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Gully Boy | Film Review

"Kapde silayle hai khud ke dum pe, nahi liye maine apne baap se," raps Gully Boy aka Ranveer Singh, as the entire theatre breaks into an impromptu round of cheer and applause. It becomes a habit, especially in the second half, where one impressive moment after another leaves you spellbound, whistling and cheering for the lead protagonist and his struggle to the top. This ain't your typical rags to riches story. Zoya Akhtar's Gully Boy goes a notch above and strikes a chord with it's realistic depiction of the underground hip hop scene in our very own city of dreams - Mumbai.


Gully Boy showcases Murad Sheikh's (Singh) rise to fame, as he discovers his passion for rapping, while overcoming his personal obstacles and dilemmas. As a budding artist and youngster belonging to a simple household located in the by-lanes of Dharavi, the road ahead isn't easy. In fact, Murad's journey is full of ups and downs. Right from dealing with a stern father, who isn't too keen on the boy following his dream and insists he concentrates on getting a decent job, to dealing with the shortcomings of his friends, who indulge in one illegal activity after another, and observing the silent emotional sufferings of his mother; it's all topsy turvy. 


But, Murad finds his calling in the world of hiphop. And of course, some solace in spending time with his loved one - Safeena (Alia Bhatt), a feisty budding surgeon, who wouldn't leave any stone unturned to keep her guy away from the prying eyes of another girl. Even if that means thrashing or breaking glass bottles; Safeena is unapologetically real and bindaas. However, she too has her own set of hurdles to deal with, as she is forced to put on a rather timid face at home, thanks to family norms and values. One things leads to another, and Murad comes across a known underground rapper - MC Sher (Siddhant Chaturvedi), who becomes an integral part of his future journey. Will Murad make it big and realise his dreams? How does he adapt to the world of underground rap and hiphop battles? That's for you to find out!


The screenplay, dialogues, performances, music; don't know where one can begin. There isn't any department where the film fails to impress. In fact, there are parts which end up exceeding expectations and how!! While one wonders if the curse of second half would affect this film, you witness a stronger comeback, which keeps the audience hooked on right till the last frame (all the way till the last credit rolls out). Akhtar and Reema Kagti's writing spells perfection. While keeping the underground hiphop movement as the dominant theme, the film has multiple layers, which brilliantly touch upon pertinent issues - ranging from domestic violence, skewed standards of living, hardships of the common man, and even shades of feminism, which strongly reflects in Bhatt's Safeena. Vijay Maurya pens memorable dialogues, which deservingly received thunderous applause and cheers. Some lines, filmed on Singh, Chaturvedi and even Bhatt, leave a strong impact. Jay Oza's impeccable cinematography captures the essence of Mumbai streets very well. Various artists, including some of the OG 'Gully Boys' who have inspired the film - Divine, Naezy among others, come together to create one memorable soundtrack for the film. Of course, it goes without saying that the music plays a dominant role, and turns out to be an exceptional 'hero' in the film. The songs grow on you once played on loop, with lyrics that pack a punch. Apna Time Aayega, Asli Hip Hop, Mere Gully Mein and Azaadi are hands down some of our favourites.


Performances level up with every scene, as the artists breathe life into their respective characters with absolute perfection. While one expects Singh and Bhatt to be highlighted as the main stars, Akhtar ensures their characters get weaved in naturally, and every cast member shines with their individual performances. This is one aspect that becomes an important trump card for the film. Casting is top notch, as each artist stands out with their respective acts. Vijay Raaz (Aftab Sheikh) and Amruta Subhash (Afreen Sheikh) as Murad's parents are excellent. Debutant Siddhant Chaturvedi deserves a special mention and is supremely impressive. As MC Sher, he becomes the catalyst in Murad's life, thus making his character an integral part of the latter's journey. The actor does complete justice, with the perfect attitude and cool quotient required to play this role. Ditto Vijay Verma, whose portrayal of the smart street boy Moeen, makes a mark. Kalki Koechlin's Sky doesn't have too much screen space, but the actress does a good job with her short yet important role.


Needless to say, it is Bhatt who walks away with maximum 'seeti' (whistle) worthy dialogues. As the doll faced yet spunky Safeena, she wins your heart with the right amount of fire and ice in her personality. Her possessiveness for Murad leads to many a memorable moments, where Bhatt shines with her exceptional act. As Murad's love interest, she goes on to become his biggest support and strength. However, it is Singh who steals the show with a flawless portrayal of 'Gully Boy' aka Murad. He brilliantly presents various shades of an artist's personality within 155 odd minutes, with the perfect personality, body language and expressions. As a dreamer waiting to fly and spread his wings, Singh's Murad depicts the story of every determined youngster, who is waiting to / or has made a mark on their own. It is impossible to imagine Singh - the award winning actor that we know, and instead, one sees him living as and effortlessly breathing life into Murad on screen. The intensity and fire in his eyes speak volumes, and sometimes, create a bigger impact than the dialogues. Shedding his usual infectious energy and enthusiasm, Singh steps into the shoes of a character that demands various moods, ranging from calm to romantic, motivated to exasperated and more. The passion with which Singh has moulded himself to become one with Murad, right from acing his personality and overall look to even rapping songs with complete dedication, is simply impeccable. Who could believe that we saw the same guy dance around on 'Aankh Marey' in a beefed up avatar, just a month ago? Well, that's Ranveer Singh for you, and no one does it like him. Clearly, this Gully Boy steals the show with his flawless act.


 Gritty, raw, and remarkably beautiful; captain of the ship - Zoya Akhtar, deserves full credit for perfectly putting together a film, that serves as a great tribute to the hiphop movement, and both the popular, budding artists involved. There isn't a single 'check your phone' or rest room break moment, as the film successfully keeps you hooked on with it's decent pace and overall flow. Kudos to Akhtar, Kagti and the makers for highlighting this subject, penning their magic, bringing it to life on the big screen and getting the heroes of Indian (or if I may say - Asli) Hip Hop to the forefront. As if my words weren't enough, my best friend (who has been waiting to catch this film right since the trailer dropped) quoted this right after the preview - "The film serves as an inspiration to budding rappers, and all those who want to break beyond their ordinary lives. Those Gully vibes leave you with goosebumps all over. Angaaar Hai, Ranveer. Angaar Hai." Well, I couldn't agree more!!


Easily one of the best films in recent times, with performances that will be remembered for a long, long time. Bahut Hard, Gully Boy!! Bahut-ich Hard.

Verdict: This is an experience that cannot be missed! Gully Boy is an absolute must watch for the entire family. Highly recommended.
⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2

Are you excited to watch Gully Boy in cinemas from today? Leave a comment below or Join the conversation at

Love,
The Dancebee

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Priya Adivarekar

Priya Adivarekar - Founder and Creative Director at Diary of a Dancebee. She is also a renowned Voice Actress and award winning artiste, with serious passion for dance. When not working round the clock, she can be seen reading, enjoying a movie-binge or listening to music.
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