• Platform: Amazon prime Videos
  • Release Date: 16/07/2021
  • Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Mrunal Thakur, Paresh Rawal, Vijay Raaz, Darshan Kumaar
  • Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra

When a film is evidently confused between being two things at the same time, it is almost certain that it will not be good at either. This is exactly the case with Toofaan, a film that has bankable actors performing well but has no have support from the screenplay and the treatment that is at the core of it. Aziz Ali (Farhan Akhtar) is a goon who works for a local gangster (Vijay Raaz) and is happy toggling between beating people to pulp and doing his share of philanthropy. Aziz is introduced to boxing by happenstance and then suddenly discovers a hidden passion for it. His urge for boxing is catapulted by a pretty doctor, Ananya who appeals to the nobler side of Aziz’s personality. 

Aziz finds an Islamaphobic yet fair coach in Nana Prabhu (Paresh Rawal) who despite his hatred for the Muslim community decides to coach Aziz. The two meet with unprecedented success in each other’s company. In the meantime, Aziz and Ananya keep crossing paths and eventually fall in love. On the day that Aziz wins the Maharashtra state boxing championship and becomes the darling of his coach, Nana Prabhu learns that Aziz is actually dating his daughter Ananya Prabhu. He viciously lashes out at both resulting in his daughter leaving her father — who she promised never to abandon a few scenes ago — in a matter of seconds. She walks in with Aziz and the two eventually get married. Things turn interesting when Aziz is implicated in throwing a boxing match and his license is suspended for 5 years. The rest of the film is about questions like; will Aziz Ali the boxer get back in the ring? Will Nana Prabhu accept Ananya and Aziz’s marriage? How will Aziz dig himself out of the rut that he had burrowed himself in?   

Toofaan is not only the most generic film that one could have imagined in this genre but is also excruciatingly boring and unnecessarily drawn out. The film’s runtime is nearly 2 hours and 41 minutes and out of that, the film spends a lot of time on unnecessary and torturous romantic exchanges and repetitive training montages. Montages that we have seen so many times before that we can practically predict every move of the actors. It also doesn’t help that the film is confused between being a sports drama and a tragic love story that pits the love birds against the religious bigotry of society.

While the first half of the film documents Aziz Ali’s tryst with boxing and is mostly about him learning to love the sport and making it his life, the second half robs him quickly of it and turns him into a man who just wants to pass his days and is happy to do so since he has Ananya in his life. The problem is that the relationship between the two is never built up well enough to justify Aziz Ali leaving boxing and yet being content with Just Ananya to call his world.

The same can be said about the soured relationship between Ananya and her father Nana Prabhu. The duo is built up as the most organic and loving father-daughter duo but in a matter of a scene, Ananya is shown walking out on her father and she doesn’t even try to convince him about her relationship with Aziz. She is totally ok with marrying and living with Aziz and is not shown giving a damn about her old and ailing father. She comes to him just once for reconciliation after her daughter is born but that’s the limit of her efforts to convince her father. This lack of empathy and apathy shown by the character makes it highly unlikeable and ruins the effect of the tragedy that is shown to befall the character later in the film. Thus the emotion that forms the axis of the meteoric rise of Aziz Ali due to this very tragedy is liquidated. 

The portions involving the boxing bits were just as poorly done. How Aziz Ali gets back to boxing after 5 years and the ease with which he is shown beating every fighter, first in the beginning and then again at the end of the film was laughable. It took away any seriousness that was left in the narrative and it became just another predictable and monotonous journey through poorly executed action sequences to the point where the hero would throw his fist in the air signaling his win over one and all. The funniest part was that Aziz Ali prepared for his final tournament without the help of the coach who was regarded as being instrumental in his earlier success. He even loses the Semi-Final bout but is then allowed in the final because one of the officials cheated to ensure his loss owing to an old grudge. All this is just atrocious and makes a mockery of a film that is already overstaying its welcome.

The performances by Farhan Akhtar, Paresh Rawal, and Mrunal Thakur are fine but they cannot save their respective characters from the atrocious writing. The characters are never able to rise above the pretentious and boring drama that they are forced to be a part of and that handicaps the well-meaning performances from the ensemble cast. There are a few bright sparks in the camaraderie between Farhan Akhtar and Mrunal Thakur but they are too few and too far apart to leave any sustainable impact. Paresh Rawal sleepwalks through his role and leaves very little impact. I am not blaming him for his lack of interest as his character deserved nothing more than what he gave it in terms of respect and performance. Probably it deserved less.

Toofaan fails to be a sports film. Toofan fails to be a romantic film. Toofaan fails to be a social commentary. What it ends up being is a 2 hour 41 minutes long roller coaster ride that is devoid of any thrill or shocks and that makes it an intolerable experience. Save yourself from this torture and instead go for the much better Maalik on Amazon Prime videos.

Rating: 2/5 (2 out of 5 Stars)

Also read: Notable works of Surekha Sikri: Remembering the famous dadisa

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