Indian cinema has vast and diverse architectural characters in it, which enhances the overall scenic beauty of the movies and it also shows the living styles and the community in a raw format. Gully boy is one of the masterpieces of cinematography that portrays the lifestyle of the people living in Asia’s biggest slum in Mumbai “Dharavi”. 

Zoya Akhtar, the director of the movie successfully portrayed different kinds of people with different economic backgrounds interacting with each other in different forms. Gully Boy is a biopic of rapper Divine and the other small rappers that helped him in his career. The lead role “Murad” is played by Ranveer Singh who lives in the slum with his family. 

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Gully Boy Poster ©

Slums are informal settlements with a large number of people compactly living in small areas due to their economic conditions. The movie depicts the crunch of spaces and people use each inch of the space. For example, the lead role’s house consists of 6 people within one kholi (house), which has a mezzanine floor to accommodate an additional room. The kitchen, living room, the dining room is all one space. So it educates the public of the living condition in that area and how one space has been put to multiple uses. Gully boy depicts a sense of community living, where every narrow street in the slum is a public space which reduces the sense of privacy inside the homes.   

On the other hand Safina, Murad’s girlfriend is shown from a well-off area as compared to Murad. She lives in a 2 BHK flat with 4 people including her in the family. Even some of Murad’s friends are in the well-off area but some of them are just like him, even though there are economical differences between them, they all hang out with each other irrespective of their backgrounds. 

Even in pursuing education, some of them go to the same college in Mumbai as others. The movie consists of various scenes of railway stations and bridges as meeting points which tells the viewers the everyday schedule of an ordinary person and how they take out some time and live for themselves. Even after income differences, they both used to commute through a public transports like local trains and buses, as those spots becomes there meeting points.  

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Background depicts the living conditions of slums today @Excel Entertainment/Tiger Baby
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Murad’s house in Gully Boy ©Excel Entertainment/Tiger Baby.
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Safina’s house @
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Local bus used as meeting point @
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Local train used as meeting point@

Further, in the movie, Murad meets his role model MC Sher who helps him in rapping and singing. The living condition of MC Sher is somewhat like Murad but he enjoys some leverage in it. In a house, with plaster coming out from fewer spaces, we can find a cabinet full of fancy shoes. To practice the rap battle, an abandoned building is shown which is either under construction or is trapped in some dispute and gives a raw feeling to the whole scenario where raw people from the slums get together to have a raw rap battle.

The first half of the movie showed the tough life of people living in slums and the difficulties to pursue their dreams in those conditions. But, in the other half, the movie shows us about grabbing opportunities. In addition, we also see that where these slum people work for a project is directed by a higher-income person living in Mumbai. Seeing their lifestyle, Murad gets a high aspiration to have what all other rich people have and to have, not better but the best style of living.

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Rap shot in slums to get raw effect to the song@
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bridge scenes©

In one of the scenes, Murad goes to the bathroom in a rich flat and counts the space by his foot to measure and realize that his house area is somewhat equal to the bathroom of the rich. This scene especially depicts the space crunches around Mumbai where some people live in an un-breathable condition but some others have a huge luxury in terms of spaces. 

Towards the end of the movie, Murad gets popular among the youth and in the general public through social media, and gets a chance to perform on stage where people from all over the places pursuing rapping come to watch. Here, he gets a star name and becomes popular, which was eventually his dream. He also upgraded his living style, like how he wanted it to be. The movie was based on the ideology of pursuing dreams and never giving up on dreams, no matter what your conditions are!

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Apna time aayega stage scene ©

In the whole movie, Gully boy has communicated through its architectural style how the difference in architectural appearance changes the overall theme and shows the economic status of the people; even minute details can show the living status of the people. It also shows public interactions in slums and upper-class surroundings and their importance in their lives. 

Overall the movie has depicted how a person, an ordinary man, becomes famous living through the various stages in his life and the contribution of the surroundings to his life.


Shivalika is a final year student of architecture from Mumbai. She is kind of a “Go with the flow” person and gives 100% to that flow. She likes observing the surroundings, capturing scenic beauty with her eyes and think, there is no choice between beaches and mountains, they both are necessary.