'Taraazu ke bas do thaal hain, Ek ore hum dooje mein khwaab hain,' these lines aptly describe Murad's (Ranveer) life in Zoya Akhtar's Gully Boy. Amongst all the chaos, the young man finds his voice in street rap. Just like his name, Murad 'desires' to make his passion his profession. But the journey isn't a bed of roses. Especially when one has to swim against the tide of social disparity and class divide.
In one of the most striking scenes in the film, we see Murad chauffeuring a sobbing elite girl. While he catches a glimpse of her in his rear-mirror wanting to console her, Javed Akhtar's poetic lines, 'Tumse humdardi bhi nahi kar sakta main, Mere bas ki baat nahi hai, Main yeh bahte aansu pochun, Utni meri aukaat nahi hai' perfectly mirrors his feelings and leaves you with a lump in the throat.
Murad lives in a match-box size tenement with his dysfunctional family in Dharavi. When his abusive father brings home a second wife, his mother vents out her helplessness and frustration as she struggles to come to terms with the 'new' woman who is not much older than Murad.
The only ray of sunshine in Murad's life are his pals and his volatile girlfriend Safeena (Alia Bhatt) who doesn't shy away from admitting, 'Mere boyfriend se gulu gulu karegi toh dhoptuingi hi na usko' when it comes to keeping other girls away from pursuing her beau.
While Safeena may come across as a strong-headed personality, beneath her hijab, she's a girl who longs to do simple things like 'going out with her friends, talking to boys and wearing a lipstick' without any parental fear.
Meanwhile, Murad ocassionally takes to scribbling few lines when his angst and emotions need to be set free. Soon, his potential is discovered by a rapper Emcee Sher (Siddhant Chaturvedi) who advises him, "Tere andar ka lava phat ke bahar aane de." When Murad meekly expresses his doubt over his rapping in front of public, he tells him, "Agar duniya mein sab comfortable hote toh rap kaun karta?"
As time passes by, Murad explores the 'cheer phad' rapper in him with the help of Sher and a Berkeley music student Sky (Kalki Koechlin) and becomes 'Gully Boy'. But like one of the songs in Gully Boy puts it up, 'Jeevan jeevan dariya dariya, ek jo paar karo doosra dariya mile.'
With Gully Boy, Zoya Akhtar has a winner in her hand. Her deft direction sails this boat smoothly and makes it an enjoyable ride with an universal appeal. The filmmaker who is known for her elite, urban stories dares to explore the other side this time and doesn't disappoint.
On the flip side, Gully Boy stretches a tad bit at places but that does no major harm to the film. Also, Murad's track with Sky doesn't add much flesh to the story.
Speaking about the performances, Ranveer Singh's stellar act will make you say, 'bhai, tere jaisa koi hardich nahi hai'. As Murad, he aces every single emotion and leaves you rooting and cheering.
'Chalte chalte kahin ek mod aata hai, seedhe raaste se bilkul alag, Koi deewana hi hota hain jo udhar jaata'. Ranveer plays that deewana who refuses to let the outer world define his identify. Just like his reel self, the actor has been ambitious and rebellious when it comes to his choice of films in recent times and that has worked highly in his favour.
Alia Bhatt perfectly complements Ranveer in Gully Boy. You won't be able to shake off her explosive performance and terrific punchlines from your head. This girl is a complete revelation in every frame.
Sidhant Chaturvedi is the discovery of this year. He's a Sher who roars loudly with a confident debut and at times, even steals the scene from Singh.
The supporting actors- Vijay Varma, Kalki Koechlin, Amruta Subhash, Vijay Raaz , Vijay Maurya put up a good show.
Jay Oza's len's perfectly captures the Mumbai ghettos on screen and breathes life in them. Nitin Baid's editing is crisp .
In Gully Boy, the music and lyrics play a major character and lends layers to Zoya Akhtar's narratives. Ranveer was born to rap and this film is a proof.
'Kaun Bola, Mujhse Na Ho Payega?' For those who fear to pursue their dreams, Ranveer Singh & Co. in Gully Boy are an inspiration to make their hearts whisper, 'Apna time aayenga!' I am going with 4 stars.