Well, Ranveer’s version came out today. Version plus video. And I’m just gonna put it out there, I like the original better.
Let’s start with Divine’s break out video. Filmed by himself and became a youtube sensation, helped get him the deal with Sony that lead to the original “Mere Gully Mein” video. I love it, and it is (mildly) controversial. Bringing up the Taj Attacks, and the forced Mumbai name change as two things the city survived and kept going, that’s interesting.
And then he got that Sony money and made “Mere Gully Mein” which got him noticed in the mainstream, not just in the music viral sensation world. I love this video, because it is so happy! Sunshine and small children and smiling. And because (even though it was now filmed professionally), it was still filmed on the streets with random street kids and street people and little handheld cameras that could jump in and out. And two leads who were more about singing than anything else.
And then there’s Ranveer’s version. I don’t know where it was filmed but it FEELS like it it was filmed on a soundstage. The camera can predict where the actors will go, can track and crane and spin, in a way it can’t when you are dealing with a handheld moving through narrow streets and around people. Also, no one is smiling!!!! It isn’t until close to the end that we finally get some happy little kids, the rest of the time they are all serious-serious. And it still bothers me that Ranveer is singing. I can’t quite explain way, something about it feels like he is taking of Divine’s story and talent in a kind of cultural colonialism way? Making it so that we will remember Ranveer as the rapper and the person and forget the real one now that we have this cleaner, handsomer, Hindu-er, option? It is a far more interesting version in terms of clean edits and camera work and so on, but for me, that’s also what makes it a worse version.
But you don’t have to agree!!!!! Out of the two Gullys, which do you like best? Or is “Yeh Mera Bombay” still better than both of them?