From the director who landed Farhan Akhtar’s first sports drama in 2013 with ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra now steps into the ring with Akhtar again with ‘Toofaan’, the highly anticipated story of a national level boxer. The almost three-hour-long movie also stars Mrunal Thakur and Paresh Rawal in supporting roles.
The movie delivers an endorphin-packed performance with sheer emotional depth, and with real life cues added to the story to make it look closer to non-fiction, we are greeted with Mehra’s classic narrative structure of sticking to reality as much as possible.
The film introduces Akhtar to us as Aziz (with the nickname of Ajju Bhai), a streetfighter working as an extortionist for a local gangster. Spotted by one of his friends at a local training school for boxers, Aziz soon realises his calling in life, to box. To be fair, he already had the strength and the muscles to pull it off, but that’s where the movie unpeels different layers of the sport. ‘Toofaan’ goes on to exhibit how boxing is much more than a physical sport; it doesn’t just warrant a great body and the ability to draw blood. It requires form, technique, dedication and perseverance to beat your opponent in the ring, and it’s what promises to bring utmost respect and glory.
The love story in the film manages to get equal attention to Aziz’s punches. Making a Muslim lad fall in love with a Hindu girl, (portrayed by the brilliant Thakur) and the very real problems they face while house-hunting in Mumbai makes your skin crawl and sigh at the embarrassing reality of our so-called progressive society. Although it balances the prejudice by inserting a backstory, perfunctorily justifying that people are prisoners of their own minds.
We also see Rawal playing the role of Aziz’s hot-headed, almost pragmatic coach, Nana Prabhu. Prabhu likes to train the best boxers in India by day and discuss religious standpoints by night over drinks. His puissant representation in the film takes a backseat when he voices his bigoted opinions, eventually disowning his Hindu daughter for falling in love with his Muslim student.
‘Toofaan’ is a movie with a strong backstory, and its spine is a boxer who emerges victorious in life as a true champion. His personal trials and tribulations lead him to the ring, where he understands what it takes to rise like a phoenix in life after being beaten down to death.
Another feather in the cap of Mehra-Akhtar duo!