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Monday, February 18, 2019

Movie Music Monday: The street sounds of Gully Boy, real vs. reel life

Film Flam Flummox

Zoya Akhtar's hip-hop music drama Gully Boy is inspired by the real lives of Indian rappers Naezy and Divine, and while she and co-writer Reema Kagti do not directly retell the pair's actual stories, real and reel lives converge at a crucial moment in the film where their 2015 viral hit "Mere Gully Mein" ("In My Street") is recreated. The song and the making of its video occurs in the film at a similar juncture in the Naezy-inspired lead character Murad's (Ranveer Singh) career as an Internet-driven, game-changing breakthrough. More important from Akhtar's storytelling perspective, however, are the broader thematic parallels. As propulsive and infectious as it is musically--after all, it's easier to use an existing earworm than to attempt to create an original one--lyrically it also reinforces the film's key message of giving voice to the too-often-overlooked urban reality for many in India and, most importantly, celebrating the vibrant, living community that fuels both the central character's and his real life model's art.

Here is the original video by Divine featuring Naezy:

Here is the number as it appears in Gully Boy, with Singh gamely providing his own vocals. His co-star, charismatic newcomer Siddhant Chaturvedi, lipsynchs vocals provided by Divine:

As a bonus, here is Bombay 70, director Disha Noyonika Rindani's award-winning 2014 documentary short subject on Naezy:

Gully Boy is now playing in cinemas in North America, India, and worldwide.

Buy the "Mere Gully Mein" MP3 here.

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