Appropriation and Articulation: Mapping Movements in Gully Boy

Damini Rajendra Kulkarni

Abstract


Zoya Akhtar’s commercially and critically successful coming-of-age drama Gully Boy (2019), ostensibly traces the history of Mumbai-based rappers Divine and Naezy. It repurposes songs performed by them and other rappers based out of the city, and features a cover version of a music video by Divine and Neazy that borrows from the visual aesthetic of the "original". Gully Boy is imbricated in a dissonant relationship with the dominant ideology and the idea of authenticity. On the other hand, it hints at the imaginary of a space in which people are freely able to experiment with embodied performances of their cultural capital. Thus, Gully Boy’s repurposing of Divine and Naezy’s music video, and appropriation of songs by several other rappers, offers an opportunity to simultaneously examine the histories and politics that are at risk of seeping out through the cracks of such an articulation, and the spaces and communities created by this movement. This paper examines Gully Boy to follow the movement of images from counter-culture into the mainstream, and chart the consequences of this translation on the political identity of these images. 


Keywords


Dissociative appropriation; hip-hop; articulation; space in cinema



DOI: 10.6092/issn.2280-9481/10508

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Copyright (c) 2020 Damini Rajendra Kulkarni

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