Gully boy3 mins 182 3 mins 182
After a long time, there has been a mainstream Hindi cinema, which is high on content and craft. Gully Boy, was not a mere underdog story or a coming-of-age drama – it touched upon many sensitive issues from patriarchy to poverty.
It is difficult to just pick one scene, and with great difficulty, I have come down to two of my favourites for this answer. Interestingly, both these scenes correspond to the protagonists breaking their façade and opening up:
1. Safeena opening up to her parents
Safeena (Alia Bhatt) has an interesting character arc – she starts off as a possessive girlfriend who pounces on other girls who hit on her man. What could have been a clichéd one-tone character, is layered well by the intelligent writing. We are shown glimpses of how Murad is her refuge – she says he lets her be herself. We are shown of the conservative and protective environment in which she lives – almost feeling claustrophobic. Her claustrophobia, insecurities and the urge to break free bottle her up and finally explode in a powerful scene, where she admits her misadventures to her parents. After a straight-faced bottle attack on Sky (Kalki Koechlin), Safeena is taken home and she breaks down. Her demands are basic, which feel like every girl’s right – she wants to hang-out with her friends, party once in a while and dress up like every girl her age. She craves freedom. This elicits a sharp reaction from her mother (Sheeba Chaddha), who beats while her father looks on, without protest.
This scene, for me, is the closure that Safeena’s character required. When she beats up other people, we wonder if it is only bad temper. It is in this scene that we actually understand that for Safeena, physical abuse is probably a language at home. It also explains the freedom that she refers to Murad – the freedom to be absolutely normal. Her ill-tempered, possessive nature is just the bottled-up frustration and this scene beautifully explains the same.
2. Murad’s conversation with his father before the final round of Rap Battle
Murad (Ranveer Singh) starts off as a timid and shy boy, scared of his father, Aftab Ahmed’s (Vijay Raaz) rage. As his music starts getting appreciated, his confidence gets a gradual boost. The first instance of his revolt against his oppressive father is when he raises his voice and overpowers Aftab, to prevent him from beating his mother. This was an impulsive reaction, but it gave Murad the much-needed courage to leave his father’s home and the burden of living at his mercy. I like the scene in the end, for two major reasons – his father drops his arrogance and Murad draws enough confidence to pursue what he firmly believes in.The scene opens with Murad’s mother (Amruta Subhash) reprimanding him for coming late and keeping his father waiting. Despite her husband abandoning her, she continues to give her husband an undeserving importance. Aftab starts his conversation in his usual intimidating tone, but Murad retorts aggressively saying, ‘Ab koi bahar wala mujhe bataega ki mai kya hai?’ (Will an outsider tell me who I am?) The tables have turned now. Murad can no longer be put down. A shocked Aftab realises this and changes his demeanour – he is now emotional and lays earnest pleas. While changing his clothes, Murad makes his father question his own idea of dreaming. He effectively tells his father (and the viewers) that dreams are not tied to one's class and only aiming higher than one's means, will make them achieve it. Truly, a moving scene that stays with you.