It seems, it can not do anything wrong. He surprised the critics with his intense performance as the marauding king Alauddin Khilji in Padmaavat, tried the blockbuster with Simmba and even married the girl of his dreams, the actor Deepika Padukone, all in the space of a year.
In 2019, Singh is back with Gully Boy, a Bollywood version of Eminem 8 Mile, which looks in an unusual way at the emerging underground hip-hop scene in India.
Shot in the slums of Mumbai, where most of the rappers from India emerged, Gully Boy will premiere at the Berlinale before going to the cinema in India next week. Singh talked to Reuters about the movie, the hip-hop scene in India and how to get Zoya and I to collaborate before, so there was a certain familiarity there. But while working on Dil Dhadakne Do, because it was a whole film, it was almost an unsaid thing between Zoya and me that we would work together again, because there was so much to explore.
We wanted to do something where we would have to do much more together. We bounced several ideas and all were incredible. But one day she called me and showed me the video of Meri Gully Mein and she told me: “This is the world where I want to put my movie”. For me, it was amazing, because I love many of these things: the hip-hop scene, the “bambaiyya” language. Everything is part of my identity.
Of course, it’s Mumbai, but it’s a very different Mumbai from the one you inhabit …
That is not entirely accurate. I had an incredible point of view growing up. Where he lived was on the border of Bandra (East) and Bandra (West). It was almost as if he were at the center of the class division. If I headed west, there would be private schools, huge apartments, the upper middle class and a rich part of Mumbai. I used to go to private school during the day and play cricket with the kids from the poor neighborhoods. I grew up with them, they are my friends. One of the most amazing parts of this city is that they are two worlds in one, as the line of a song in the movie says “ek duniya mein do duniya” (a world within two worlds). The first 25 years of my life I spent just at the border of these two worlds. It really helps me as an actor to have a life experience that spans a broad spectrum of society.