I caught up with Gully Boy for the second time in two weeks yesterday and discovered new layers to it. Almost every scene is a deliberate, elaborate canvas to a young man's reluctant, undying passion for rap and hip-hop. This is no one-time watch, though nothing can ever match the exuberance, freshness and addictive vibe of a first time Gully Boy viewing.
Mirror to India's poor: When was the last time you saw India's poor highlighted in popular Hindi cinema? They were nowhere to be seen. Several Hindi movies just breeze over the pain of earning a living. Zoya Akhtar brings home their plight with great sensitivity and empathy, never falling into the trappings of self-pity or overemphasized pro-poor statements.
Murad's defeated eyes: A Hindi film hero with defeated, subdued eyes? Yes, Ranveer Singh's Murad sinks into our consciousness with a shy, uncertain, soft-spoken persona, and one so low in self-confidence that he can't bring himself to sing his own poem before an audience. A vulnerable, earthy, impoverished and subdued underdog hero my audience heartbeat for all through. Yes, poverty is the worst form of violence.
Turbulent, achingly real love story: Two childhood friends growing up to be fiery lovers over nine years, with an almost militant, possessive spirit in the girl who bashes up potential female lovers is simply awesome. As fresh is Safina's (Alia Bhatt) stand on promiscuity in a relationship.
Etched out characters: Clearly, no role is too small or insignificant for Zoya Akhtar, just have a look at the careful casting. There is satisfying literature built around every character, irrespective of screentime. Except for Sky's (Kalki Koechlin) half-there character, everything else sticks.
Minimal editing works wonders: To curb in the editing ends up as the film's greatest strength. Scenes flow without snips or abrupt, swift ends. Clearly, the sheer quality of every filmed minute is so immersive and telling, leaving out the editing scissors adds degrees to the impact Gully Boy makes on the audience.