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In 2013, actor Farhan Akhtar and director-producer Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra collaborated on Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. The sports biopic of Milkha Singh received unanimous acclaim and resulted in a box office collection of Rs. 100 crore plus. After 8 years, the two have once again joined hands for yet another sports film, Toofan. This time, Farhan along with his partner Ritesh Sidhwani has also stepped in as a producer. So does Toofan turn out to be as strong as his previous film? Or does it disappoint? Let’s analyze.

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Toofan is the story of the transformation of a street brawler into a top class boxer. Aziz Ali aka Ajju (Farhan Akhtar) is an orphan raised by Jafar Bhai (Vijay Raj). Aziz now lives in Dongri, Mumbai with his friend Munna (Husain Dalal) and does all the dirty work for Zafar Bhai. Aziz gets injured while beating up a restaurant owner (Imran Rashid) over a quarrel with Zafar Bhai. He goes to a charitable hospital for treatment, where doctor Ananya Prabhu (Mrunal Thakur) throws him out after learning that he is a goon. A few days later, Ananya sees Aziz buying gifts for the children at an orphanage. This makes him realize that he is a good person at heart. One day, Aziz goes to a gym in his neighborhood, run by a man named Merchant (Deven Khote). The merchant trains boxing aspirants on his premises. Aziz sees this and gets into an argument with Parvez (Arhaan Choudhary), the player who practices there. Instead of hitting back, Parvez praises him and says that he has a lot of power. Aziz is shocked and learns that boxing can make him a better person. He starts his training. But he still continues to work for Zafar Bhai. One day Ananya sees Aziz violently evicting a man from his shop. She counsels him and insists that he should focus solely on boxing. Aziz realizes that he is right. When Merchant sees potential in him, he takes Aziz to Mumbai’s best boxing coach Nana Prabhu (Paresh Rawal). Nana tells Aziz to fight with his student. Aziz is defeated and he asks Nana to train him. However, Nana at first refuses because of Aziz’s Muslim identity. Meanwhile, Aziz goes back to the hospital to get treated for the injury he sustained in the match. This is when he tells Ananya that he has met Nana Sir, unaware of the fact that she is Nana’s daughter. Soon, Nana agrees to train him and turns him into a top boxing player. Aziz is also selected for the state championship where he manages to defeat a veteran player Dharmesh Patil (Darshan Kumar). This is also the time when Aziz starts dating Ananya. After his victory, Aziz is drinking with Nana when he says that he is in a relationship with Ananya and wants to marry her. Aziz did not know that she was Nana’s daughter. Nana gets angry and slaps Aziz and accuses him of cheating on his daughter. Nana then forces Ananya to end the relationship and remarks that Aziz is doing ‘love jihad’. What happens next becomes the rest of the film.

Farhan Akhtar’s story idea and Anjum Rajabali’s story are cliche. From Mithun Chakraborty starrer Boxer to many sports films have seen the rise, fall and rise of a sportsperson. [1984] for the recent sultan [2016], and also in Hollywood movies. Anjum Rajabali’s screenplay (additional screenplay by Vijay Maurya) is decent but also predictable. You know what’s going to happen next in most parts of the film. Thankfully, the writing is filled with lots of interesting moments. But ideally, the story should have been novel and the screenplay should have been entertaining. Vijay Maurya’s dialogues are simple and sharp.

The direction of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is first class. After paying two forgettable fares as Mirzya, the director is back in form [2016] and MERE PYARE PRIME MINISTER [2019]. He executes a cliché and simple story very well. The sports and training scenes manage to be engrossing. It is also commendable that in the middle of the second half, another round of the training track begins when Aziz makes a comeback after a gap. Even these scenes are well shot and don’t feel repetitive. Toofan, however, has other subplots and raises some relevant issues of society. On the other hand, the second half is where the film falls a bit. Tragedy comes on suddenly and some viewers may find it difficult to digest. At 161 minutes, the film is too long and its run time should have been trimmed. Lastly, there are high expectations from this film as it is made by Bhaag Milkha Bhaag director and also stars the same actor. In this sense, Toofan has no match with his previous film.

“Farhan is the real perfectionist, Aamir Khan comes at number 2” – Farhan reacted to this comment storm

The first half of the storm is good. The characters of Aziz, Dr. Ananya and Nana Prabhu are well written and presented to the audience. Also, the fact that Ananya is related to both adds a lot of drama to the story. The boxing track is great but the Dharma angle in particular works great. The makers have also created a balanced approach and shown how there are elements in both the communities which have issues of inter-religious romance. Another relatable part of the film is when Aziz and Ananya fail to find a residence of their choice due to their different religious identities. There are a lot of unexpected developments in the second half and it takes some time to process. Aziz’s comeback is spectacular but it is surprising to see how easily he makes it to the national championships.

Farhan Akhtar is in excellent form. He looks very confident as a boxer, but in dramatic and emotional scenes too, he does very well. after the heart beats [2016], he was not seen in memorable films and performances. So, it’s a pleasure to finally see him in a film where he gets a chance to shine. Mrunal Thakur is the surprise of the film. Her role in the events of the film is very important and she does full justice to her performance. Plus his hundred watt smile is infectious. Paresh Rawal is brilliant and plays a challenging role with ease. He is missing at the start of the second half but makes up for it in the pre-climax and climax. Hussain Dalal is lovable as the sidekick and contributes to the comedy quotient of the film. Vijay Raaz surprisingly doesn’t have much to do, especially since his character seemed unhappy with Aziz’s decision. Darshan Kumar is great as the villain. But it seems he is getting typecast. Dr. Mohan Agashe (Bala Uncle) is adorable and also a voice of reason and conscience. This makes his character very special. Supriya Pathak (Sister D’Souza) is fine. Gauri Phoolka (Myra) stole the show as Aziz and Ananya’s daughter. Gaganpreet Sharma (Prithvi Singh) is in danger as Aziz’s dangerous rival. Deven Khote is confident while Arhan Choudhary, Imran Rashid, RJ Anmol (state championship commentator) and Akashdeep Sabir (Mallick; match fixer) do well. Sonali Kulkarni (Sumathi) is up for a scene while director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (IBF secretary) is fine.

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music is disappointing and that is also one of the weaknesses of the film. Also, there are at least 8 songs and on top of that, the album is not memorable. Ideally the film should have had one song less entertaining. This would have increased the effect. title track is the best after this ‘Star Hai Tu’. Both have been shot well. ‘Ananya’, ‘Jo Tum Aa Gaye Ho’ (composed by Samuel and Akanksha) and ‘Purvaiya’ Failed to register. rap songs, ‘Dekh Toofaan Aaya Hai’ And ‘Todun Tak’, is not a recall value. ‘Ganpati Vandana’ The film is played at a turning point. The background score of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Tubi is exceptional and would have made a big impact on the big screen.

Jay Oza’s cinematography is superb and enhances the effect in several scenes. Especially the boxing scenes have been shot very well. Rajat Poddar’s production design and Abhilasha Sharma’s costumes are straight out of life. Alan Amin’s action is raw. The VFX from Cinegens and FutureWorks is apt. Meghna Manchanda Sen’s editing is neat but duration should have been kept under control. Lastly, special mention should also go to Farhan Akhtar’s fitness team – Drew Neil (Boxing Trainer), Sameer Zarua (Fitness Trainer) and Dr Anand Kumar (Physiotherapist) – for making him look like a seasoned player.

Overall, Toofan boasts of powerful performances with some heartwarming and dramatic moments. But the film’s lengthy timeline, poor soundtrack, cliched plot and predictable narrative dampen the impact to a great extent.

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