'Toofaan' Review: Farhan Akhtar Impresses In This Predictably Dull Boxing Drama
Catch the review of Farhan Akhtar and Mrunal Thakur-starrer Toofaan directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.
Toofaan Film Review: Farhan Akhtar Impresses In Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Predictably Dull Boxing Drama
The last time Farhan Akhtar and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra came together was for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a well intentioned but tiresomely told story based on the great Milkha Singh’s life. In Toofaan, all the trappings of a commercial sports biopic are again summoned and a few minutes into the film the fatigue has already set in. An underdog pulsating with passion, finds direction and purpose in life under the watchful eyes of his coach. All roads then lead to a nail-biting climax where his victory is inevitable. In Toofaan this trajectory remains unchanged. Ajju bhai (Farhan Akhtar) is the Dongri ka gangster who redeems himself as the skilful boxer Aziz Ali.
Since Aziz never gets to represent India internationally it’s not so much a film demonstrating national pride but an individual’s personal triumph. Be that as it may, the fact that Anjum Rajabali’s screenplay never manages to rise about the formulaic and one is so familiar with the beats here that after a point we even start completing the sentences of the characters on screen certainly doesn’t help the cause. Take for instance the build up to the “big twist “ nearing the end which involves coach Nana Prabhu played with aplomb by Paresh Rawal. It’s the oldest trick in the book and we can sense the outcome almost immediately and yet the overwrought plot presents it like some big reveal.
Aziz Ali is a man with a hardscrabble past who falls for boxing and the charming doctor Ananya (Mrunal Thakur) at first glance and almost around the same time. Why do Bollywood filmmakers even bother about giving a “career “ to their heroines when everything and everyone is relegated to the margins to let the hero perform his victory lap? Shown gainfully employed for just about one-and-a-half scenes, Ananya is abruptly reduced to a puddle of tears, robbed of agency and shown completely dependent on Aziz to provide for both of them.
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Vijay Raaz and Darshan Kumar are allowed just cameo appearances to decimate any kind of challenge to Aziz’s winning bout and general demeanour. Supriya Pathak’s talent is wasted as she plays yet another stereotypical catholic character who speaks broken Hindi punctured with English words. Paresh Rawal, Mohan Agashe and Hussain Dalal are impeccable. Ultimately all the heavy lifting is done literally and metaphorically by Farhan Akhtar who tries his best.
The only time Toofaan truly comes alive is when the focus shifts to Aziz’s relationship with Ananya. The prejudice and bigotry that the two suffer is tragic and for sometime it feels like the film is finally on track giving us a brave and poignant account of how divisive and politically charged the atmosphere is. However, in its eagerness to impress all, the film simply abandons this narrative track and dilutes its own message thereby making Toofaan feel bloated and even unnecessary. Trapped by the requirements of formula filmmaking, Toofaan is more gas than a raging storm that it was intended to be.
Rating: 2 Quints out of 5
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