Last Thursday, the entirety of Bombay was bustling and singing along to the songs of Gully Boy at the very aesthetic music launch of the film, powered by Bira 91. Not only did the crowd witness Ranveer Singh with his undying energy, Alia Bhatt reciting her most iconic dialogues from the upcoming film, but also performances by Divine, Naezy, and all other artists who have contributed to the film’s music. After attending trembling performances which left the crowd asking for more, here is what we have to say about Gully Boy’s music.
In the postmodern world, tainted with loss of meaning and the very breakdown of meaning's centre, we find ourselves steadily becoming comfortable with silence. As we find solace in repressing our thoughts and deepest desires in a world where expressing yourself is a punishable offense, to have a voice -- and to be able to use it -- is a luxury.
The Gully Boy soundtrack manages to make some noise in this comfortably silent world as it elucidates upon the appropriation of music as a form of protest and resistance. The diversity of human experiences comes to light through its music which would otherwise be unheard of in popular discourse.
Ranveer Singh, newest rapper in town along with many others.
Zoya Akhtar along with the enthusiastic team of fresh, raw and talented musicians blurs the clearly established binaries of subaltern and mainstream, and brings to us 'The voice of the streets' which has both literal and metaphorical significance. Divine, Naezy, along with many other musicians mark the arrival of rap culture, and use it as a medium to express their struggles, concept of freedom, and an almost anthropological portrayal of life in the ‘gullys’. Many of the songs are a satire on the politically charged up scenarios that we are all victims of, and others speak their own kinds of truth.
’Kissi ka hath nahi tha sur par
Yahaan par aaya khud ki mehnat se main
Jitni taakat kismat mein nahi
Utni rehmat mein hai' (from the song Apna Time Ayega)
Another remarkable feature about the Gully Boy soundtrack is the poetry by Javed Akhtar which is centred around themes of alienation, detachment, irony and pre-existing structures in society. It is promising, self reflective and transformative.
‘Chaltein chaltein kahin
Ek mod aata hai
Sidhe raaste se bilkul alag
Koi deewana hi hota hai
Jo udhar jaata hai’ (Poem by Javed Akhtar Ek Hi Raasta)
The vast soundtrack is an amalgamation of poems, beatboxing, raps, slow soothing songs and a few potential anthems of tomorrow. The music is relevant and needed. It is satirical in nature, rap and hip hop in essence, and fits perfectly well in our contemporary socio-cultural context. The Gully Boy jukebox is not just a collection of well composed songs, it is a gamut of narratives of oppression.
We believe in the power of music, and the power of cinema. If you find yourself humming to ‘’Apna Time Ayega” and “Azadi” and wondering if the world will change, we think it already has.
Pictures & Text Priyanshi Jain