Gully Boy: Exclusive Movie Review By A Teen

Ranveer Singh effortlessly, emotively portrays Murad and his journey from a ghetto to rap star greatness. A layered plot and an able supporting cast are extras. Immerse yourself in gritty 'gully' rap!

By Vanshika Devuni Kalanidhi  • 8 min read

Gully Boy: Exclusive Movie Review By A Teen
Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt in Gully Boy (Pic courtesy: The movie's Facebook page)

People are always baffled when I tell them I want to pursue Arts when I grow up, rather than Science or Math. Generally, it is believed that pursuing a Science or Math degree will get you better jobs and they say I’m ‘wasting my talents’ taking Arts. For that reason, I relate to this movie completely. Gully Boy is about a boy from the streets who dreams big and has the guts to pursue it. Although my struggle isn’t related to rapping (since I’m not cool enough to be a rapper!), I feel like this movie portrays the rigid expectations set by society in a fresh, new concept.

The story line

Murad (Ranveer Singh) is a collegegoer who lives in the Dharavi slums of Mumbai. His life is filled with struggles for space in his small shack where he lives with his father, mother, brother and grandmother. His father's second wife also lives with them. Murad struggles to make ends meet, to find a job, retain a job, to find space to kiss his girlfriend (Safeena, played by Alia Bhatt). Every day, life reminds him of his poverty, the dark existence in the slums, the insults and the put downs. He chances upon a group of rappers and realises that he can put his music sense and poetry to better use by rapping. A hobby turns into a profession and he gets into the league of top rappers in the country. Before he makes it big, he has to survive a breakup, a police case (for stealing cars), rescue his mom from being abused by his dad and almost ends up losing his job.

Follow your heart

There are several movies in Bollywood about living your best life instead of doing what is told. But, the movie director Zoya Akhtar, brings out this message in a new relatable way to youngsters like me in India. Almost everyone in my school loves listening to music or watching movies. I know fellow students who want to be singers, dancers, artists or actors. Sadly, these unorthodox dreams get crushed by their parents. Many parents believe that abstract jobs don’t make a difference in the world. So, it is wonderful to see a movie where this problem is tackled head-on. Also, the movie takes on topics like child labour, domestic abuse, the rich-poor divide and the beauty standards that exist in our society.

A spectacular cast

Murad's journey from a street boy to a cult rapper, Gully Boy, proves that passion and a regular job can go hand in hand. Ranveer portrayed Murad spectacularly. He emotes beautifully (like in the scenes when he has problems at home and shuffles awkwardly on to the stage). There is a sadness in his eyes and yet, also a burning desire to succeed. Small instances like when he tries to listen to a rapper at an upmarket party and the bouncer gently chides him for crossing the line; or when he sees that someone's spare bathroom is bigger than his entire house, really touch your heart.

In my opinion, there's one thing we can all agree on with this movie — ALIA BHATT IS AWESOME! She played Safeena with a whole lot of spunk. I loved her smart and snarky dialogues (like the famous ‘mar jayega tu’ line). Her character was written phenomenally well and she didn’t fall into any stereotypes. She was bold, witty and knew her priorities. Other notables from the able supporting cast include Jyoti Subash (Murad’s grandmother), Siddanth Chaturvedi (Sher) and Vijay Raaz (Shakir) — emotive performances. 

The director, cameramen and crew have done a great job showcasing life in Dharavi, the place where the people outnumber the walls. The sets look authentic and the extras captured the vibe of slum dwellers perfectly. I liked the bit where they shot their music video. Special mention must be made of the lyricists for the epic burns used in the rap battles. I liked the line “Sher ka pala kutta hai tu” or something along those lines. Apna time aayega is bound to be a chart buster for a long time to come. It is already on my loop and I am getting addicted to those lines...

Taakat ki hai, aafat ki

Himaakat ki, ibaadat ki

Adalat yeh hai chahat ki

Mohobbat ki, amaanat ki

The only problem I had with this film was that the dialogues contained too much Mumbai tapori slang. I could understand bits and pieces, but it is difficult for non-Hindi-speakers. My mom also complained about "...Too much smooching for a Bollywood movie!" But, I didn’t have a problem with that since I watch a bunch of western shows where things like this are very common.

Overall, I think this movie deserves 4 stars out of 5. That being said, I think youngsters will probably enjoy the movie more as the older generation is not as familiar with rap music. I hope I find the swag and confidence to bust a rap one day.

My five takeaways from Gully Boy:

1. Follow your passion, no matter what people think.

2. It is okay to defy the expectations of your parents and teachers — if that is where your heart lies.

3. There is nothing wrong with prioritising your goals. If you really want a successful career and do not care about getting married and starting a family, that’s fine. If raising a family is more important to you than working, that’s fine too. Don’t judge others for how they prioritise their goals.

4. Anybody can be successful. With passion and practice, even poverty-stricken Murad became successful.

5. You can change the world with music, art and literature. These inspire people and help overcome hurdles.  

Also Read: Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga: Exclusive Movie Review By A Teen

The author is a writer/blogger who blogs at

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