Well, shoot. This was extremely derivative. I will give Zoya a lot of rope, but really? The quality of the colors, the gritty character background, even the hoodie. Surely there was a more original way to handle the story of a rising rap star.
So I was excited about this movie because I wanted to see Zoya’s take on the Dharavi slums, I wanted to see what she did with Ranveer after bringing out such a great performance in DDD, I wanted to see her working with Alia, I was interested in Alia’s Hijab wearing rebel character, there were all kinds of unusual things that we had never seen before in Indian film.
And now we have the trailer, and it is something we have never seen before in Indian film, because it’s a straight up rip off of the feel of an American film, 8 Mile. SO FRUSTRATING!!!! Just, WHY??? I know nothing about the real person this is based on, I am sure he also spent ages thinking about rhymes for his raps, and probably had some kind of family discord in his background, maybe he even wore a hoodie at some point and participated in rap battles. But the choice to focus on those things, and present them in this very particular edited gritty way, with the low color saturation, that just feels like a rip off of the look and tone of 8 Mile to no real purpose.
Here’s the 8 Mile trailer. Ignore the English dialogue and the trailer voice over, just focus on the look of it and the parts of the life we are seeing. It’s family conflict and a weak father figure, it’s caring about his little sister, it’s underground rap battles, it’s all in this streetlight kind of color tone, and there are SO MANY HOODIES.
Maybe you are thinking “well, that’s the story this is, there are only so many variations on how you can show the rise of a rapper.” For contrast, let me show you the video the real Divine made for his break out song. Look at the bright colors, the smiling people jumping around, the sunshine, the complete lack of hoodies.
Don’t you want to watch a movie that looks like that? A joyful movie with sunshine and artistic expression and happy loving people? Not about underground rap battles, but about cell phone videos that go viral and get you a sweet music contract deal? And large loving families and a community that pulls together and street dancers that move to the rhythm of your words and so on and so forth?
Heck, why not this? The last major movie set in Dharavi, featuring actual rappers and a social message? A movie that shows Dharavi as a thriving community that deserves respect and support, not a depressing place of last hope that everyone just wants to escape?