Yes, a recipe for a Zoya Akhtar film – Philosopher protagonist, a journey or a struggle story, Javedsaab’s amazing poetry or analysis of life & the world, the rich people’s lifestyle – the last one changed to filthy roads & slums of Dharavi keeping the rest intact…
The story is quite predictable from the trailer; Ranveer is a slumdog who aspires to be a successful Rapper and achieves it in the end. But how do you prove the success of a Rapper in India? Should he get his first album sponsored? Or a chance to sing in a Hindi film? But all that is done in other films so we show him being selected for the start of a concert by an International star, duh!
The film seems to have the idea from Secret Superstar, the stage performances inspired from Rock On, Mumbai diary shots inspired from Dhobi Ghat and Dharavi from Bhoothnath returns & journey of a poor boy from Iqbal with the typical unsupportive & regressive father angle.
While watching you get a few highs and then again back to the lows with story diversions to stealing cars (Struggle story – check), Slum kids involved in drug smuggling (social message – check), Breakup with Alia & reuniting with a kiss (Romance angle – check) and the best thing coming in the climax – the song Apna Time Aayega (Last catharsis – check). Honestly, this one looks more for film festival appreciations & then some typical formulas applied to make it a hit commercially.
The plusses have Ranveer Singh at the top (Fir Cha Gaya – Bhai hard hai), the song ‘Apna time Aayega’ & ‘Azadi’ for its lyrics (suno aur samjho) and the rap battle sequence by Ranveer in the audition. Storywise Alia’s character could have been avoided & the audiences would only miss some added humour. A few people support Ranveer’s character unconditionally (despite being a competition) for no great reason which causes disinterest. Also, some of the raps & rap battles are annoying. The poverty, the misogyny, the struggle, the smooching scenes make you feel bored at times & saturated with repetitions.
Overall would say go only if you are a diehard Ranveer fan else watch it when it comes on Amazon Prime.
Verdict – 2.5** on 5