The music launch of Zoya Akhtar’s upcoming Gully Boy was quite unusual for a mainstream Bollywood film. The makers held a concert with underground hip hop artists who have contributed in the music album, and of course, the act was headlined by Ranveer Singh. The televised version of the same was recently released on Amazon Prime Video.
The underground hip-hop scene in Mumbai has grown exponentially in the last few years, but for people whose knowledge of non-film music is quite limited, Gully Boy’s album is a new sound. The film’s audio jukebox was released on YouTube a few weeks ago, and while that was a nice introduction to desi hip-hop, the concert takes us backstage in prep while also showing the performances that aim to ‘change the scene’.
The concert opens with Ranveer Singh performing “Apna Time Aayega”. 10 years into Ranveer’s career, it’s no surprise that the man has electrifying energy, but somehow this energy does not gel well with a live singing performance. He takes the stage multiple times during the concert, and every single time it forces you to lower the volume because the rapping turns into yelling which eventually feels exhausting.
For the next act, underground artists including Beatraw, D-Cypher, Spitfire, DeeMC, D’evil, MC Altaf, Rahul Raahi, Nexus also join him on stage. While the crowd goes berserk, this probably was a performance that did not translate well for the cameras.
The spirit of ‘Apna Time Aayega’ (My time will come) feels prominent throughout the concert. Artists like Divine, Naezy have struggled to create a space for their music, and with a concert of this size, it sure looks like the audience, along with mainstream fans, have validated their journey so far.
There is a distinct difference when Divine takes the stage. His energy is immense, yet controlled. His personality feels humble, yet he has the aura of a gamechanger. There is a reason why Divine is treated as the poster boy of the movement, and here, you know why. Naezy, whose life story also served as an inspiration to Zoya Akhtar for the film, also puts up a performance and presents the only tracks from the evening that are not a part of the album. He also collaborates at the end with Ranveer and Divine to perform “Mere Gully Mein.”
Artists including Kaam Bhaari, Ace, Dub Sharma, MC Altaf, MC TodFod, 100 RBH, Maharya, Noxious D present their tracks from the Gully Boy album.
The concert ends with Ranveer diving into a sea of people and as he gets carried around by the hordes, you get a sense that via Bollywood, a music genre with a niche fan base has now reached the masses, which is certainly a win.
Watch this concert if you are really gung-ho about the movie. For the music fans, you are better off listening to the jukebox on Youtube.