‘TOOFAAN’ | 16 July, 2021

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Excel Entertainment and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Pictures’ Toofaan (above 13) is a film on the sport of boxing. Aziz Ali (Farhan Akhtar) is an orphan who stays on the streets of Dongri, a downmarket area in the city of Bombay. He is a collection agent and uses his muscle power for nefarious activities. He is in love with a Hindu girl, Ananya (Mrunal Thakur), a doctor by profession. She guides him to take the right path in life. Aziz Ali finds his calling in boxing and trains under Nana Prabhu (Paresh Rawal). He wins a boxing bout and earns a great reputation for himself. He comes to be known as Toofaan because of the speed and style at/in which he operates in the boxing ring. But then something happens, which results in Nana disowning Aziz Ali. Something even worse happens thereafter, because of which Aziz’s career goes for a toss. But his personal life is in a happy space till one day, calamity strikes.

What is that calamity? Does Aziz Ali return to the boxing ring? Does he become the boxing champion which had been his dream since years? Does Nana Prabhu reconcile with Aziz? Do Aziz and Ananya live happily ever after?

Anjum Rajabali’s story and screenplay, with additional screenplay by Vijay Maurya, are good in parts only. Farhan Akhtar’s story idea has some fresh elements but some predictable ones too, much like the story and the screenplay. The first half mostly moves as if it is set in a template format but the last part of the pre-interval portion is quite shocking and, therefore, makes the audience sit up and take note. Otherwise, the first half moves in such a fashion that although it involves the viewers, it does not really suck them in completely. This is, perhaps, because a good part of the drama in the first half is routine. The second half has a few more twists and turns than the pre-interval part, and some of them are quite interesting and engrossing. The pre-climax and climax, again, are exciting because it is a sports film but to say that they are novel would be incorrect. Besides the oft-repeatedness of the story and screenplay, the other minus point of the drama is that it is too long. It could’ve easily done with deletion of content with a running time of at least 20-25 minutes. Also, emotions don’t make the audience cry, which is a minus point in this kind of a story. The film also lacks in light moments and comedy. Dialogues (by Vijay Maurya) are excellent and the mainstay of the drama.

Farhan Akhtar lives the role of Aziz Ali (Toofaan). His transformation in the second half looks deadly. Mrunal Thakur is easy in front of the camera as Ananya. She is a natural actress. Paresh Rawal does a fine job in the role of Nana Prabhu. Mohan Agashe lends decent support as Bala uncle. Supriya Pathak Kapur is quite endearing as nurse Sister D’Souza. Hussain Dalaal is first-rate as Aziz Ali’s bosom pal, Munna. But his absence in some important scenes remains unexplained. Vijay Raaz makes his presence felt in a special appearance as Jafarbhai. Darshan Kumar (in a special appearance) leaves a very fine mark as Dharmesh Patil. Baby Gauri Phulka (as Tuk-Tuk) is confident. Akashdeep Sabir (as Mallick) is good. Gaganpreet Sharma (as Prithvi Singh) leaves a mark. Sonali Kulkarni makes a fleeting appearance. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has his moments as the Indian Boxing Federation secretary. Deven Khote (as Merchant Sir), Imran Rashid (as Mohsinbhai), Saurabh Sharma (as broker), Manoj Mathew (as Aslam broker) and the others lend the desired support.

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s direction is very good. He has made a good film but it should’ve been crisper. Music (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Dub Sharma and Samuel-Akanksha) is a mixed bag. A couple of songs are appealing while others are ordinary. Lyrics (Javed Akhtar, D’Evil and Manoj Kumar Nath) are weighty and add to the narrative. Ganesh Acharya’s choreography goes with the mood of the film but is nothing to shout about. Background music (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Tubby) is good. Jay Oza’s cinematography is first-rate. Action and stunt scenes (Alan Amin) are exciting and some of them provide edge-of-the-seat thrill. Rajat Poddar’s production designing and Nilesh Choudhari’s art direction are appropriate. Meghna Manchanda Sen’s editing needed to be sharper.

On the whole, Toofaan is an average fare. Lack of emotions and comedy as also its undue length are its minus points.

Released on 16-7-’21 on Amazon Prime Video.