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Gully Boy trailer: Zoya Akhtar goes gritty with Ranveer Singh as rapper in coming-of-age story

Singh and Alia Bhatt transport you to the gullys of Mumbai's slums, where hip hop is treated as serious business.

Suparna Thombare

The rap battle at the beginning of the Gully Boy trailer sets a solid tone for what to expect from the film. The scene takes you back to Eminem's 8 Mile (2002), where a misfit, an aspiring rap singer, goes silent when he gets the first opportunity to participate in the battle, but comes back with a vengence later.

And the opening shot of the trailer is a bird's eye view of Kurla's massive slums, instantly transporting you to the world the film is set in.

Yes, the film's going to take us down the gullys or the lanes and bylanes of a metropolitan city. And yes, the story will be weaved together by lots and lots of hip hop. But that's where the comparisons between the two films should end.

Zoya Akhar's Gully Boy is pitched as the coming-of-age story of a boy from the slums of Mumbai, who is passionate about hip hop and wants to use it to express himself. He dreams big despite the tough circumstances.

Loosely based on the life of Divine (Vivian Fernandes) and Naezy (Naved Shaikh), underground homegrown rappers from Mumbai streets who went on to become stars, Gully Boy walks into a territory unexplored by Hindi cinema so far.

More interestingly, Akhtar, who is known for telling the stories of the affluent class through travels in Europe [Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)] or an international cruise [Dil Dhadakne Do (2015)], gets down and dirty by telling a gritty tale of a passionate man fighting to make a name for himself. Will she be able to do justice to a world that's not usually associated with her style of filmmaking? The trailer does promise so.

We see Singh as a young man, who is forced to follow in his father's (Vijay Raaz) footsteps and become a driver. But he has faith that destiny has more in store for him. "Apna time ayega," he says.

Alia Bhatt, playing a fiesty Muslim girl, steals the show with just two dialogues. 'Dhoptoungi na usko' and 'liver transplant' will be dialogues remembered years down the line. And needless to say another top class Bhatt performance seems to be on its way.

The film also stars Kalki Koechlin and Amruta Subhash.

Every scene and dialogue in the trailer is interspersed by Singh's confident rapping, which will be a thread connecting the various other elements in the film. The rap will be what sets this underdog story apart.

Gully Boy will have its world premiere at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival, which will run from 7 to 17 February.

Produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani, the film will be out in theatres on 14 February.

Watch the trailer below:

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Trailer review