Before Netlix’s Sacred Games (that he has written a genuine tune) and the upcoming film Gully Boy (for which his life is a basis) rapper Divine discusses blowing up big style.
Divine’s rooted Mumbai speech is an essential element in Netflix’s Sacred Game titles.
It took a few momemts for Divine (given birth to Vivian Fernandes) to go beyond giving versions of the same rote answers, whether or not the question was about his music or his future–answers that included stock phrases such as ‘Music is my life,’ and ‘I’m here to stay’–but soon, we were discussing politics, about revolution and about the power that rap music has in influencing both arenas.
In the short chat we had in the phone–connected despite several seconds of music delay, him in ‘Kaneda’ and us in New Delhi–the path-breaking Mumbai rapper projected all the energy of his songs, starting from autobiographical confessionals to trend anthems for a whole generation.
His latest is a trail called Kaam 25 (pronounced in Hindi), an original composition for the forthcoming Netflix series–the first Indian original made by the loading giant–Sacred Games, based on the sprawling book by Vikram Chandra. The show is co-directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, who distributed directing duties on all eight episodes–Kashyap directed moments with Nawazuddin Siddiqui while Motwane mainly dealt with Saif Ali Khan.
The truck for the show, have scored to the beats of your different Divine track–Jungli Sher–set the tone for what is apparently the sort of Mumbai fable that Kashyap and Nawaz have tackled in the past, in motion pictures such as Raman Raghav 2.0.
Divine has worked with Kashyap before–in his recent boxing play Mukkabaaz–but what really drew him to the job was Nawaz, his ‘preferred actor in the united states.’
Divine was shown slides from the show to help him conceptualise Kaam 25. He read items of the script, which proved to him that the show was very much in his ‘space’. The rapper is not a stranger to provocative themes – he frequently issues expert, as well as the government, in his music. “All this is happening before our sight,” he said, making an over-all mention of certain sociable issues, such as problem and communalism – both styles that he has discussed in his music (including Kaam 25), and form the overarching thread that binds Chandra’s novel.
“It’s never been a difficulty,” he said defiantly, when prodded about whether he was worried that his introduction from the underground and into the mainstream might change things. “Things have gone from 0 to a 100 since we began,” he said, about the troupe of young rappers who came from Mumbai and helped define its hip-hop words, just like Punjab and even Kolkata. He has been at the forefront of this movement, which has made him the de facto figurehead for rap music — real rap music — in India.
“The young kids recognize that rap gets the electric power – to maybe not change the country but to spark mindsets that change the united states,” he said.
Both Divine and the state YouTube channel for Netflix shared his new music, but despite having 150,000 clients as compared to Netflix’s 4 million, the training video he shared have scored a million strikes, and Netflix’s only 250,000. It is the loyalty that counts, not the reach.
However the rapper will soon have to figure out how to handle more followers than he has ever had before, when the film Gully Guy, based in part on his life, is released. “I have already been a part of it from day 1,” he said. “I have a link with it.”
Divine, or at least a personality influenced by him, will be performed in the film by Ranveer Singh, who’s coming off of the reviews of his career along with his Alaudin Khilji submit Padmaavat. “Ranveer is the man,” Divine said. “He’s the best man to do the movie and he’s wiped out it.”
Sacred Games will begin streaming on Netflix on July 6. Gully Guy is still a while away, but Divine hopes you may spend the meantime hearing the new Pusha-T album