Starring in his own production, Farhan Akhtar plays a fictional gangster turned national-level boxing champion Aziz Ali who is inspired by (and compared to) Muhammad Ali. “Toofaan” is the story of how Aziz goes through life, fighting against all odds to become the champion his wife Ananya dreamt he would become one day.
When Aziz meets Ananya (Mrunal Thakur), she encourages him to quit his dishonorable life and work towards becoming an honest and respected boxer. Aziz belongs to a lower-class Muslim community in Mumbai and convinces the best boxing coach in the city, Nana Prabhu (Paresh Rawal), to train him. Nana Prabhu is a staunch Hindu who is still grieving his wife’s loss who died in a terrorist attack leading him to have strong Islamophobic sentiments. When he finds out that his best student who happens to be Muslim is dating his own daughter, he banishes them both from his life.
The film takes a significant turn at this point and focuses more on the social handicap still faced widely in the Indian community of not accepting inter-religious couples. Aziz and Ananya struggle to find a place to live that would allow both of them to be together and accept them for who they are. Eventually, the film gets back to its main focus of Aziz and his boxing championships.
Farhan Akhtar does a genuine job in portraying his character including learning the art of boxing, going through clearly visible weight gain and loss for this film, and building quite the physique for which he underwent training for 19 months.
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Despite having some of Bollywood’s finest actors including Paresh Rawal, Supriya Pathak, Farhan Akhtar, and Vijay Raaz, “Toofaan” fails to create a strong impact on its audiences. The direction by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and cinematography by Jay Oza are also on point in creating good watchable content. Where the movie lacks is its story. An unoriginal concept or storyline, the film looks like it was made in 2016 right when other popular fighting sports movies were being churned out of Bollywood, including “Sultan” and “Dangal.”
Overall an average watch and over two hours long, “Toofaan” can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video or entirely skipped, and you wouldn’t have missed much.
Consultant by day and professional dancer on weekends, Neha loves going to the movies and has a not-so-secret crush on Hrithik Roshan!