Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Starring: Farhan Akhtar, Mrunal Thakur, Paresh Rawal, Vijay Raaz & Supriya Pathak
Written by: Anjum Rajabali and Vijay Maurya
Dialogue: Vijay Maurya
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video
TOOFAN is the story of a street brawler who becomes a boxer. Aziz Ali aka Ajju (Farhan Akhtar) is an orphan who was raised by Jafar Bhai (Vijay Raaz). He lives in Dongri with his friend Munna (Hussain Dalal) and both of them do the dirty work for Jafar bhai. One day while thrashing a restaurant owner (Imran Rashid) over a feud with Jafar bhai, Aziz gets injured. Hence he goes to a government hospital to get treated. There he comes across Dr. Ananya Prabhu (Mrunal Thakur) who ousts him after learning he’s a goon. But later realizes that he has a good heart when he sees him buying stuff for orphanage kids. In an aggressive encounter at a gym where athletes are training to be boxers, Aziz gets into a brawl with one of them and instead gets lauded for his strength and that’s when he realizes that he has a penchant for boxing. That’s when he began his training, but he still continues to work for Jafar Bhai. One day Ananya witnesses him forcefully evicting a merchant from his shop, Ananya stops him and shouts at him that he should focus on boxing. He agrees with her. That’s when the merchant takes him to Nana Prabhu (Paresh Rawal). Nana asks him to fight one of his students. He loses and that’s when he asks Nana to train him. Nana refuses because of his Muslim identity. Aziz goes back to Ananya to get treated for his wounds and tells her how he met Nana who refused to take him on as his student, without realizing that Ananya is Aziz’s daughter. Soon after Nana agrees to train him and turns him into a world class boxer. Aziz also gets selected for the state championship where he manages to defeat a seasoned player, Dharmesh Patil (Darshan Kumaar). This is also the time when Aziz starts dating Ananya. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
The story has potential, but that same potential doesn’t translate into a good film. When we see great films we think how every frame is a painting, but when we see films like TOOFAN we think where have I seen that before? It feels like an amalgamation of several things we have seen before and packed into a film like a college project which has been due. The story of an underdog trying to come up in the world is filled with potential but this film is marred by things that are given more importance than that. We see brawns in the film and unfortunately, no brains. To top it, being a sports film, it lacks passion too. This TOOFAN doesn’t stir up a storm.
Technically, the film is good. Cinematography by Jay Oza is brilliant. He captures the fight sequences brilliantly and also elevates the impact of certain scenes. Another disappointment about the film is the music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy which has been below par. They have EIGHT songs in total and NONE are memorable. Editing by Meghna Manchanda Sen is below average because the duration is more than it should have been, on top should have at least cut out some songs from the film, if nothing else. The production design and costume design are great and come off in a realistic manner.
Performances are somewhat of a saving grace for the film. Farhan Akhtar is fantastic in his portrayal of Aziz. He put a lot of work into his role and it shows. Mrunal Thakur has an important role to play and she does a fine job. To top it, she has an endearing screen presence. Paresh Rawal steps out of his comfort zone a little with this one but doesn’t let it show. He delivers a strong performance here and does it with ease. Vijay Raaz brings his best as usual, but he has been wasted, as he doesn’t have a lot to do in the film. Supriya Pathak is fine. The rest of the cast offer good support.
The direction would have been fine, if it wasn’t Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra because that’s his caliber and there’s certain expectations from him which he fails to deliver on.