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A Star Is Born

Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy is all the rage for all the right reasons. It is a movie that has become a trendsetter by bringing underground rap music into the mainstream. The narrative is powered by brilliant sound design, crisp dialogue and some strong performances by the supporting cast. Titas Chowdhury talks to debutant actor Siddhant Chaturvedi about his work in the film

On The Brief

Zoya told me that MC Sher is like a lion and a big brother. He is one of the veterans of the underground rap scene. He really understands talent. He is working for the community of underground rap musicians, of which he is also part. That is why he finds Murad, who also put, his soul into his lyrics. MC Sher mentors him selflessly.

On The Role

I was aware of the underground rap scene in Bombay. I am from this city. I had not acquired the taste for it, but I had been listening to some of the songs. The very first song I listened to was Mere gully mein, coincidentally. I was locked for the film 21 days before the shoot began. So I did not have much time to prepare. But I made the most of those 21 days. During the shoot, I started writing rap. I started going to the gym because my physique was supposed to be that of a big built guy. As part of my prep, I met the rappers and I started chilling with them. Ranveer (Singh) was also there. He is very warm and made me feel comfortable. I am 90 kgs in the film. I bulked up a lot for the role. 

Then I started internalizing my character. I started by writing about my own struggle and putting it down on paper. Basically, I started reimagining myself as a rapper. Zoya let me do my thing and then she etched out each and every nuance and that is how she made MC Sher out of me.

On The Director

Zoya is fabulous. She is so warm, generous and very patient. I think she has spoilt me for life. She is a genius. Words fail me when I try to describe her. She is very sweet, smart, witty and funny. There was not a single moment on the set when I was low. She always took care of me.

On the co-actors

Ranveer is my MC Sher in real life. He had mentored me throughout the film. He gave me immense confidence. He used to keep saying to me, ‘Bachchi, phaad raha hai… tu sher hai mera!’ He was very kind. I was a huge fan of his but after knowing him as a person, I love him even more.

On The Response

People have been very loving and appreciative. My followers have gone up exponentially, especially my female fans (Chuckles). It used to be 60 per cent men and 40 per cent women. Now it is 80 per cent women and 20 per cent men! Women are taking over now. The men are calling me bhai. So there is also a lot of bromance. I am glad everything worked out well.

We were at the screening at Yash Raj Studios. Katrina Kaif came out of the screening and she said to me, ‘Oh my God, you are so cute!’ That is a compliment because she was expecting me to be huge. She was like, ‘What! You are a baby!’ she was even more surprised when she came to know that it was my first film.

Future Projects

I have no projects right now. In fact, I have not even begun to start reading scripts. I have some meetings to attend, but I am looking for something very solid, content-oriented and challenging. I look forward to doing a conventional commercial film because I am a huge Govinda fan. Both Ranveer and I understand that masala genre. I hope something comes my way that is entertaining and large-scale. There are so many things to achieve.

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