Director- Zoya Akhtar
Writer- Reema Kagti, Zoya Akhtar, Vijay Maurya
Cast- Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Vijay Raaz,Vijay Varma
Is a musical drama and an underdog film that revolves around a man who makes it big as a rapper despite his extremely tough circumstances in life.
With a screenplay that is deftly written by two of our best film makers(Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar),and directed by Zoya, we get a superbly crafted film which is in a league of its own.
It’s a musical with a difference. First Bollywood film that introduces us to hip hop music, it has a feel of a dance movie(ABCD kind) wherein we had the shanty kids fighting it out against the privileged ones. It also has a sports drama feel wherein we often see the central character fighting a battle between harsh realities of making ends meet and following their passion. Added to that is the magical touch of Kagti and Zoya wherein they delve deep into characters, their emotions and relationships.
Murad(Ranveer) is a college going Dharavi boy who lives in a minuscule shanty, has an abusive father(Vijay Raaz)who remarries, and a doting mother(Amruta Subhash)who is disgruntled with her circumstances.
The sources of reprieve in his oppressive life are his friends, his spunky girlfriend Saifina ( Alia)who is studying medical and his poetry which he quietly pens down in gloomy moods at night.
A college fest and social media following introduces him to MC Sher(Siddhant Chaturvedi) who sees the passion in him, mentors and inspires Murad to fire his passion for poetry as a rapper.
The story goes on to tell us about his struggles and final breakthrough.
The brilliance of writing brings alive the struggles and life around characters that are superbly etched and stupendously portrayed.
Saifina, a spitfire and possessive girlfriend is otherwise a seemingly meek daughter of very conservative parents. She craves to enjoy life like all other girls her age which her parents do not allow. But that doesn’t stop her from stealing her moments.
Alia, who has time and again proved her mettle wows us this time too.
Vijay Raaz as the despicable husband and father is superb.
Amruta Subhash shines bright as the anguished wife and helpless mother.
Siddhant Chaturvedi is great as MC Sher. His character has his own struggles with an alcoholic father and family to support.
And finally,most important of all , its Ranveer who simply bowls us over with his restrained but powerful performance. The anguish, the anger, the frustration, the passion. We see a superbly subtle Ranveer after Lootera.
There are other actors who are worth appreciating like Vijay Verma as Murad’s grimy , edgy but loyal friend Moeen and Kalki as spirited music student Sky.
Jay Oza’s great cinematography captures the close up shots unrelentingly and we find Ranveer delivering brilliantly in all of them.
Mumbai ‘s underprivileged life is realistically captured bringing alive the grim picture and harsh reality.
The writers bring to fore Murad’s despondency, simmering frustration and the claustrophobic circumstances. But the good part is all that pent up frustration was shown converted to passion and perseverance to keep going.
They also portray the stark contrast between the life of underprivileged and the other side.
There are umpteen notable scenes like the one in which he measures up the washroom size that’s probably bigger than his shanty. Or when his friends are painting the town with graffiti ,what he chooses to write on the wall is “ Roti, Kapda, Makaan +Internet”.
Saifina begging her parents to let her complete her studies and Murad’s well heeled employers rebuking their daughter for not persuing higher education.
Dialogues by Vijay Maurya who also plays Ranveer ‘s uncle add to the ace screenplay.
Apart from screenplay and more than the dialogues, its lyrics of the songs( raps) that deserve accolades. They are deep, meaningful and play a huge part in conveying the anger, fire and angst of Murad.
The music and all songs have been done by a several hip hop artists including Naezy and Divine on whose life the film is loosely based.
The biggest feat that the film has accomplished is that it has introduced hip hop music as an art form to the masses.
For the first time, I found myself tapping to the groovy beats and enjoying the lyrics of a rap.
Unlike a usual underdog story, do not expect the highs that come with little victories or the adrenaline rush or glossy euphoria.
But the phenomenal story telling that gives you a virtual peep into the characters and their life simply wows you.
Score 8 on 10