Gully Boy

Gully Boy” is a Hindi movie we watched twice in the last couple of months. It is available on Amazon Prime Video (with subtitles) and is a coming-of-age movie of a rapper from the slums of Mumbai. Hindi rap/hip hop is still a nascent music genre in India and the story is based on the true story of two Indian street rappers – Divine and Naezy.

There are many things I love about the movie – interesting characters, good music, and a nice story among them. Most of all, though, it speaks of the challenges of making your way up the privilege ladder when you are born in the slums.

Murad, the protagonist, needs several strokes of luck to make the leap – narrowly escaping going to prison for example – and also relies on the support of some incredible friends along his journey.

One of the most fascinating things about writing about privilege over the years is that nearly every one of the posts on the topic results in a response from someone arguing that I greatly under weight the importance of hard work. My thought experiment in response tends to be – how hard do you think folks in the slums of Mumbai work? I grew up witnessing abundant hard work in poor communities around me. What was absent was the platform that made all the hard work count.

Kids growing up in the slums worked hard to earn a few rupees to support their families every day while kids like me had the privilege to go to school and make something of our lives.

That is not to say a kid in the slums has no chance of breaking out. The odds of that happening are just infinitesimal compared to a kid with supportive parents going to an elite school.

Privilege is powerful. “Gully Boy” is a great reminder of that.

Fun Saturday: Best 20 chick flicks

When my wife and I got together, I didn’t like or watch chick flicks. But, then, since our taste in movies were two non intersecting circles, we both had to make a few compromises. One of them from my end was watching romantic comedies or “chick flicks.”

I am not a regular movie watcher but I think it’s fair to say that I’ve seen my fair share of chick flicks over the past 8 years. And, for all the reluctant boyfriends and husbands, I am happy to share that there are quite a few nice ones out there. When I mentioned this as a bunch of us gathered a couple of weekends a go, one of the group raised his eyebrows in disbelief and sent us a request for a favorites list the next day.

I thought I’d share that list. This is pretty much sorted in the order of priority that my wife and I agreed on. We may have missed a few but hoepfully this is a good starter list –

1. We Bought a Zoo: Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson with kids and animals. Hard to go wrong but they actually did it pretty well.
2. Penelope: Great great movie. Must watch as it has a lovely message. And, as a bonus, it also has Peter Dinklage.
3. Sweet Home Alabama: Classic chick flick. We like it loads.
4. The Switch: We’re big fans of Jason Bateman.
5. The Proposal: Another classic.
6. Raising Helen: Nice move with a nice message.
7. No Reservations: See above and also has Catherine Zeta Jones
8. Notting hill: The chick flick of chick flicks
9. The Wedding Date: I can’t remember/this was my wife’s pick.
10. Definitely, Maybe: I liked this one.
11. Love happens: Nice message with Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart.
12. The Wedding Planner: I can’t remember/this was my wife’s pick.
13. How to lose a guy in 10 days: Classic
14. Pride and prejudice: The Keira Knightley version. I thought it was done well.
15. What to expect when you’re expecting: Funny in parts and touching in parts
16. Maid of honor: I can’t remember/this was my wife’s pick.
17. Couple’s retreat: REALLY lame but will inspire you to go to Bora Bora
18. The Change Up: Very lame but with some hilarious moments
19. Forgetting Sarah Marshall: Nice movie
20. The Notebook: This is a sob fest.

PS: If you guys have good recommendations, I’d love to hear them too!