Why I feel Ranveer Singh's 'Asli Hip Hop' from 'Gully Boy' is absolutely Divine!
Divine is no Wordsworth. But his words are worth noticing. That is, if you can look at it sans the trappings of your Hindi cinema music knowledge.
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There comes a moment in everyone’s life when they are introduced to a Thesaurus — a world beyond dictionaries. And you realise that you can choose between five different words to express the same emotion. So intoxicating is that feeling that one tends to always go for the longest, most complicated words to express the simplest emotions.
Just ask a sesquipedalian Shashi Tharoor who gave the nation a collective ‘hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia’!
Aside from being a deskie’s biggest nightmare — for how do you fit a word like hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia in the headline — what ‘big words’ often lack, according to me, is the simplicity that actually connects.
And the proof lies in how ‘hip hop’ and ‘rapping’ as a genre of music emerged and went on to become popular.
When Ranveer Singh released his Asli Hip Hop, from his upcoming film Gully Boy, the question staring us in the face was just that — is this really ‘shayari’, as he refers to it in the second line of his rap, or just stupid?
Khada hoon kaise main yahan pe ab na puchhna
Dard shayari mein tujhko chahiye saboot kya
Sikhar yeh soch par juda hoon main zameen se
Yakeen tumko na par aage aaya main yakeen se
Lakh nafratein hon sath maa ka pyar hai
Hansi hai uski jeet meriKaise jaaun haar main
Kaat lo zuban, aasuon se gaaunga
Gaad do beej hoon main, ped ban hi jaunga
Gully Boy is the story of the first true desi hip hop icon — Divine — who raps about his life on the streets exactly how he lived it.
His songs are not that far removed in style and technique from what you’d hear a Drake or an Eminem sing. In content, however, they’re continents apart.
When the voice of the streets speak the lingo of the streets. (Source: Gully Boy/Twitter)
Now, I may be biased, and if you’re a Divine fan, you need no convincing that Vivian Fernandez’s (his real name) rise to fame is no divine stroke of luck. But to put it in perspective for the non-believers, Divine’s Kaam 25 number for Netflix’s Sacred Games has clocked in close to 99, 40,197 views on his YouTube channel, while the same song shared from the Netflix handle has 80,31,874 views, even though it was released first by Netflix. These are Divine’s dedicated fans, who feel a real connection with the underground rap movement that Divine pioneered. One beat at a time.
Dil tha tuta tab hip hop mere sath tha
Ujaale milne mein mujhe
Haan raat ka hi hath tha
Kalakaar main, kal ko aakar doon
Yehi hai mera dharm
Meri doosri koyi jaat na
Maa hai rab meri
Gully yeh meri mashooka
Ladka aida main jhukane pe bhi na jhuka
Sunn rahe jo mujhko beshumar pyar unse
Banata geet main
Par main khud bana hoon tumse
The Gully Boy Asli Hip Hop too is attuned with Divine, and what he stands for.
The lyrics, though these might appear plebeian, even pedestrian at times, come with a message so hard-hitting that it doesn’t need the nuances of Urdu or the sharpness of shuddh Hindi to pierce your heart. It can be blunt, yet thrust its weight on your heart and mind.
When music connects. (Source: Gully Boy/Twitter)
It sure did have the very same impact on Grammy nominee Raja Kumari, when she said, “People like Divine who are talking about the gully and growing up without a father, and not just sitting in a Mercedez Benz — that is hip hop.”
Gaur kar lo meri baaton pe tum dhyan do
Nainon ko main namm karoon
Sukoon main deta kaan ko
Chilao zor se uthao apne hath tum
Asli hip hop se milayein Hindustan ko
Hindustan ko, haan ji Hindustan ko
Asli hip hop se milayein Hindustan ko
As far as Ranveer Singh is concerned, there’s probably little in this world that he cannot do.
Is he a Divine? No. But that doesn’t automatically make him bad. In fact, Ranveer brings a little of himself into the song, instead of trying to be entirely like Divine. His grungy, dark, dead stare only adds flavour to the words.
And as the lyrics go, all Divine, Ranveer and Asli Hip Hop asks of you is attention and a patient ear — Gaur kar lo meri baaton pe tum dhyan do, Nainon ko main namm karoon, Sukoon main deta kaan ko — 'cuz only when you listen to this sans the trappings of your apparent Hindi cinema music knowledge, will you get its soul.
For, at some point, you will realise this is your angst too — and this is your song too.