“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog”- Mark Twain.
A classic tale of underdog never goes in vain and when Zoya Akhtar decided to give a shoutout to the two underground Indian rappers Divine (Vivian Fernandes) and Naezy (Naved Shaikh), a part of me was excited. Zoya has been one of my all time favourite filmmakers and with “Gully Boy” she has truly set the bar even higher. Murad (Ranveer Singh) is a poor boy from Dharavi, who aspires to make it big with poetry and music. He has a knack for penning down beautiful lines and when he meets MC Sher (Siddhant Chaturvedi), the latter convinces him to achieve his dreams against all odds. Murad has been in a long time relationship with Safeena (Alia Bhatt) and the relationship hits the rocks when Sky (Kalki Koechlin) enters Murad’s life. Sky is a music student from the U.S. who collaborates with Sher and Murad to make an album for her project. Murad has his own issues, trying to fulfill his dreams even when the circumstances are least in favour. An abusive father played by a terrific Vijay Raaz is anything but supportive to Murad and how he overcomes all struggles and achieves his dream is the rest of this underdog classic.
Ranveer Singh has the Midas’ touch. Already touted to be the next big thing, Ranveer Singh is in a zone of his own. His performance as Murad is perhaps the best in his already illustrious career. The intensity, the spark and desperation in his eyes and his never give up attitude make Murad a compelling character. No surprises though that Alia steals the show in a comparatively smaller role. Safeena is a very strong character that keeps Murad grounded at all times. Siddhant Chaturvedi does a great job, considering it’s his first outing in front of the camera. But actors like Vijay Raaz and Vijay Verma give such sublime performances that they pull the movie up even when the runtime threatens to spoil the party. It’s disheartening however that a talented actor like Kalki Koechlin gets the short end of the stick, but in a movie with so many character arcs, it is acceptable that some loose ends are simply meant to be.
Lyrics and music is the greatest strength of “Gully Boy” and the rebellious lines citing the day to day struggles of our protagonist are unbelievably good. Camerawork by Jay Oza (Rang de Basanti, Raman Raghav) is top notch as the chawls and the beautiful city’s landscapes alternating in most of the scenes gives it an authentic look and feel. The script by Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar is convincing and builds strong a case for each character that is a part of Murad’s rags to riches story. Direction by Zoya is excellent and some of the dialogues and poetry hit you deep where it matters. This is a movie for the ages.
My verdict – A great movie is only possible when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The movie has to score big on all grounds, be it story, music, direction, cinematography or performance. And “Gully Boy” has all the right boxes ticked. Ranveer Singh deservedly walks away with all the accolades, but this movie well and truly belongs to all the people involved in making such a classic underdog tale. This is indeed a big shout-out to all the talent in the world that exists beyond testing circumstances. This is a movie that will teach you to have faith in your dreams and make it big. I am going with 5 stars out of 5 and somehow I still feel I am a star short.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️