‘Gully Boy’ review: Full marks to Zoya for making some brave comments on social issues

While Ranveer puts his heart and soul into a role that seems tailor made for him, Alia takes your breath away with her brilliance yet again.

Director: Zoya Akhtar
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Vijay Raaz, Amruta Subhash, Siddhant Chaturvedi
Rating: ****

Director Zoya Akhtar weaves an emotionally rich and inspiring coming of age story of a budding rap musician, Murad (Ranveer Singh) who is struggling to live a decent life in his already crowded, cramped house in Mumbai’s Dharavi in her latest film Gully Boy. Zoya picks up an unusual and mighty interesting true story of rap artist Naezy, (along with Divine) who coming from the humble gullies of Dharavi, makes it big solely because of his talent and an undying passion to make his dreams come true.

Murad feels stifled in the house which reeks of poverty and is witness to his orthodox and dominating father (Vijay Raaz) and his forever suffering mother (Amruta Subhash) who are evidently in a rotting marriage. His only escape is his childhood sweetheart Safeena (Alia Bhatt).

Safeena, who’s learning to be a surgeon also feels stuck in an orthodox household where she is not allowed to go anywhere like normal girls of her age do. Safeena, however, deals with the situation with much more spirit than Murad does. It is interesting to see how the couple manages to snatch a few moments of privacy, in spite of the milling people around them, and how love continues thriving in spite of the not so pretty sights around them. 

Meek Murad’s life changes when he meets a fellow rapper MC Sher (Siddhant Chaturvedi). MC Sher believes in Murad’s talent more than he does himself and he gives a new outlet to Murad’s otherwise stifled dream. 

Hats off to Zoya for creating Murad’s and Safina’s world with such precision and with so much sensitivity that you become part of it from scene one, even as you once in a while cringe at the environment that he’s forced to be part of.

One wonderful scene among the many in this film, is the one where foreigners come to Dharavi looking for poverty porn and Murad’s grandmother nonchalantly demands Rs 500 for a tour of their house. With the help of whistle worthy dialogues by Vijay Maurya and almost flawless screenplay written by herself and Reema Kagti, Zoya gives us an impactful movie. You are involved in Murad’s journey from the word go as he goes about being desperately helpless to a truly deserved success story. 

Zoya has a winner in her lead pair Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt. While Ranveer puts his heart and soul into a role that seems tailor made for him, Alia takes your breath away with her brilliance yet again. To top it, the two have a sizzling chemistry that helps the narration in a big way. 

Siddhant Chaturvedi, who makes his feature film debut with this one is very charming and has a strong screen presence. Zoya has picked her cast well, which includes Vijay Raaz, Vijay Verma (who plays Moeen, Murad’s wayward friend) and Sheeba Chaddha (who plays Safina’s suspicious mother). However, Amruta Subhash who plays Murad’s mother seems too young for the role. Kalki Koechlin doesn’t really fit in and her track seems forced, in an otherwise flawless storytelling. 

Full marks to Zoya for making some valid and brave comments on social issues, even as she’s narrating one rags to riches story.  

The music of the film is extraordinary and some of the scenes where you get to watch the rap battle turn magical because of lyrics laced with humour and wit. and fantastic music. The movie is a tad too long at two and half plus hours of duration and could have been cut short. 

Watch this movie for sure, as it keeps you involved, amused and inspired.