Ran­veer Singh is the best choice for Gully Boy, says rap­per Divine

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - City - - FRONT PAGE - Rishabh Suri rishabh.suri@htlive.com

Even as his per­for­mance as Alaud­din Khilji in Pad­maa­vat con­tin­ues to gar­ner at­ten­tion, Ran­veer Singh has started shoot­ing for his next film, Gully Boy, di­rected by Zoya Akhtar. For this film, he steps into the shoes of a rap­per, one who starts his jour­ney from the slums of Mum­bai.

What many peo­ple might not know is that Ran­veer is play­ing a char­ac­ter ‘in­spired’ by the real-life rap­per, Vi­vian Fer­nan­des a.k.a Divine.

Divine’s song ‘Mere gully mein’ cur­rently has over 3 mil­lion views on Youtube, and he re­veals that he was into hip-hop from a young age. “I dis­cov­ered it at the age of 14, and when I started col­lege, it be­came my way of ex­press­ing my emo­tions, be it anger or hap­pi­ness. I wrote my songs in English, but I was think­ing in Hindi, be­cause I didn’t know that we could do hip-hop in Hindi. At that time, there was no such thing hap­pen­ing in In­dia,” says Divine, whose youth was spent in the JB Na­gar slum of Mum­bai. “My mother works abroad, and my fa­ther has long been sep­a­rated from the fam­ily, so I lived with my nani (ma­ter­nal grand­mother), and spent all my time with friends. They’ve al­ways stuck with me, and would even stand be­hind me in my mu­sic videos,” adds Divine.

His song, ‘Yeh mera Bom­bay’, went viral in 2014, and soon he was signed on by a ma­jor mu­sic la­bel. His suc­cess story prompted Zoya to make a film in­spired by him and his group, pop­u­larly called the Gully Gang.

Divine re­veals, “We were the first guys to spark the Hindi hip-hop scene, and now there’s a rap­per in every gully, which is all I wanted. Our story will fi­nally be on the big screen, and Ran­veer Singh is the right guy to do it. I have hung out with him a cou­ple of times, and he’s a great guy.”

All praise for Zoya, he re­veals, “If you’re writ­ing a film on hip-hop, the most im­por­tant thing is you should be a good writer. Zoya had come for one of our shows; that’s how she dis­cov­ered us. Then she vis­ited us and I was more than happy to chat with her and Reema (Kagti, co­scriptwriter) and tell them ev­ery­thing about the [hip-hop] scene. I don’t know the story, but we’re a part of the film and its mu­sic.”

Vi­vian Fer­nan­des a.k.a Divine

PHOTO: IN­STA­GRAM/VIVIANAKADIVINE

Ran­veer Singh with the Gully Gang

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