Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Vijay Raaz, Kalki Koechlin
From the moment the film was announced, till the time it hit the theatres, there was one burning thought on my mind – how will they make this film relevant for all? Well, they did that and more. Trust Ranveer Singh and Zoya Akhtar to cut right to the heart of human emotions, which is always universal.
Murad (Ranveer Singh) has not had it easy. Living in the slums of Mumbai, Murad is dealing with an abusive father (Vijay Raaz) Having married again, he is turning violent at times and Murad’s mother is bearing the brunt of it all. Murad’s only respite is the time he spends with Safeena (Alia Bhatt) his feisty, fiery gal-pal and those moments he spends putting pen to paper. The burning angst and unrest in him find a vent, when he sees MC Sher (Siddhant Chatuvedi) face-off some bullies at college with rap. The incident marks a beginning of a friendship and through Sher’s relentless encouragement, Murad finds his voice and out comes Gully Boy.
On paper, Gully Boy is a typical underdog’s journey to victory story. There is nothing exceptionally new about the plot, but the plot was never meant to be the highlight of the film. The highlights come in threefold – Ranveer Singh, dialogues and the emotional quotient.
This is no sob-story, though it is gut wrenching in parts. The dialogues written by Vijay Maurya need a standing ovation. The language is simple, yet effective throughout. There will be moments in the film where you might wish you had said those things or at least thought those things when something was not going right. With Maurya voicing your thoughts, Gully Boy already wins in terms of relatability. None of us might have had to stay in slums or struggle to fulfil our dreams the way Murad had to, but you will still find parallels because at the heart of it, it is a human story, with human emotions and reactions.
Which brings us to those who were mouthing these dialogues. To begin with the ladies – Alia Bhatt sure does her job to perfection. Her standard matter-of-fact delivery of dialogues goes well with Safeena’s character, despite the fact that there are some words and expressions that are obviously alien to her personally. Alia primly delivers to the point, making you hope for a little more uncertainty and edge from her. Safeen, while integral to Murad, isn’t as memorable as her other films have been. The same goes with Kalki Koechlin, she does her part perfectly, but Sky doesn’t leave a mark. The film belongs to the boys, Sher and Murad.
Ranveer Singh as Murad makes you forget you are watching the same cheeky inspector Sangram ‘Simmba’ Bhalerao! The helpless, angry youngster you see in Gully Boy doesn’t resemble the ruthless Khilji from any angle – which in turn puts Ranveer Singh at a pedestal where none of his contemporaries will reach within the next couple of years, at least. Leaving competition too far behind, Singh morphs into Murad like he has had Murad running though his veins all through. You cannot differentiate him from the character which is his biggest accomplishment as an actor. The seamless transformation of Ranveer into Murad overshadows everyone else in the film except MC Sher – Siddhant Chaturvedi.
For those who have been watching the web series Inside Edge, you might be familiar with Siddhant but they too might have taken a moment to realise that MC Sher is the very same man playing the shy, introverted bowling ace Prashant Kanaujia in Inside Edge. You leave the theatre with rap beats and the faces of these two boys!
With the way the film manages to touch you, speak to you tells you just one thing – Zoya Akhtar is the most underrated director in B-town. She might have given many successful films, but the quality of work she represents has certainly not been appreciated enough. Take a bow, Lady! For this one was HARD!