The Six: Night at the Dubai Opera

The Dubai Opera. (Shutterstock)
Updated 14 January 2019

The Six: Night at the Dubai Opera

DUBAI: The curtain will rise on many a show at the Dubai Opera in this year, including concerts, theater productions and tribute performances.

Shakespeare’s “Othello” will be performed from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, after a critically acclaimed run in London. This contemporary take on the play explores themes of prejudice and discrimination.

‘Piaf! Le Spectacle’
The life of French chanteuse Edith Piaf is told in this musical tribute that stars Anne Carrere and will run on Feb. 14 and 15.

‘BBC Proms’
Now in its 124th season, the festival will return to Dubai between March 19-22 with a varied lineup of classical music.

This production from London’s West End will have Dubai-based Michael Jackson fans singing along to his greatest hits from March 26-29.

‘Sleeping Beauty’
The fairytale will be told through a grand ballet performance in this magical show by the National Ballet of Ukraine on April 26 and 27.

‘Phantom of the Opera’
Theater goers in the region are in for a musical treat with this Andrew Lloyd Webber classic, brought to the Middle East for the first time in autumn — the final dates have not yet been announced.


Film Review: Hip-hop dream in ‘Gully Boy’ is music to the ears

Updated 23 February 2019

Film Review: Hip-hop dream in ‘Gully Boy’ is music to the ears

CHENNAI: Stories about slums and poverty are not easy to script. They can easily turn into vulgar celebration, as Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” was seen by some, notably legendary Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos.

But director Zoya Akhtar (“Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” and “Luck by Chance”) manages to steer herself clear of slipping into this trap with her latest drama, “Gully Boy,” which emerges from one of the biggest slums in the world, Dharavi, in Mumbai.

There, thousands of people living in a sprawl of huts have a bewildering variety of experiences to narrate. One story is that of Murad’s (Ranveer Singh), whose chance meeting with a rapper, Sher (Siddhant Chaturvedi), opens a magical door.

The film, inspired by real-life rappers Naezy and Divine, focusses on Murad’s ambition to become a rapper, and how he achieves it, despite his driver father’s fears and his uncle’s disdain.

In one scene, the uncle tells Murad that a chauffeur’s son can only hope to be another chauffeur, a servant in other words. A humiliated Murad takes this to heart, but quietly vows to transform his dream into reality.

His sweetheart Safeena (Alia Bhatt), who is studying to be a doctor, pushes him towards a hip-hop life.

Witten by Akhtar along with Reema Kagti, “Gully Boy” is undoubtedly the director’s career best, and Ranveer’s too. In a role that literally overshadows his earlier outings (including “Bajirao Mastani” and “Padmaavat”), he brilliantly conveys the angst and struggle of an underdog, and how his unflattering social status attracts ridicule even among those merely aspiring to be rappers.

Ranveer infuses into Murad a quiet determination that helps him cross frightening social and cultural barriers.

Safeena is also imaginatively fleshed out as a fiery woman who helps Akhtar create his own brand of rap music (some grippingly done by Naezy and Divine).

What is even more exciting is that “Gully Boy” brings rap out of the shadows and in this process the city and the slum, sensitively lensed by Jay Oza, seem to be screaming that miracles are possible even in the face of Mumbai’s painful inequities.