gully boy


From Dharavi to Oscars, read how Gully Boy’s nomination and how “apna time aa gaya”.

Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy, which created a stir and started a lyrical revolution for the underdogs of Indian music, has been selected as India’s official entry in the International Feature Film category at the Academy Awards, more popularly referred to as the Oscars. This film, featuring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, has been inspired by the lives of two Indian rappers, Divine and Naezy. The story of an aspiring rapper rising from the slums of Dharavi in Mumbai, fighting against the odds and obstacles was tied together with brilliant music and lyrics that touched upon the realities of life. Singh’s character, Murad, represents a myriad of ideas in the film. He is a young boy who finally finds meaning, and a voice in the songs that he writes. The struggles in his life take the centre stage in his songs, and authenticity becomes his uniqueness.

A dominant part of these struggles was the stark difference between the “haves” and “have-nots”. It draws out these visual contrasts when unaffluent Murad passes tall towers in his boss’ fancy car. Gully Boy also talks about the issues over authority between the protagonist and his father; it shows the plight of his mother when her husband remarries, and the persistent desire to be emancipated from the endless struggles that the “common man” faces. When this nomination was announced, it was met with appreciation, except several people also voiced out the other side to this decision. The Indian Film Federation unanimously selected Gully Boy over 27 other films, including Article 15, Super Deluxe, and Pahuna. Critics have argued that a Bollywood film of this scale and star-cast has certain factors playing in its favour, and while smaller films from other regions, languages, and demographics are also strong contenders in terms of the quality of cinema, they will not be given the recognition they deserve. Netizens are tweeting about other such critically acclaimed films such as Andhadhun, And the Oscar Goes To, Tumbbad, Uyare, among several others. Over the years, the films that have been nominated have been in the mainstream domain of the Hindi language. Till date, only two Malayalam films have been selected, along with one Telugu film, and no Kannada film has ever made it to the nominations. A common narrative that exists is that the Indian cinema is synonymous with Bollywood. There is a prevalent lack of awareness about other important industries, and those domains of Indian cinema are seen as the “others”. It is forgotten, almost always, that the Indian cinemascape goes beyond the dominance of Bollywood, to the diverse regions, languages, and identities that our land comprises of.

This film was lauded for its social and political undertones, except many also argue how it addressed these issues in a very ambiguous manner. The scene where Singh’s character goes around the city with Kalki Koechlin’s character and they spray-paint billboards all over the town and write “Feed Me” next to a model, “Brown and Beautiful” on a fairness cream advertisement are some of the ambiguities in the message it attempts to put forth. Even the ideas of majoritarianism, politics, and corruption are subtly hinted at. Many people also called out Bhatt’s character, Safeena, to be problematic after the Kabir Singh debates. For some, these mixed ideas of politics added to the layers in the film as they did not overpower the story, while leaving an impact. They further argue that this film opened doors to the discourse on these issues, except some others emphasise on how the film shrugs off its burdens by using subtlety as a tool. It is said that the jury which was responsible for the selection believed that a “feel-good factor” was essential for an Oscars nomination. While these are the many sides to this debate, apna time aa gaya (our time is here) and Gully Boy is now heading towards a much-awaited Oscars. It is a film which gave us a reality check, Siddhant Chaturvedi, catchy dialogues, and a seat at the Oscars.

Feature Image Credits: India Today

Shivani Dadhwal

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Bollywood movies are something that most of us love and Fridays are the days which we look up to. Being excited for every new release to being disappointed by a bad movie has become a part of our lives. Today’s youth follows Bollywood like holy books. This article talks about some of the movies which influenced the youth.

Today, cinema is the one of the most powerful media for mass communication. We go to a movie for three hours of entertainment but there are some movies that cause something more than entertainment. They leave a lasting impact on our minds which may be good or bad. On one hand, some movies are responsible for bringing a revolution whereas on the other hand there are some movies which provoke people in their life. Teenagers and college students are the most easily influenced group in our society.

There are various movies which show unreal and impossible scenes that most people are crazy behind. It makes many people believe that lives can be as perfect as shown in movies and leads to disappointment when it doesn’t turn out to be the actual case.

The perfect college scenes of Karan Johar’s movies increased our expectations and made us all believe that college life is as happening as shown in movies like Student of the Year. The movie that revolves around lavish lives of three privileged kids shows everything apart from studying, and it surely made us believe that college is all about having fun and chilling around. But the reality is something very different from that. College, in real life, is more about studies, assessments, internals and externals, and much less about the glorified chilling around.

Romance is another aspect shown in Bollywood movies in unrealistic ways. Such movies make us believe that our love lives can be as perfect as the love lives of the lead actors. But love in real life is full of ups and downs. Movies like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge make us believe that our Raj will come from continents apart and propose in the mustard fields. But this doesn’t happen in real life (SPOILER ALERT: Love is not everything that you have in real life.). Life has much more to it. Not all girls will give up all they have just for love and no prince charming will come riding a white horse to take you with him.

Movies like Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara left most of the audience dreaming of a perfect trip with friends. But planning trips is not as easy as shown in the movies. It takes a lot of things to plan such trips. Firstly, you need money. Nobody can go to Spain and live the best of their lives if they do not have finances. A Goa trip is something that we all want to go to at least once in the three years of college. At times, students are denied permission by parents which leads to a negative impact on their minds.

Many movies make the youth believe that smoking, drinking, and attending parties makes them look cool and those who focus more on studying are not so cool. This has also become a cause behind youth indulging into drinks and drugs. Movies portray that having a social life is must and those who don’t have a social life are not living their lives in the correct way. All these things tend to create a negative impact on the audience and make people spend lots of money on parties and forces them to show the world what they are doing, where they are, and who they are with. Social media becomes a platform for this. People do everything for that perfect shot to be uploaded on Instagram. Lives start to revolve around the perfect and colourful world of Instagram.

Some movies also show that girls who wear pretty clothes and dress up in a conventionally girly way are more desirable and liked by boys more often. For instance, Anjali in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is not liked by Rahul in her tomboyish look and he goes after Tina who looks wears pretty dresses and looks more ‘girly’. But the same Rahul falls for Anjali and finds her to be desirable when she wears saree and looks more like a conventionally typified girl of his conditioned beliefs.

However, not all movies leave a negative impact on the audience. There are a few movies which impact our minds positively and teaches us some very important life lessons.

Gully Boy is a movie praised vastly by the audience. The movie has done wonders and has left a message that we should not always run after the mainstream professions and we should follow our dreams. It shows that poverty is not something that can stop you from achieving your goals. It is not the end of the world but an obstacle that we all can cross. The movie teaches us that no dream is impossible and we can become what we dream of.

Dear Zindagi teaches us a number of beautiful life lessons. The most important of which is that you should always move on and once we take charge of our lives and start understanding ourselves then other’s opinions don’t matter. Another important lesson is to not let your past ruin your present or a beautiful future and never let the memories of your past haunt you.

Another movie that left people with something that they carried with them outside the theatre is Tamasha. It is a movie with a heart that beats in every frame. The biggest lesson that it teaches us is that we need to stop trying to fit in the world the way it wants us to; rather we should become what we want to be. It also teaches us that it is impossible to run away from who we are as it will keep returning to us in ways we can’t imagine. Tamasha is not just a movie but an emotion and words can never be enough to explain it.

It can be concluded that all the movies have both positive as well as a negative factors, and it depends on our minds on how to interpret it. We should try to take the good lessons and ignore the bad lessons. We need to understand the difference between the reel and real life and we need to know that what’s shown on the reel cannot always be implemented in real life. However, the good thing about Bollywood movies these days is that a lot of movies are now based on social causes which tend to influence the audience in a positive way and are responsible for bringing a change in the mind-set of the audience.

Feature Image Credits: Rishabh Gogoi for DU Beat

Priya Chauhan

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The highly anticipated Gully Boy has finally released. Does it live up to its own hype and add more fuel to a new hype for a new hip hop?

Apna time aayega,” raps Ranveer Singh in a faded hoodie in a dimly lit club in the film ‘Gully Boy’. Literally translating to ‘our time will come’, the phrase quickly got on the public’s tongue even before the film hit the theatres. Around me in the college campus, I see people rapping Ranveer’s lyrics, or I spot someone wearing a hoodie reading the optimistic motto, almost every day.

On the day of St. Valentine, ‘Gully Boy’ is finally out. No matter how it turns out now, one thing is for sure, gully rap ka time aa gaya hai (gully rap’s time has come).

Rap as a genre emerged only in the past few decades, with groups like Niggaz Wit Attitudes (NWA) adding a sense of rebellion and raw truths in their raps as they walked through the streets of Compton. But over time, rap has spread far and wide, and in that blend of globalisation and localisation, it has even diversified. Now far away from the ghettos of West Coast, rappers rap their truths and rebellion from the slums of India’s West Coast.

As several documentaries (most notably Vice’s ‘Kya Bolta Bantai’) have shown, gully rap started from scratch but eventually became a phenomenon all over India. This added on to the hope that independent artists also can have a future in a country dominated by film playback singers.

However, away from the feature news pieces and the documentaries, this year, Gully Boy’s release has given the ultimate boost to this music scene. Gully rap might be the first independent music genre that has transitioned from rising online streams to the cinematic mainstream. Now, those who play Gucci Gang on their phone are also playing Gully Gang. Those who just listened to rappers like YoYo Honey Singh and Badshah, are shaking their heads to Divine and Naezy.

Zoya Akhtar, who has otherwise directed classy bourgeois drama comedies, has clearly gone out of her comfort zone with this project. When it comes to the cast, off-screen persona of the leading man, Ranveer Singh, seems a bit insensitive to the political undertones of the viral songs as can be seen by certain pre-release interviews. While that can be certainly questioned, still the movie and his act still deserve respect for choosing an unconventional underdog story with shades of realism to it.

Some critics felt the film could have done way more on exploring the lives of slum-dwellers while others welcomed it as a new step in Bollywood praising the performances. As Rishabh Gogoi, a second-year student from Cluster Innovation Centre puts it into words- “It was a great experience. When songs like Apna Time Aayega and Azadi played, the crowd sang too at the top of their voices. The movie lives up to its expectations and is probably the best ode to gully rap, even if it might have its limits when you look in retrospective.”

But the question is- will it stop here?

Time would tell us what will happen to the future of hip-hop in India because the current wave seems to flow more and take new routes. Definitely, the Mumbai rap game was mostly based on the Dharavi region. But in a city with more flyovers than streets, like Delhi, hip-hop is getting very diverse.

“I hail from Assam but I came to Delhi for my studies, and in that period, I grew as an artist. I picked up different tricks and trends in the music scene here,” says J’97, a Delhi-based rapper sitting on the balcony of his flat. He supports the view that a suburbia like Delhi is a melting pot of cultures (Delhi has more non-Delhiites after all).

Prateek Pankaj, a first-year History student from Hindu College raps as a hobby. “These days, Indian rap is undergoing more changes and it’s getting popular. The initial songs to go viral were songs about struggle, about the streets, or the slums where these rappers grew. Now whatever I rap, it’s about me growing up in my middle-class Delhi life. I can’t rap about the street life and all because that won’t be genuine.”

From pros to amateurs, there are many rappers emerging here and there. As Prateek explained, there can be hip-hop artists with not an entirely ‘rags to riches’ story to rap about, but that is a sign of growth for the spread of Indian hope for all. On the other extreme, there have been rappers like Sumeet Bapsa, a native from Orissa and a student from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), whose rhymes are about his experiences as a Dalit, strongly targeted against the caste system.

Hence, the movement has just started and a movie like ‘Gully Boy’ is a welcome start. Sabka time aayega!


Image Credits: Amba Cinema

Shaurya Singh Thapa

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