Ranveer Singh


This article is an insight on ‘Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani’ and how it delves to the social paradigm of our country.

As I walked out of the theatre feeling that I have been called poor by Karan Johar in 3 languages I couldn’t help but wonder, are over the top popcorn flicks the one stop solution of inducting social cues in the Indian audience.
Beneath Flashy costumes and larger than life setting Rocky and Rani ki prem kahani slips in commentaries on social hierarchies and prejudices . Be it the textbook feminist Rani Chatterjee’s relentless pursuit of a ghoonghat free Randhawa palace, Rocky’s glamour doing a solid uno reverse the overt sexualization of female heroines in Bollywood or the gender no bar kathak performances, the movie does not shy away from inclusion.

One might find the rom-com a little dismissive about matters that set televisions reporters (and seemingly the nation) on fire, be it the discourse on racism , profiling of gender restrictive talents or patriarchal set ups in general. Through the clash between a stereotypical ghoonghat clad loud Punjabi family with a high end cultured Bengali intellectuals, the subtle undertone that hit was about how quick we are to dismiss notions that do not quantify well in our spectrum. For example Rocky Randhawa’s speech after Rani’s father’s classical performance is publicly shamed by the hip Punjabi audience is one for which the dialogue writer deserves a raise if not a superior mandate into any conversation that mentions the ‘woke culture’ in the Indian society . What really struck a chord in his monologue was how accurately it portrayed the cultural bias we have nurtured
through our social settings. The contemptuous outlook at everything that doesn’t resonate with our presumably superior understanding of the world deserves nothing but a dismissal followed by a grunt.

The lionising of culture contrasted with the seemingly steep curve of understanding presented a dilemma that any diversified culture would relate to. Him reiterating again and again the need to have a more comprehensive understanding of different point of views hits the bullseye in the current social climate , given that every contentious issue divides the public into three spheres where one group hold the higher ground of intellectual injunction, the other of dogmatic persistence and the third being the ones who are at this point too afraid to jump into the complex web battling information and misinformation. The fear of being ‘cancelled’ by the woke culture leaves little to no room for them to inculcate new world views, something that our protagonist seemingly struggled with through half of the movie and culminated into a quirky yet thought provoking monologue.

I’m afraid that the monologue in  Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani has done more for West Delhi gym guys than for feminism. Although the reactions to the movie can range from the audience bursting into loud ‘awws’, to scornful side eyes to the melodramatic social messages, the movie does provide a handful of insights that serve well to the ‘Dharma-tic’ audience.

Image Credits: Mint

Priya Shandilya
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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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Malik Muhhamad Jayasi of Awadh penned a poem in the sixteenth century, glorifying the beauty of Rani Padmini. She, whose existence is itself a controversial issue, did not fail to enamour the readers of the poem and the spectators of the movie through the legend of her beauty and bravery.

After many contentions to the release of the historic movie Padmaavat, it was finally showcased on the 25th of January – almost two months late after the original release date. Sanjay Leela Bhansali is an artist of great taste and has a penchant for the historical Indian royal portrayals. From Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) to Bajirao Mastani (2015), this producer and director has never failed to awe the Indian audience. This movie is one of the most expensive movies Bollywood has ever produced – with a budget of over Rupees 200 crores.

This movie, Bhansali’s magnum opus was originally titled Padmavati, after the name of the poem Padmavat by Jayasi. The title was modified as the filmmakers have attributed their creative source to the fictional poem, and not history. The existence of the events described in this poem has little authenticity. Though Alauddin Khilji had won Chittor, during that period there is no mention of any character as Padmavati in history. Historians point that not even Amir Khusrau (prolific writer of Alauddin’s court) mentioned Padmavati and the ruler’s longing for her. However, Rajputs claim the existence of Rani Padmini of Chittor.

The entire cast has been terrific throughout the movie. Ranveer Singh played the tyrannous Alauddin Khilji, Deepika Padukone portrayed Rani Padmavati, and Shahid Kapoor depicted the King of Chittor Raval Ratan Singh. From the very first look of Padmavati, Deepika portrayed feminine delicateness along with Rajput valour with finesse. The onscreen chemistry of the King of Chittor and the Rani was missing but the grandeur of the couple and their heroism while fighting the tyrannous Khilji was portrayed perfectly. Alauddin has been portrayed as the oppressive ruler who longs for Rani Padmavati after he hears about her from the traitor of Chittor, Raghav Chetan. He contrived the Rajputs to possess the beautiful Rajput queen. After the foreseen defeat of the Rajputs, Rani Padmavati and the women of Chittor commit jauhar (self-immolation) for the sake of their honour. The very last scene has been applauded by many, as the queen stepped into the burning pyre in the entrance of the fort – marking a great sacrifice in the name of the kingdom.

Despite all high alerts due to the upheavals by the Karni Sena, this movie is worth the wait and money. It is an amalgamation of considerable hard work from all the artists involved and deserves to be thoroughly appreciated.


Feature Image Credits: India

Radhika Boruah
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“Kiss free, Love free, Live free”.

Life ought to be as simple as that. And it is (or eventually becomes) for the leading couple of ‘Befikre’. But life is never this easy, frivolous and convenient. And that is probably why the narration of ‘Befikre’ seems to take a flight from reality, every now and then.  In a nutshell, there is too much intimacy, too much cliché and too much overacting in ‘Befikre’ for one to digest. Shot largely in the fabled ‘City of Love’, ‘Befikre’ grants itself the license to breezily demonstrate all forms of physical intimacy in the most blatant and unabashed fashion. The movie begins with a five minute long shot of sundry couples making out, with Parisian scenery rolling out in the background.  Don’t be fooled by these five minutes. They are integral to the movie. They very aptly set and describe the mood of the entire movie.  Because all you get in the next 175 minutes that follow are glimpses of promiscuous and amorous activities, strewn together by a weak story line. ‘Befikre’ is the love story of Dharam and Shyra. Both are wild and represent the ‘free’ spirited attitude of the youth. They share a lusty relationship which comes to its inevitable end when they fail to successfully live together and see eye-to-eye. Then they decide to become friends. Their ambiguous friendship soon blossoms into best friendship. But things get complicated when Shyra starts dating the ‘perfect man’, putting Dharam in an envious spot. Things finally spiral out of control when Shyra gets engaged to the said ‘perfect man’. Dharam’s loneliness, competitiveness, jealousy and inherent stupidity drive him to propose a random French hooker in retaliation. The bottom line:  The two protagonists are set to get married to their respective partners in a double wedding celebration on the same day. Sounds all too familiar? Then wait for the climax. Because come D-day and voila!To the shock and horror of the audience( yes, you wish!) only one wedding takes place: the matrimony of Dharam and Shyra. Surprised? Sure, if you’ve never seen a Bollywood  Yash Raj romcom. Cliché? To the point where you want to hang yourself for spending your last bit of currency on such a movie in times of a dire cash crunch. There are some mildly likeable things. Like the upbeat music, the groovy dance segments and decent cinematography. Although Vaani Kapoor steals the show, her performance gets overshadowed by Ranveer Singh’s loud, overly boisterous and unnecessarily in-your- face overacting. Unfortunately for the movie, that’s a bad thing. In all, ‘Befikre’ is the kind of movie you should watch if you have time to kill. However, if you value your time and your hard-earned money, give this one a miss. Also, if you’re a fan of Ranveer Singh, better hold your peace and wait for his next release. Because this one just might kill any (or absolutely all) of the love that you have for him.   Image Credits: www.indianexpress.com Kriti Sharma [email protected]  ]]>