‘Apna Time Aayega,’ say real-life Gully Boys from across citieshttps://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/bollywood/apna-time-aayega-says-real-life-gully-boys-from-across-cities-5581475/

‘Apna Time Aayega,’ say real-life Gully Boys from across cities

The Zoya Akhtar directorial Gully Boy, based on the world of underground rappers, releases tomorrow. Before its release, indianexpress.com managed to chat with young rappers from different cities in India.

indian rappers
Young rappers from different cities in India are excited to watch Ranveer Singh Gully Boy.

Tomorrow, the world will witness Ranveer Singh as Gully Boy. The Zoya Akhtar directorial, based on the world of underground rappers, also stars Alia Bhatt. Before its release, indianexpress.com spoke with young rappers from different cities in India.

Just like the film, Mumbai’s Noor Hasan (18) was also inspired by popular stars Divine and Naezy. Sharing his story, Noor said, “I was about 16 years old when I started. I did the video “Kal Ka Superstar” just for fun. And surprisingly, it garnered more than four million views. As I wasn’t quite keen on studies, I decided to pursue my passion. While the popularity is a temptation, the privilege to express my emotions got me inclined towards rapping. Many are shocked with my clarity of thoughts at this age.”

Kolkata boy Huzaifa Reza (19), who goes by the nickname Awessum Frankie, found his calling when he was in school. He was introduced to Eminem by his cousin and that got him to pen his first song. And then there was no looking back. Huzaifa shared, “My ticket to fame was my participation in a campaign run by a radio station. The song went viral in days. I had lied to my parents while making it as I knew they will stop me. Being from an orthodox Muslim family, they did revolt against my choice of career but have now given in. I understand their concern as this profession is no less than a gamble.”

Awessum Frankie’s Ilaka rap that made him a star in his city

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While rapping can bring instant fame, Samir Rishu Mohanty (28), popularly known as Big Deal in the Bangalore circuit, has other reasons to thank his craft. He shared that he was bullied as a child, and rapping helped boost his self-esteem. Samir is also the first musician to crowdfund his first EP (extended playlist). “I had just quit my job and wanted to make a video but had no money. Also, I did not have a wide audience, just a few people who believed in me. That’s when my friend suggested that I go through crowdfunding, and I managed to rake in about 2 lakh. It was such an important milestone for me.”

We asked Samir how important is it for rappers to have a moniker. Stating that more than a name, it is important to build a brand, Big Deal said, “When I started, I was the joke of every party. People never thought rapping could become big. Now there are so many of them and that’s when branding comes in place. Every musician needs an identity and that also helps other brands to associate with them. Branding is everything in the current scenario and having a catchy name always helps.”

Big Deal’s first rap in his mother tongue Odia

And for those who do not manage to carry forward their passion for music, the door to a new career also awaits them. Hrijoy Das Kanungo, a 20-year-old from Silchar, Assam, shared with us, “Along with my music, I started vlogging as a character Shamol Da, who spoke about social issues. That led me to be spotted by a news website and now I have my own show ‘Silchar with Hrijoy’ with them. Rapping is still not a booming industry in our country. So it’s important that one broadens their horizon to be able to survive in the market. Now, thanks to the vlogs, my music is also received better.”

Hrijoy Kanunga’s rap to an iconic Bengali song

As the conversation with these youngsters steered back to Gully Boy, Noor Hassan shared, “Every underground rapper will relate to the film. It might not be the same story, but somewhere each one of us has a similar journey. I am really looking forward to the film.”

Noor Hassan’s first single that has garnered more than four million views

But for Awessum Frankie, the Ranveer Singh starrer could also cause more harm than help. “While it’s good that the film will promote underground rapping, there would also be an instant surge of musicians. Mediocre talent will also hop on the bandwagon. We will soon face the problem of many. And good talent might get lost in the crowd.”

Lastly, Big Deal shared a few pearls of advice for newer talent who are waiting to bloom. “Be real. In the current musical climate, only honest music will survive. While it’s easy to get swayed by gimmicks, stay true to your passion. Never forget that you are in the profession because you love music. Unlike popular belief, you don’t need a swanky video to get famous. If you are good, a video shot in front of a wall will also get noticed.”