Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy is India’s Official Entry For Oscars 2020
- IWB Post
- September 21, 2019
Director Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy, starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, has been declared as India’s official entry for the 92nd Academy Awards in the Best International Feature Film category.
Farhan Akhtar took to Twitter to announce the news. He is one of the producers of the film.
GullyBoy has been selected as India’s official entry to the 92nd Oscar Awards. #apnatimeaayega Thank you to the film federation and congratulations #Zoya @kagtireema @ritesh_sid @RanveerOfficial @aliaa08 @SiddhantChturvD @kalkikanmani & cast, crew and hip hop crew. 🕺🏻
Akhtar’s acclaimed film was inspired by the journeys of Mumbai rappers Naezy and Divine. In an interview after the movie’s release, she told Scroll.in about her lead character, “I wanted Murad to be the kind of man I want to see in the world… You don’t have to represent the masculinity that you are always told about. It is brave to be sensitive. I like creating male characters whom I would like to see in the world.”
Among the 28 films that were submitted to FFI as entries were Sriram Raghavan’s Andhadhun, Anubhav Sinha’s Article 15, Anant Mahadevan’s Mai Ghat, Vetrimaaran’s Vada Chennai, Aditya Dhar’s Uri: The Surgical Strike, Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s Super Deluxe and Bharat Kamma’s Dear Comrade.
In another interview with The Indian Express, Zoya Akhtar shared about her journey as a writer-director, about Gully Boy and her take on the discussion around women-related issues in the industry.
On her journey as a writer-director
It has been a very sweet ride. With time, it definitely becomes easier to do things. I will keep trying different styles. When you have an interesting story, you wonder how can you tell it most effectively.
On the characters in Gully Boy
Ranveer (Singh) has a penchant for rapping. He is also very conversant with the Mumbai lingo. It was very easy for him to get into the part. He was aware of the gully rap scene before I did. He had met some rappers and wanted to meet more. He nailed his dialogue and dialect. He got into the studio and started working on his music with DIVINE. He prepped it well. He worked with me for the rest of the acting preparation. Alia (Bhatt) did her homework and worked on her dialect. Both of them were my first choices for their roles.
On her casting choices
I work with an amazing casting director called Nandini Shrikent. And this time, along with her, there was Karan Mally working on the casting. I’m very specific with my casting. Even if it’s a two-line part, I want an actor. That changes the game. You can’t just cast anyone in any role.
Reema (Kagti) and I wrote the movie together. I work with seriously good and top of the line professionals. It’s a collaborative effort. Of course, eventually the vision is the director’s, in terms what he/she wishes to convey. But they are professionals who come with great ideas that help a director shape that vision.
On the importance of gender in her films
Gender comes in, in my politics, movies and value system. There is a very strong female gaze in terms of that. It influences not only how I treat women but how I wish men to be. That’s how I am and how I look at male and female characters.
On box-office figures
Figures matter to the producers and to the people in trade. In the case of others, they either like the movie or they don’t. I loved Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983). I don’t care how much money it made.
On the discussion around women-related issues in the industry
It needs to change for the world. I’m part of a privileged minority. I say privileged because I come from a family that has never treated me differently than my brother (Farhan Akhtar). My true privilege is the opportunity, confidence, and freedom I was given. I hope people understand that about women and let them be.