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Gully Boy Review (2019) | Talent Could Bloom Anywhere

What a dramatic and enjoyable hoot! Going in with not so high hopes, for the trailers belied Gully Boy making it appear as a middling ripoff of 8 Mile, the flick comes as a delightful surprise. Gully Boy will make you forget that the latter even existed. It has so much going on in it, that it exists in its very own universe unafraid.

Zoya Akhtar‘s piece of art helps in popularizing hip hop and rap by introducing it to the Indian multitude. It has been carefully written capturing the story of an aspiring rapper, a dreamer from the slums, who is trying to escape his destitute life, his dysfunctional family and at the same time trying to deal with all those things that complicate matters of love.

Theme of Gully Boy Movie

Ranveer Singh plays Murad in Gully Boy who has a knack for knitting a gossamer of words but he doesn’t truly recognize his flair until one day he runs into MC Sher (Siddhant Chaturvedi), the mentor turned friend who pushes him on a road to help him realize his own dream, handing Murad’s life’s most important lessons by being as laconic as he could in a typical Mumbaiya tongue –

Do not let anyone take control of ‘your’ things, especially all those things that your heart conjured.

Murad is riled by the path he is on, especially by the one that he has to take every day to return home where loyalty, respect, and love have long forsaken it. The dreamy path he is led on is contorted by choices that test him every now and then but he never loses sight. That’s what a truly insane dreamer with conviction should really live by.

Ranveer Singh as Murad in Gully Boy

The dreamer walks on that daily road as he keeps creating magic with his words by noticing things around him. Kind of reminds you of Paterson, the poet with a menial job who would come up with stunning poems whilst driving through the city of Paterson.

The Poet from the Streets

What are words if not a media of thoughts? It doesn’t matter what language you speak, it’s important what they convey. The character portrayed by Ranveer in Gully Boy is a product of slum, but he thrives and shines nevertheless. It goes on to show that talent can never really hide. What is beautiful to discover is that even though there is a lot of street reflecting in the words of the protagonist, he still channels it all to come up with some really gorgeous poetry.

Murad shapes them all in the form of rap, through a keen interest he has developed by listening to rap incessantly as he leads his life. Moments, where you find him plugging his earphones and getting lost into the sea of the hip-hop culture, are all nothing but some instances from his getaways. And they are so many of them. Starting from his father bringing home another wife to all those moments where he feels helpless after being offended by all the ill-treatment he gets. Music is his only respite, and he is boiling with his own words, seething in his own pain, waiting to be heard.

He jots them down as he wades through life. Like everyone who secretly wishes to be something, he carries that dream by being self-effacing. You could see that when he wishes a voice to narrate his story. But what he didn’t know up until then was that everyone is their own voice.

Ranveer Singh as Murad

Goes without saying Ranveer is a versatile actor. With so many great movies under his aegis, it is now safe to say that there is probably nothing in the world he couldn’t do. If he keeps up this outstanding performance and chooses his projects just as carefully, we are going to see more of him in the long run.

While the role of Murad in Gully Boy, didn’t demand much from him, he still delivers nevertheless by being the very best version of himself. He gets under the skin of this adult who is terse when it comes to replying to people but that should not be mistaken for him being mute. He does have a voice which gradually unfurls like a flower coming out from its bud as the universe seeks it and approves.

You see Ranveer lacing the character with his innate flamboyance. A project he already was comfortable doing, because he rapped in actuality too. It is not surprising that something that is so close to him ended up finding hi.

Vijay Raaz as Shakir

A fair makeover from being that comic element for so long, Vijay Raaz proves yet again why he is the best in the business. That he could do any role justice. He becomes this irksome insensitive father in Gully Boy, who never stops to have his way with his family. Bringing another wife into the picture he becomes a victim to his own guilt which he tries to justice by not only raising his voice but also his hand. As if hitting a child wasn’t bad already, he ends up becoming worse when he hits his wife as well.

Ranveer Singh and Vijay Raaz in Gully Boy movie

Gully Boy movie gets way too deep into the pervading monstrosity and tries to safely wake up the sleeping dragon by posing the apparent question –

“Why should only a man be allowed to re-marry another woman? Why is it not the other way round?”

People only support their own blood, that they forget what things you did for them in an instant, and that you tend to jump on the boat that’s still floating, get proven yet again when Shakir’s mother takes sides supporting Shakir even when he was wrong. That’s a blunt slap to conscience. How could kinship be so blind that it fails to address the wrong in their own child?

Vijay Varma as Moeen

Another one of those underdogs in the Gully Boy movie is the guy who starts the flick with his natural flair – Vijay Varma. His acting is so good and uncontrived that you wonder why everyone else in the world is getting ahead of him while he still manages to scour only petty roles.

The level of intensity Vijay brings onscreen is deafening and there are only a few listeners. It breaks your heart knowing this. If you remember he was there in Pink movie too and for such a small duration. But he has a wont of leaving his mark. You can barely forget the vehemence with which he dictates his actions.

His character of Moeen will fill you up with mixed feelings. He is a man with a good heart but he is channeled by greed and he doesn’t mind what hideous acts he does in its wake. Even though he gets some poetic justice in the end, somewhere in your head he makes you think how characters like him exist in our society. They are still doing it unfazed marred by criminality they think is justified as long as they don’t get caught. It is this demarcation of the rich and the poor, the very impossibility of the poor suddenly making it big that drives him to the edge of their ruin.

The Emotional Boomerang

What gives the story a very exciting angle is the presence of Alia Bhatt as Safeena. The boisterous fearless girlfriend who doesn’t think before acting on her instincts taking matters of love in her own hand. She brings down the gavel on the spot without thinking twice.

Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt in Gully Boy movie

Murad’s reluctance to accept Sky’s (Kalki Koechlin) dalliance is aptly put in a brilliant line:

If I remove her from the equation, it would be as if I grew up without a childhood.

There are plenty of important things in the movie that don’t go overlooked like Sky and her gang trying to bring winds of change by correcting the city at night. Subtlety plays in the dialogues that would generally be basic if it were not for some good writing. There is that crude street talk forever ingrained in the way the actors speak that make it a genuine and authentic product. It doesn’t affect the way the actors act but only assists in making it all more genuine.

Missing the Oomph Factor in Songs

Agreed the movie was extremely brilliant in the way it carried itself, but for a project this huge, you want some extraordinary writing. While there are some songs in the movie that have been well thought of, written and performed, others are simply forced rhymes. It’s not hard to concur that they don’t blow you away.

Like there are many other rap songs out there that don’t need growing on you, and you like them instantly. But in here, you have to let it grow on you. There is something out of the ordinary missing and it’s hard not to see that. The music alone can’t uplift a song, it has to have a meaning and some gravitas to back it up.

Some words in the rap songs sound daft and inept. Like a lot of thought hasn’t gone into the making of it. It isn’t limited to just the rap songs, but also to the musings of Murad which sometimes are great, but sometimes aren’t.

Some Instances

“Yeh bhi kaisi majboori hai” rhyming with “Hi ye kaisi doori hai.” is like one of the most cliched lines ever. Another instance, where you see it take shape in another musing by Murad which basically reflects “the road not taken” poem, too feels kind of cliched, ordinary and bland. Instead of making use of something mind-boggling, words in his musings become very simple and insipid.

“Ghanta lekar jaega” feels too pedestrian to have made into a rap. It kind of beams the question is rap supposed to be just lowbrow or can it have a proper blend of the thoughtful.

Same goes with the rap battle. It is just deliberately trying to smear the opponent without going into the inventive or ingeniuos enclave. Their rantings are just sad and sometimes painful to hear.

Au contraire, the final performance where Murad gets up on stage and nails it is simply great. It is beaming with vigour galore and ends on a high note in a subtle fashion.

The Train Song by Midival Punditz, Karsh Kale, Raghu Dixit which plays in the very end is hands down one of the best songs the movie retains. Here you can listen to it:

The Final Verdict

Gully boy movie is a definite winner in terms of its story, the brilliant cast it chooses and its magnificent direction. The theme that it capers around is about a dreamer which is inspiring for all those dreamers who are constantly wishing to be somewhere but are feeling stuck smacked down by life. A definite watch if you are on. Thoroughly entertaining with great performances!

You can check out the trailer of Gully Boy movie here:

Gully Boy

7.9

Direction

8.4/10

Story

8.3/10

Screenplay

7.5/10

Music

7.4/10

Pros

  • Outstanding Direction
  • Great Plot and Storyline
  • Brilliant Acting by the cast
  • Good Music

Cons

  • Some cliched lyrics
  • Insipid writing of songs
  • Impoverished Rap Battles

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