrimination is a hit on the soul, both ways. In a similar situation when the owner’s daughter sits in the car crying and there’s a hard-hitting poetry that goes through Murad’s mind, which is a slap on umpteen self-created lines we draw in the name of class and strata. These create staunch walls within our society for no reason.
One of Murad’s relatives tells him to sing ghazals instead if music is the only thing he wishes to pursue. Safeena is beaten up by her mother when she puts forward her basic youthful demands to move out- party and talk to boys. The jaded, experienced lot of elders in our society have created a phenomenon, which they think cannot and shouldn’t be altered for any reason, which stops the younger lot to even dream. This goes against the souls of today’s generation.
Making a shift from her earlier creations of larger than life riches, and all the talks about the urban pain points, Zoya Akhtar has filmed a very different reality. Her gift of getting into sharp specifications, deep messaging is evident here as well.
The movie for me, is inspiring, allowing me to dream more.