My first reaction to ‘GULLY BOY’ as I stepped out of PVR was ‘What A Film!’ With time the superlative expression got subdued. The magic started weaning. By the time I got to write this review, it was a few notches down.
Gully Boy is a story of an underdog delivering against odds. It is about passionately believing in dreams and not taking ‘NO’ for an answer. The path to success is full of the standard grind, obstacles and self-doubt along with a mentor and incident that pushes the hero to self-actualisation.
Gully Boy is the story of Murad (played by Ranveer Singh), a Rap artist from Dharavi and is inspired by the real-life story of street rappers Divine and Naezy.
The film tries to touch and showcase Dharavi life, but it fails. It remains superficial. It misses undercurrents of Dharavi social fabric, delivering a much-maligned stale Dharavi full of clichés.
The made-for-this-movie lead pair of Gully Boy.
Ranveer Singh is brilliant in a layered role. He deftly with practices ease underplays the character of Murad. The slow unfolding of angst, dreams, determination and resolve within self is the high point of his performance.
After Alauddin Khilji of Padmavat and Bajirao of Mastani, this is yet another role that I can’t see anyone else playing. It will make Ranveer count among the Star Actor.
Alia Bhatt plays Safina. she is Safina is a brilliant foil to Ranveer’s character in the film. She delivers to perfection a role that seems tailor-made for her. She makes every moment of the limited screen time count. The short but pivotal role helps to contextualise Murad’s life.
Safina life is about fighting social constraints. Willing to break the rules, she accepts that she has to lie to get her dreams. Aware of the reality, she does not live in a dream bubble. She understands the limitation that defines her life. Yet, dreams of being with her childhood romance Murad and of breaking free. Nothing can prevent her from getting what she wants from her life.
Safina is hot-tempered and sure-footed. Impulsive and fiercely possessive about her love. Innocent with a smile that can melt anyone. Forgiving in her approach and scheming in her battles, she is open to playing emotions to get her way. It’s tough to decide which Alia you love more.
The chemistry between Ranveer and Alia is just superb. It is surprisingly their first film together.
Gully Boy serves more.
There are stories within stories. The episodes with their own story and mini theatre keep nudging the film forward. Siddhant Chaturvedi as Mc Sher (another Rapper and Murad’s mentor) finds space and time to impress in a heavily Ranveer focussed film. He is just brilliant. Vijay Varma as one of Murad’s friend and somewhat a crook is very believable. The small skirmish between Murad and him and the repeated reconciliation are beautiful. They best define the life of friendship in a complex web called Dharavi.
Vijay Raaz as Murad’s father is a character full of self-doubts. He does not allow the dreams to fly. As a person who has accepted what life has served, he is happy with the life of assured certainties. He has a small vision and dream investment in his son’s education. Frustrated in life, he is a wife beater. All of this delivered in a typical Vijay Raaz style.
Shweta (Sky) is a cameo role of Kalki Koechlin. She is rich and is studying music. Maybe, she along with her friends is the weakest of all characterisation. It is a waste of talent and opportunities in this role.
GULLY BOY- the way it should be.
One must compliment the director-dialogue-screenplay team. They nurture multiple small episodic battles to remain asymmetrically aligned until the very end. However, they play safe.
Murad’s father prideful presence at the final concert is expected lines and weakens the interplay. However, Alia keeping distance from Kalki towards the end is unexpected and appreciated.
The end is predictable. You know it from the start. Yet, the movie does not seem unnaturally extended.
Special mention must be made of Vijay Maurya, the dialogue writer. Every line in Gully Boys is contextualised and sharp. There is no wastage of words. And where words may not deliver, actions speak.
Zoya Akhtar has delivered a film that you will love to watch.
GULLY BOY impact scenes.
Some of the scenes will become iconic enough to be talked about. My choice set has a few scenes. Murad’s carefully step-by-step measuring of the washroom in Sky’s home is brilliant. The washroom is huge. It is bigger than his house. The fight between Murad, Sky and Safina at the success celebration will be remembered for Alia breaking of the bottle. Aia Bhatt in her possessive lover role of Safina impulsively launching for the girl who has messaged her love. Defending her actions and passing on the blame to the other girl at her father’s clinic. The scene, where she pleads with her father to allow her to continue studies maybe cliche but Alia makes it so definitive.
Most of them are Alia Bhatt moments. And the movie focuses on Ranveer! Go enjoy the movie and solve this puzzle.
I think I will settle with ‘Must watch’ tag for ‘Gully Boy’. You will hear the song AAPNA TIME AAYEGA for long.
Gully Boy: STARCAST. Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt. Vijay Raaz, Kalki Koechlin, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Vijay Varma. Director: Zoya Akhtar