Movie Review – Gully Boy

TL;DR – A story about finding your voice through rap in the slums of Mumbai hits just about every beat perfectly.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a scene over the first part of the credits

Gully Boy. Image Credit: Excel Entertainment.

Review

It has been a while since I have watched a movie about becoming a music superstar that had any kind of weight and substance behind it. Usually, they are content just to ride on the fact that people know the music very well, and as long as you drop those classic songs every now and again people will lap it up. Today we get to look at a film that doesn’t just rest on its laurels and call it a day, it instead focuses deeply on what it is to come from nothing and try to make it in a very competitive world.  

So to set the scene, we open in Mumbai, India, specifically the Dharavi slums on the outskirts of the city, and we start immediately in a moment of tension when Aftab (Vijay Raaz) brings home a second younger wife, much to the annoyance of both Murad (Ranveer Singh) and his mother Razia (Amruta Subhash). Murad is working hard at school, working hard on keeping his relationship with Safeena (Alia Bhatt) on the quiet, but he has a real passion for rap. In his quiet time, he watches videos on YouTube and works on his own lyrics. However, he doesn’t have the confidence to take it to the next level, which is when MC Sher (Siddhant Chaturvedi) gives him the push he needs.

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Movie Review – Padmaavat (Padmavati, पद्मावती)

TL;DR – A fascinating but also a quite difficult film, great acting, but only one-dimensional characters, with a very mixed ending

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – No

Padmaavat

Review

So back in 2017, I pushed myself to go see more non-western films and while it was a laudable goal, it didn’t pan out as much as I would have liked. Well, 2018 is a new year, and so let’s take another stab at this, and well there was no better place to start than with one of the most controversial films I have seen since maybe The Interview (see review). A leading politician in India demanded people assault the director, sets have been burnt down, death threats have been made, even riots at screenings and well some people have really got to understand what the Streisand Effect is. Now before we get into the film review proper I did want to preface this review with a couple of provisos, for better or worse I am approaching this film as an outsider, as I am a white guy who is not a practitioner of any of the religions depicted nor a decedent of any of the ethnic groups in this film. Now this means that I am likely missing a lot of the historical and cultural contexts that the film is using as shorthand. But also, I have no particular want to see one side viewed in a certain way, so impartial external observer and what not. So let’s dive into probably one of the more interesting films I have seen recently, for good and bad reasons.

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