Will Ranveer Singh’s rap film Gully Boy strike a chord like musical trendsetters Rock On, Aashiqui 2?

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Will Ranveer Singh’s rap film Gully Boy strike a chord like musical trendsetters Rock On, Aashiqui 2?

Bollywood is known for its musicals. One of the biggest musical blockbusters from the era gone by is Mughal-e-Azam. This was followed by Hum Aapke Hain Kaun in the 90s. Then in the new millennium, Love Aaj Kal and Cocktail are two of the biggest musical successes.

However, none of these films was centered around music and the songs were merely instrumental in taking the story forward; they weren’t a part of the story in itself. However, there are a select few films that have music as an integral element of the film with the protagonist playing the role of a musician or a singer.

Remember Disco Dancer? The Mithun Chakraborty-starrer introduced disco in its complete form and the musical success was followed by countless such flicks.

One can well expect Ranveer Singh’s rap act in Gully Boy to find quite a few follow-up affairs. This is the first time ever in Bollywood that a film with underground rap as an integral element is being made for a commercial audience. No wonder, director Zoya Akhtar has set a new record with an astonishing 18 songs in the soundtrack.

That pretty much decimates the record that was set by Hum Aapke Hain Kaun which had boasted of 14 songs.

Coming back to Gully Boy, it is a quintessential musical as Ranveer Singh plays an underground rapper emerging from a poor lower class family. The target would be to do better business than Varun Dhawan’s ABCD – Any Body Can Dance 2 which too was a dance musical. The film’s songs didn’t quite find a cult status but then Remo D’Souza’s direction along with dance tracks by Varun Dhawan, Prabhu Deva and Shraddha Kapoor made sure that the dance musical genre was well acknowledged and appreciated, especially since the effort was in 3D.

As for Zoya Akhtar, she would be looking at breaking the records at home with the target of bettering the success of her brother Farhan Akhtar’s Rock On. The film’s songs seemed to strike a different chord and this experimental music worked for the film as its music emerged as a cult success. Unfortunately, this success didn’t replicate with the film’s sequel but when it comes to the original, it is still fondly remembered.

There have been flops in this genre too. Not many would know, but the emerging star Vicky Kaushal had actually made his commercial debut with a film called Zubaan. The 2015 release had as many as a dozen songs. Unfortunately, except for a couple of songs, the rest didn’t really make much of an impression. Vicky played an emerging singer in the film who combined folk with rock and Sufi but the attempt went unnoticed.

Even big guns have failed in the past when they tried to bring in a different musical experience for the audiences. How many would remember that Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn had actually come together for a film called London Dreams where they had played rockstars no less? The film showed the journey of two simpletons from Punjab finding an entry all the way in Wembley to perform as rockstars. Neither the songs covered any distance nor did the film, hence turning out to be a major commercial disappointment.

On the other hand, Aashiqui 2 brought in a different dimension to music when it was released back in 2013. There were as many as ten songs in there and each one turned out to be a chartbuster finding dozens of imitations in the half-decade that has followed. Till date, there is an ‘Aashiqui genre of songs’ that one finds in many a film, something that has kept this Aditya Roy Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor flick alive. Both the actors played singers in this musical romantic drama.

The film was actually following up on its predecessor Aashiqui that had set the template for musicals for a good decade and a half. Rahul Roy played a singer in this film and each of the ten songs in there has maintained a cult status for almost 30 years now.

Ditto for other 90’s successes like Dil Toh Paagal Hai and Taal. The Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Karisma Kapoor-starrer was a dance musical and the songs in the Yash Chopra directed flick justified the genre. On the other hand, Subhash Ghai experimented with A.R. Rahman for the music of Taal where Aishwarya Rai played a performer and Anil Kapoor a musician. The success of the films can be measured by the popularity of the songs even today.

In this aspect, Ranbir Kapoor has seen mixed luck in two of his films. Though his Rockstar didn’t cover much of a distance as a film, his call for ‘Sadda Haq’ is still a campus favorite. On the other hand, Jagga Jasoos attempted a different grammar of filmmaking through 20 odd songs. Sadly, the end result didn’t really reach the audiences.

Ironically, music was not really the strong point of Aamir Khan’s musical Secret Superstar which told the tale of an emerging teenager artist. The film came and went in India, though surprisingly Chinese audiences gave it a blockbuster welcome.

Now Ranveer Singh must hope that when he introduces a new genre of music with Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy, audiences horde theatres to give it a blockbuster welcome. If that indeed happens, there could well be a new genre that may emerge as a trendsetter.

Images are for reference only.Images gathered automatic from google.All rights on the images are with their original owners.

2019-02-03 05:50:19

Images are for reference only.Images gathered automatic from google.All rights on the images are with their original owners.

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