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Toofan Review: Farhan Akhtar Packs A Punch!

By Sonia Chopra

Movie Title: Toofan

Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra

Star Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Mrunal Thakur, Paresh Rawal

If there’s any actor who’s been consistently flawless in every role, it’s Farhan Akhtar.

Here too, you tend to ignore how predictable the film is, because Akhtar’s dedication to his craft shines through in every scene. One wishes the film would keep up, though.

The underdog, the personal tragedy, trials and tribulations, the training montage, the supportive circle, the every-sports-film finale— Toofan has all these cliches and more.

Small-time gangster Aziz Ali (Farhan Akhtar), known for his strong punches in street fights, is inspired to take up boxing after seeing a pic of Muhammad Ali.

Once he makes up his mind, there’s no stopping him. He practices with such dedication, he manages to convince sought-after coach Narayan Prabhu (Paresh Rawal) to take him on as a student.

Prabhu is blatantly prejudiced towards Muslims, and sneaks in his Islamophobic thoughts in casual conversations. He may be bigoted, but deep down values humanity.

While he won’t even order from a Muslim-owned restaurant, he believes in Aziz’s potential as a boxer and chooses to train him over the others.

‘So, isn’t boxing your religion then?’ asks his well-meaning friend who constantly disagrees with his biased statements.

But things take a turn when Aziz falls for Ananya (Mrunal Thakur) a Hindu doctor working at a charitable institution. We aren’t told much about her character other than her profession and that she pairs gajjar halwa with vanilla ice cream.

The purpose of her character is pretty much summed up in the dialogue where claims it’s her dream that Aziz become a celebrated boxer.

Which is great, except that we know nothing of her own interests or ambitions as well. Terms like ‘love jihaad’ are discussed and the film shows that prejudices exist on all sides. In a pivotal scene, Aziz refuses his neighbours’ diktat that Ananya convert to their faith and change her name.

Their relationship too is dealt mostly with sensitivity— showing their love, compatibility and light-hearted banter (except the unforgivable scene where he almost slaps her).

Hidden prejudices showing up in the professional space and the struggles an inter-faith couple goes through for something as basic as finding a home are aptly portrayed.

The film takes you back to numerous films from Rocky to Bhaag Milkha Bhaag to Sultan.

You also think back to Gully Boy with the rap songs and Vijay Maurya’s Mumbai slang-induced dialogue.

Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra keeps the pace surprisingly measured for a sports film. Clocking in at almost 3 hours, this one occasionally tests your patience.

The formulaic story and gratuitous runtime are downsides. But Farhan Akhtar’s masterful act and a few heartfelt moments somewhat hold the film together. (Courtesy:

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