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'Asli Hip-Hop': The soundtrack of 'Gully Boy' screams change and revolution

The movie boasts an 18-track album in two and a half hours of screenplay.

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Updated: Feb 16, 2019, 12.20 PM IST
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'Asli Hip-Hop': The soundtrack of 'Gully Boy' screams change and revolution
By Shashwat Kumar

Every year, around this time, there is talk of love on the streets. This time, it’s love for the streets.

Zoya Akhtar starts off 2019 with a long-awaited release, 'Gully Boy', and there is certainly a lot of bustle about it. Bollywood giants like Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt lead the film, but the centre stage is occupied by the music. While there have been quite a few movies that feature rap music, 'Gully Boy' marks the beginning of a new era in Bollywood music, a wave that’s travelled from the west- the hip hop culture. This revolution has been building in the underground music scene in India and it has finally surfaced and that too, in great fashion. Better voiced on the track “Asli Hip Hop” which rages,”…Asli hip-hop se milaye Hindustan ko”.

The Indian film industry is known for making songs that take the shape of the movie they are in. 'Gully Boy' sits on the other end of this spectrum and is in fact a film moulded around the hip-hop culture.

Indrasabha, a movie based on an Urdu play first staged in 1853 and released in 1932, holds the world record for most soundtracks in a movie (72). While that is an outrageously high number, 'Gully Boy' boasts an 18-track album in two and a half hours of screenplay, something completely unheard of in contemporary Bollywood. Intensity soars through the roof as one listens to the entire album, which screams change and revolution.

'Asli Hip-Hop': The soundtrack of 'Gully Boy' screams change and revolution

An important balance between surprising the audience and providing them with the hit of a new genre has been intricately maintained.

Groovy tracks like ‘Goriye’ will definitely have the masses dancing to these beats, while hardcore rap songs like “Kaam Bhari” keep the perspective in focus. There is finally real context to the music that we hear, something that has been amiss for a while. The emotions that play out feel more real than what the radio usually has had to offer recently.

Language flows freely through the music as we see transitions between Hindi and English in various tracks, somehow giving the feeling of acceptance that Bollywood is finally letting the western trend of hip-hop influence itself. Rap bars in the trending pop music haven’t explored wordplay at the level that a track like ‘Doori’ does, whereas ‘Azadi’ sounds like an underground rap battle with just a beat and a rapper spitting lines.

While some liberties have been taken in representing the reality of the situation in the slum culture, the film still justifies a few real struggles that most artists face. Poverty stricken areas with uneducated crowds often are not known to have the best decision-making capacities. The movie portrays the fight against what is culturally accepted, according to a father as compared to the potential a youth sees in himself. It is certainly evident that the directing team has paid attention to creative detail.


Minor things like a character named MC Sher, a word that means both tiger and poem, empowers a broken Murad into becoming the ‘Gully Boy’. Dialogs have been very carefully voiced to deliver complete impact. In a scene Murad asks a prosperous girl “Hindi nahin aata?” and she replies “Hindi aati hai, but…”, shows just how finely Vijay Maurya has combed through the script. Later in the film, you can almost hear Murad arguing with his father as if he was talking against a set meter, indicating the inculcation of rhythm into his own self.

The team behind the film had released a series called ‘Voice of The Streets’, which delves into the influences behind the making of the movie. Seven rappers from across the country, who had taken it upon themselves to influence a culture that almost didn’t exist. The whole idea of being a rapper is still very western. When was the last time you heard a

Bollywood rap song? The title track seems to be the voice of these influential underground rappers saying, “Apna Time Ayega”.

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(The author is a millennial who is pursuing his passion in music)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of www.economictimes.com.)
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