Summing up Divine's life in a documentary
Living with his grandmother in an eastern Mumbai suburb, Vivian Fernandes (Popularly known as Divine) had no idea that he would become a global superstar one day. From having zero knowledge of hip-hop to being one of the most sought-after rappers in India and a global superstar – in a matter of a few years, Vivian's journey is as fascinating as it is endearing.
To give insights into the life of this celebrated musician, the first-ever documentary on his life, 'Gully Life: The Story of DIVINE' was released on Discovery Channel recently. Produced by Red Bull Media House in association with Supari Studios, the film chronicles the ups and downs of one of India's most favourite musicians.
We caught up with Divine for an exclusive interaction, where he talked about his documentary, his inspiration, and more. Here are a few excerpts.
What was your first reaction to the idea of making a documentary on your life? Were there any inhibitions?
I never imagined that at such an early stage in my career I would be the subject of a documentary. The experience of sharing my journey, my story has been cathartic in a way.
Does the documentary show 100% of truth (of your life), or has it been tweaked/edited to hide certain incidents that you don't want to reveal yet?
This is as close to knowing everything about me without being me. Like every person in the public eye, I also need to live a life that's more about Vivian than DIVINE – and this documentary shows me as a common boy, who lives a simple life and enjoys playing his role as a friend, a son and a rapper. The film reveals almost 100% of the truth about my struggles – personal and professional.Usually, choosing a path (initiating a journey) is more difficult than walking on it. How did it start for you? How did you get your first break?
And, no step of this journey has been easy. Nothing was handed to me on a platter. I started doing filler shows at college festivals, and from there started writing my own raps, shot DIY videos. YouTube helped me get attention and an audience. In 2014, I released 'Yeh Mera Bombay', which had lyrics in Hindi and English. It racked up like 1,00,000 views in a few months, and even won me an award. That's when I knew hip-hop was where I belonged. Later, a performance at blueFROG in 2014, caught the attention of the music industry.
It was rare to listen to meaningful rap before Gully Boy. Do you believe that rappers really need to pay more attention to substantial content and not just if the rap rhymes or not?
There is no right or wrong way of writing rap. But people will react more to authentic and original writing. There's no denying that.
You changed the definition of rap in India – making it one of the most popular forms of music. Is that a reason enough to be proud of yourself?
I am doing what I want to do. I am grateful for getting the opportunity to live my dream; and it makes my mother proud. That's all what matters to me.