BHUBANESWAR: The rap narrative of the nation witnessed the hegemonic domination of rappers like Badshah and Honey Singh for a long period. These rappers, while highly successful in their genres, have rarely touched a socially or politically charged theme. This narrative will certainly face stiff challenge in the upcoming rap movie Gully Boy starring Ranveer Singh.
The actor, who is in top form after the back to back successes in Padmavaat and Simbaa, would try his hand in this new genre as an underground rapper. The trailer of this movie was released Wednesday where the actor plays a plays a young man, whose only means of expressing himself in the harsh world is through rhymes.
The movie is in part based on the life and struggles of rapper Divine. The actor recently treated his fans by sharing on social media a one-minute video in which he can be seen rapping the song “Asli hip hop” from the film. Also featuring actors Alia Bhatt and Kalki Koechlin in pivotal roles, the Zoya Akhtar directorial “Gully Boy” is a film about Indian street rappers and their struggles.
Many people are comparing the movie with the 2002 movie 8 mile starring renowned Rapper Eminem. Roshni Nayak said, “Ranveer Singh is the most appropriate actor to play the role.” Odisha also has its fair share of street rappers who are doing a great job with their lyrics which espouse social problems and solutions. Orissa POST interacted with some Odisha-based rappers to delve deeper into the subject.
Many of these rappers from the state are influenced by independence revolutionaries and socially conscious hip-hop artists such as American Tupac Shakur and Oscar award winner rapper Eminem.
Big Deal alias Samir Rishu Mohanty, who had created rap works on themes such as racism he faced due to his Indo-Japanese parents, police torture and patriotism among others said, “Rapping is not established and recognised as a proper genre in India yet. However, there is a huge following of rap music. This number would surge after the release of Gully Boy.”
Sumeet Samos, a 25-year-old Dalit boy from Koraput had completed his Masters in Latin American Literature (Spanish) from Jawaharlal Nehru University. He has rapped about his experiences and anecdotes of being a Dalit in modern India through his songs. His first rap video ‘Ladai Seekh Le’ which was released last year in August elucidated the story of casteism and urged the listeners to develop powerful anti-caste narratives.
It’s quite difficult to anticipate the direction in which the movie would go. I am genuinely interested in the genre of rap that would be featured in the film. The trailer shows participation of many street artists in the movie. I would personally judge this movie by the degree to which it helps independent rap artistes.
Deepak alias D Leo, an Odia rapper settled in Bangalore, said, “I am residing in Bangalore since 2011. I work here as a driver. Rapping is something which attracted me during my stay here. Rap music is an art form where one can showcase one’s style and thought process.”
Durga Prasad Jena alias Mr D has already rendered his voice to eight rap songs such as Cuttack Ra Dahibara, Happy New year and Hum Ek Hain among others on themes such as romance, patriotism and sadness. He said, “I would try to create something based on the social themes.” Judging by the mood of rap artistes and fans, a new era in the field seems imminent.
Arindam Ganguly, OP