Ahead of his Valentine’s Day release, Gully Boy star Ranveer Singh spills beans about the inspiration behind the character he plays in the movie and his fanboying for rapper Divine. In a recent interview, Ranveer shared what led him to make a mainstream Bollywood film about a genre of music that most audiences haven’t even heard.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Ranveer revealed his approach towards playing a character whose life experiences are so different from his electric persona and said, “There are parts of an actor’s own life experiences that you have to tap into and mould around your character. It’s already within you – you have to pluck it out, twist it around and use it. Whatever dark experiences I had in my life, I tapped into for Khilji. Whatever struggle I have had in my life, whether it comes to career or relationships, I used that for Gully Boy.”

He added, “The language came very naturally to me. The street lingo is very much my style. I am also the kind of person who is equally comfortable at high society gatherings and hanging out with the boys from the yard. This kind of experience I have had growing up allows me to be comfortable with people from all social strata and that is the largest contributor to my being able to do Gully Boy. Me hanging out with the real “gully boys” growing up shaped my life and helped me make this film.”

Sharing the preconceived notions he had about Murad, from whom his character in the movie is inspired, Ranveer said, “You usually draw your cues from the script. Of course, it was helpful interacting with the boys, but it was not entirely based on one person’s life. All the cues for my character were there in the script, but I am a huge fan of Divine, so it was just enriching for me to sit and interact with him during the making of this film. He is a very generous artist and he contributed so wholeheartedly to this film. He understood all too well that this film is going to be significant in bringing the underground hip-hop getting mainstream exposure. I was blown away by his vibe, his music; and I was a fan before I even met him.”

Finally, throwing light on spreading the hip-hop culture before the Indian audiences like never before, Ranveer opined, “The challenge itself presents a very unique opportunity – to present something to the mainstream that they have not sampled before is very exciting. One of the most significant things before the release of the film is the success of Apna Time Aayega. It is number one on the charts. That means the mainstream audience has accepted the music and that is a sign that it is matter of time before they engage with hip-hop culture.”

Directed by Zoya Akhtar, Gully Boy also features Alia Bhatt, Kalki Koechlin, Vijay Raaz, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Vijay Varma and Amruta Subhash in lead roles and is slated to release on February 14 this year. The movie is bankrolled by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidwani’s Excel Entertainment. Ranveer will be seen playing the role of a rapper in the movie.