I watched Gully Boy day before yesterday and I have to admit that it is one of the best stories from Bollywood in the recent time (no shit!).
CAUTION: MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD.
Truth be told, there is hardly anything to criticise in the movie yet there are people who somehow found non-existent flaws in the movie. I came across a similar article on The Wire and I can’t help but disagree with the author.
The article goes on to say that Zoya Akhtar is an outsider, someone from a better side of the class divide and hence has told the story from her lens rather than from the protagonist’s perspective.
The author highlights how the rags-to-riches story is something Bollywood recognises and Zoya has hence taken a comfortable route to tell the tale of Gully Boy.
I completely disagree with the author here. The movie is targeted towards a larger demographic for mainstream acceptance of a culture which has long-been alienated.
So, the idea of a rags-to-riches story may not be unique but at the end of the day, it shows how actual rappers coming from impoverished backgrounds have made it big as the case with Divine & Naezy (the rappers on whom the story is loosely based).
If we target the movie towards a niche audience and depict nothing but realistic tonality to its narrative, it will restrict the scope of its appeal. For a mass appeal, it needs to have some amount of touch-points that connect with the people.
If that’s not done, it might as well be marketed as a documentary and less like a mainstream Hindi movie. The result: it pleases the people it’s made about, not the ones it’s made for!
The author goes on to say that the film does contain issues of relevance, however, they are reduced to “inanimate generalities”.
He then adds and I quote:
“Murad and his friends deface several billboards late in the night, presumably protesting a consumer culture that props up the haves and silences the have-nots. This scene is impressively materialised – it is wonderfully shot and charmingly performed by Kalki Koechlin (Murad’s friend) – but, fundamentally disconnected from the movie, it primarily exists to look ‘cool’.“
I think everyone who has watched the movie, everyone but the author of this piece, would agree that this particular scene depicts the class divide and the stark differences between the characters and what they stand for.
Sky (Kalki) highlights issues like zero figure industry, colour discrimination etc. while Murad (Ranveer) can only think of the basic amenities as he writes “Roti, Kapda, Makkan + internet” on the wall.
As for the soundtracks in question, I don’t think the author realises that it’s a mainstream movie and not a documentary.
It is about the life of a rapper and not about his views on issues of national importance. The tracks are supposed to further the narrative of the movie and not to justify/not justify the stand that the words depict.
Lastly, the movie doesn’t make fun of slum tourism. It just portrays the reality of the life in slums in a lighter tone to acquaint the audience with the lead in order to talk about much bigger issues with its narrative later.
I feel the author has tried too hard to attempt to stand unique from the majority by penning this article.
Gully Boy is a very well made movie with a brilliant cast, acting performances (Ranveer is great but Alia & Siddhant Chaturvedi have my heart!), cinematic elements and great story telling.
Moreover, the amount of research that has gone into depicting rap cyphers, jam sessions and rap battles, it should be noted that almost no other Indian movie has ventured into this territory.
One needs to appreciate the movie as a stepping stone which further broadens the horizons for Indian hip-hop artists thus giving them (even if it is less, in terms of magnitude) recognition and mass acceptance.
Gully Boy has already started real life conversations with people finally having an insight into the underground rap scene of India and that itself shows that the rags-to-riches narrative worked and for good.
For anyone who hasn’t watched the movie yet, please go and watch and decide for yourself. One thing for sure is that you won’t be disappointed ‘cuz the movie is “boht hard“!
Picture Credits: Google Images
Find the blogger: @innoosense
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