The journey of Gully Boy

The journey of Gully Boy

Gully Boy was one of the biggest hits of 2019. Directed by Zoya Akhtar and starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt in key roles, the film explored the underground hip hop scene in Mumbai. Here's a look at Gully Boy's journey to the theaters.

ranveer singh gully boy box office collection day 4
Gully Boy starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt released on February 14.

Starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, Gully Boy was one of the biggest successes of 2019. Director Zoya Akhtar had earlier revealed that she was inspired to make this film after she got interested in the underground hip hop scene in Mumbai. During the trailer launch, she shared, “I was editing Dil Dhadakne do. And my editor showed me a video of Naezy. He is a rap artiste. It was authentic desi rap, and the journey of Gully Boy started.”

Here’s a look at Gully Boy’s journey to the theaters.


Excel Entertainment announced Gully Boy with director Zoya Akhtar and lead actors Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt.

The filming began in January 2018 as the cast members shared glimpses of their first day on social media.



The film starred Ranveer Singh as a rapper. The other significant roles were played by Alia Bhatt, Vijay Varma, Vijay Raaz, Kalki Koechlin, Amruta Subhash and Siddhant Chaturvedi. Siddhant’s performance as MC Sher was widely appreciated.

gully boy stills ranveer siddhant
Siddhant Chaturvedi was applauded for his peformance as MC Sher.

Teaser launch

The 90-second teaser video introduced the lead characters and also featured Ranveer Singh’s rap.

Trailer launch

The grand trailer launch of Gully Boy was held in Mumbai amid much fanfare. Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt and director Zoya Akhtar presented the trailer alongside co-producers Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani. Since it was also producer Farhan Akhtar’s birthday, the team also cut a cake at the launch.

The team shared their experience of making the film and spoke candidly about shooting in Dharavi.

Gully Boy trailer launch
Ranveer Singh, Zoya Akhtar and Alia Bhatt launched the trailer of upcoming film Gully Boy in Mumbai. (Express Photo: Varinder Chawla)
ranveer singh with zoya akhtar
Zoya Akhtar said Gully Boy is not a biopic of Divine and Naezy but a fictional story. (Express Photo: Varinder Chawla)


Gully Boy faced some controversy after the makers released the track “Azadi.” The track was originally composed by Dub Sharma after the JNU controversy back in 2016 with the words that were uttered by Kanhaiya Kumar during the protests. There was some controversy as to how the makers were monetizing the concept of Azadi but Zoya Akhtar clarified that Azadi as a concept is bigger than everything and as far as their usage of the track was concerned, they modified the lyrics to suit the context.

The film’s actors also made a statement about being apolitical which did not go down well with viewers since the film’s core message was quite political in nature, in terms of the class structure.


The music of Gully Boy was launched at a grand event. A concert was held in Mumbai where all the artistes who participated in the creation of the album performed. Ranveer Singh also took the stage and performed. The makers released the video of the audio launch on Amazon Prime Video under the title, Gully Boy: Live in Concert.

gully boy live in concert review
The concert at the music launch of Gully Boy is available for viewers on Amazon Prime Video. (Express photo: Varinder Chawla)

The music of the film came as a breath of fresh air as it was unlike anything that the audience had heard before. The 18-track album was created by 54 musicians. The album highlighted the underground hip-hop scene in Mumbai and even though this was a mainstream Hindi film, the tracks were not Bollywood-ised in any way.

Featuring artists like Divine, Spitfire, Dub Sharma, Kaam Bhaari, Ankur Tewari and Rishi Rich among many others, the album became quite popular. “Meri Gully Mein”, “Azaadi”, “Doori” proved to be popular tracks from the album.

The underground hip-hop scene and the artists associated were quite pleased with the way Zoya Akhtar and her team had presented the music of the album.

What the stars said about Gully Boy

Ranveer Singh said, “It was the most fulfilling journey for me. Look at what has happened to Spitfire and Divine, they are such great artistes. Interacting with them in the prep workshops, working on the dialogues and collaborating with them for the music of the film has been an experience of a lifetime.” His character in Gully Boy was inspired by the lives of rappers Divine and Naezy.

gully boy song azadi ranveer singh
Ranveer Singh plays Murad in Gully Boy.

Ranveer also shared, “I swear, if there was any other actor in this teaser and it wasn’t me, I would have been burnt to a crisp. I’d be so jealous. It is Mumbai. It’s hip-hop. It is me! (laughs) It is a very special time. This year has been very special.”

alia bhatt in gully boy
Alia Bhatt played a medical student Gully Boy.

During the trailer launch, Alia Bhatt shared, “I think it has been one of my best experiences. Working with Zoya and Excel, they are such a fantastic team. They are so on point with everything. The film is so raw, it comes from the stomach to the heart. It was a crazy way.”

Critical reception

Gully Boy received a lot of critical appreciation. The Indian Express’ critic Shubhra Gupta gave the film 3.5 stars. She wrote, “In today’s India, to bring a Murad and Safeena, their Muslim-ness a matter-of-fact statement, into centre-stage, to give traction to those who live on the wrong side of the tracks, is an act of bravery. I’ll take them any day over an overused Raj-and-Raveena. ‘Inka time aa gaya’. Rap along.”

The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival before the release. The premiere was attended by Alia Bhatt, Ranveer Singh, Zoya Akhtar and producer Ritesh Sidhwani.

ranveer singh, alia bhatt, zoya akhtar at berlinale film festival
Gully Boy premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival on February 9. (Source: Ranveer Singh/Instagram)

Box office collection


Gully Boy earned Rs 140.25 crore during its lifetime run. The film earned Rs 19.40 crore on its opening day and managed to earn Rs 72.45 crore during the opening weekend.