Why the hype around Gully Boy is justified

Why the hype around Gully Boy is justified

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Gully Boy, releasing 14 February 2019

The first look of Zoya Akhtar’s upcoming flick Gully Boy has been released a week ago and people can’t stop talking about it. Gully Boy is a coming-of-age movie based on the independent hip-hop music scene in Mumbai which has produced several talented rappers in the recent years. Owing to the fact that the movie traces the trajectory of the Indie music movement, it is not surprising that the central characters in the film are some of the most successful rappers coming from the scene including Naezy and Divine.

The movie stars Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt (currently dating a non-Bollywood celebrity), Kalki Koechlin, Vijay Varma, as important characters. It is directed by the talented Zoya Akhtar and has been co-produced by Zoya Akhtar’s Tiger Baby and Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani’s Excel Entertainment.

Ranveer Singh body transformation for Gullyboy
Ranveer Singh is being praised for his body transformation

The Independent Music Industry

In this country, music is synonymous with Bollywood in the popular imagination. While there are thousands of talented Indie artists creating superb music, only the music endorsed by Bollywood sees a good amount of financial success. These musicians, bred in the suburban neighborhoods of the country, tackle issues of great importance in their music instead of the redundant yet profitable theme of romantic love. For the rappers of the slums of Mumbai, poverty, crime, corruption, and hardship prevalent in their society is material enough for their music. Musical competence does not translate into financial success in Bollywood dominated India, and naturally, a long period of time had to elapse before mainstream media took notice of them. 

Vivian Fernandes, better known among fans as Divine, is among the few musicians with a recording contract with a major record label. These days he’s busy working with various Bollywood figures, but his journey has been long and tough. Naved Shaikh aka Naezy is another rapper from Mumbai who has seen some financial and critical success. Both of them are from the gullies of Mumbai and their experiences as youths growing up in the underprivileged section of the society are reflected in their music. These two rappers have been reported as the central characters in the movie Gully Boy.

The rappers Divine and Naezy
Rappers Divine and Neazy

“Gully boy” is a catchphrase created and popularized by Divine. It is at the same time an acknowledgment and affirmation of the fact of being an inhabitant of a slum. The word is a vindication of the identity of a slum dweller and has inspired thousands of young working-class boys and girls trying to make it in life.


The fact that a movie is being made about this is a big deal for mainly two reasons. Firstly, successful people from the underprivileged section of the society need to be represented realistically. Most movies based on real-life stories fail to portray the dirty politics of life and resort to over-dramatization where the Hero must have an eventful romantic life. The independent musicians have long been the victims of monopolization of the music industry by Bollywood, which is one of the reasons why kids hesitate to choose music as their career. The story of Vivian, Naezy, and the other characters can inspire a generation of aspiring musicians if told the right way, and judging from the filmmaking record of Zoya Akhtar and the producing house Excel Entertainment, the hype is justified.

Promotion of Indie Music

The movie can be a turning point for the Indie music industry. Until now, people have kept their doors closed for street-bred musicians, but GullyBoy can help establish Indie as a formidable genre in the popular imagination. It’s impractical to believe that it’ll change Indie music’s status overnight, but it’s uplifting to think of it as the begging of something new.

How will Gully Boy evolve?

There’s enough time for us to speculate about Gully Boy as it won’t be released until Valentine’s day, 2019. We’ll keep you updated about any new developments regarding the movie. Let us know what you think about the movie in the comments below.

P.S.- You might wanna read: Gully Boy Review – An Underdog Story Told Through Rap ➔

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About the author

Chinmoy Saikia

Chinmoy Saikia is an aspiring writer from Guwahati. Currently based in Delhi, he divides his time between worrying about climate change and playing heavy metal music on his guitar. Feel free to contact him through his social channels.

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