Film and media is one of the most effective ways to portray a message to the general public, especially in this generation. Recently, I watched the Bollywood Film ‘Gully Boy’ (translates to street boy), which focuses on the story of a man from the slums who finds a passion for music and fights to achieve his goals. Throughout his journey different social issues are presented in a manner that really allows the viewer to question the separation between genders, social classes, and personal dreams. Without giving too much away, I’d like to highlight three aspects of the film that captured my attention and set this movie apart from all other Bollywood films I’ve seen in the past.
The Liver Transplant Comment
Like almost every other society, the role of the Indian woman is most commonly defined by mother, wife, daughter, and housekeeper. Traditionally, women are expected to, most importantly, be able to cook for their husbands and their families. However, the movie ‘Gully Boy’ pushes the boundaries and introduces a female character who is more interested in her medical career than in playing the traditional role of a woman. When asked if she knows how to cook, the girl calmly responds “No, but if everything goes well I can do your liver transplant some day.” This simple comment alone, challenges traditional expectations of women and shows support for the women who have different dreams or goals.
2. The Emphasis on Limits That Exist Because of Social Constructs
Like many other communities, there is a stark and very visible line between the poor and the wealthy in India. According to the Washington Post, a recent study shows that India has about 70.6 million people living in poverty and is number two on the list of countries with the most poor people in the world. And while the Indian government is taking steps towards eradicating the poverty, the greatest divide often exists in the people themselves. The movie puts forth the argument that just because someone is born into a poorer family it doesn’t meant they’re any less capable than someone born wealthy. It just means that they have less opportunity because of the way that society has structured itself. The protagonist Murad, played by Ranveer Singh, validates this message many times during the movie and finally announces that he will ‘change [his] reality to match [his] dream.”
3. The songs!!
The storyline of the movie itself was about a rapper from the Gully (streets) who had a dream to make it big. The songs in the movie were so unique! The messages were so powerful and inspiring and they focused not only on different social issues that exist in India, but also encouraged people to go out and chase their dreams! The songs weren’t presented in the popular, lavish way that often exists in other Bollywood films. Instead the presentation was simple, eye-opening and extremely meaningful.
I applaud the team of the movie for releasing such a well thought-out film. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I suggest you do. And if you have seen it and would like to share your favorite things about the film please feel free to drop a comment! (no spoilers please!) I love hearing from you and am super excited about this movie and the way they use music to portray the important messages they wanted to send to the public. 100% recommended!