The New Heart-Throb

Kangana’s Grouse | The Surprise Patch-Up

In Berlin, where the film had its world premiere last weekend, Gully Boy is already a massive hit. The musical drama directed by Zoya Akhtar had what some have described as ‘the most electric reception’ in the history of the Berlin Film Festival. Despite arriving late—both on the red carpet, and into the sold-out 1,800-seater Friedrichstadt-Palast theatre—the team got the loudest cheers from the audience, who turned the screening into a concert of sorts, frequently singing along with the music and responding to punchlines with applause.

Ranveer Singh took over at the end of the screening when the entire team was called on stage, the actor breaking into an impromptu performance of the film’s anthem track Apna Time Aayega, even as hundreds of mobile phones came out to record the moment. Sadly, there was no time for a Q&A with Zoya or the rest of the team, who sportingly let Ranveer take centrestage.

Just seven years ago Shah Rukh Khan similarly enthralled the audience at the theatre, as the curtains came down after the German premiere of Don 2 at the Berlinale. That evening the actor, joined by his co-star Priyanka Chopra and filmmakers Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani, repeated dialogues from the film and broke into steps from a song, pulling in festival director Dieter Kosslick to join him on stage. It is no secret that for years SRK has been Bollywood’s biggest export to Germany, his appeal going well beyond the Indian diaspora to include local Germans.

Yet many festival regulars who attended the Gully Boy premiere observed that the response to the film—and to Ranveer Singh, specifically— might be a sign that there could be room in the hearts of Germans for a second, or perhaps even a new, favourite from Bollywood.



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