Ranveer, Zoya, Alia visit India Pavilion at Berlin Film Festival 2019 to discuss ‘Gully Boy’

Berlin: The Gully Boy team comprising Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, director Zoya Akhtar and producer Ritesh Sidhwani visited India Pavilion at the Berlin International Film Festival and released the IFFI 2019 brochure.

The film’s team interacted with the visiting Indian delegation, who informed them about the efforts being made by the organisers for the golden jubilee anniversary of International Film Festival of India, which will be held in Goa later this year, said a press release from Press Information Bureau.

Gully Boy will have its world premiere at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival. The film will be screened at the Berlinale Special Gala segment.

Ranveer’s character Murad

“It’s got commentary on the class divide, it’s got commentary on choices young people make – whether they want to be stuck in something that gives them no fulfilment versus pursuing their passion,” said Ranveer Singh, whose character Murad has a meteoric rise after posting his first rap video online. “I think it’s got a whole variety of stuff embedded between the lines that may just have a positive social impact.”

The film sees Murad honing his talent and turning the squalor and tension of his home life into poetry until a popular local rapper convinces him to try hip-hop.

But soon Murad and his mother get kicked out of their home by his violent father, who forbids him to perform and marries a much younger second wife.

Ranveer Singh, who raps in the film inspired by Mumbai hip-hop stars Divine and Naezy, said it took nine months before he felt camera-ready. “I’ve been into rap and hip-hop since I was a little kid,” he said. “I started out listening to MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice and Will Smith and graduated to a little bit harder gangsta rap like Tupac and Wu-Tang Clan and NWA then Eminem.”

‘Safeena, doesn’t have a problem wearing her hijab’

Alia Bhatt’s character in the film Safeena wears a traditional Muslim headscarf but resists her family’s attempts to arrange her marriage and wants to become a surgeon. “You can’t really be so sure about who may get offended or who may not,” Alia Bhatt said of the film’s touchier subjects.

“My character Safeena, I don’t think that she has a problem wearing her hijab and I don’t think she has a problem with her culture. What she does have a problem with though is not being able to be honest with her parents,” added the actress.

About touching upon tabooed topics

In one scene in the film, Murad’s father tells his mother that she is useless in bed and she shouts back: “You have never learned to touch a woman properly.”

Director Zoya Akhtar told AFP, “To me, him getting married the second time is not as flammable and volatile to me as the fact that his first wife cannot afford to leave.”

“Because she’s not fiscally empowered to leave and there’s nowhere to go. That to me is the bigger problem. The fact is, they shouldn’t be taboo subjects because they exist and it happens,” adds the director.

Indian Pavilion at Berlinale

The Indian Pavilion at Berlinale has been organised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in association with Confederation of Indian Industry. Over 75 Indian film companies are participating at Berlinale 2019.

The Indian delegation members at Berlinale also met with over half a dozen film festival heads and key senior executives of the film industry.

Nadia Dresti, deputy Artistic Director and head of Locarno Film Festival, met the delegation and was told about the government’s efforts towards promoting ease of filming and curbing piracy.

Dresti said she had visited IFFI Goa last year and emphasised that she will be participating in the 2019 edition as well.

The delegation from Israel visited the Indian Pavilion and expressed its keenness to produce a film with an Indian producer under the Indo-Israeli Co-production treaty.

Gully Boy releases on February 14

(With inputs from Agencies)