What is the story about?
The film dives into the rise, fall and comeback of street brawler Aziz Ali as a boxing champion.
Toofaan is a boxing-drama film you've seen before. The emotional highs and staggering lows a boxer can face have been done multiple times in the past, from Raging Bull to Ali. In India, creditable attempts in this genre have happened with Sudha Kongara's Irudhi Suttru and Anurag Kashyap's Mukkabaaz. Toofaan, however, lies somewhere between Mukkabaaz and Sultan as a sports drama. The boxing sequences and training montages all feel lifted from other movies, and director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra can't replicate the electricity he created in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag here.
Yet, Anjum Rajabali's screenplay shines in the dramatic portions, especially with regard to life outside the boxing ring. Nationalism, Islamophobia, poverty, class struggles and ego fights all converge in spectacular--often unwieldy--fashion in those portions, and the characters and struggles of Aziz and his beleaguered coach Nana Prabhu are engaging to watch. These portions are the major reason why Toofaan is worth sitting through, in spite of its 161-minute runtime.
Farhan Akhtar sheds a lot of sweat and blood throughout the film, and it shows in his performance and boy language. Paresh Rawal is very good as Aziz's coach, Nana Prabhu. In fact, it would not be wrong to call him the second hero of this film. Mrunal Thakur, however, gets short shirft, as her character, Ananya, is not well-developed beyond a point. Hussain Dalal and Supriya Pathak provide good support as Munna and Mrs. D'Souza. Other cast members, such as Mohan Agashe, Vijay Raaz and Darshan Kumaar are decent in their roles.
The dramatic sequences are terrific. Farhan Akhtar and Paresh Rawal's performances are good.
Certain sequences stick out like a sore thumb. For instance, the entire sequence involving Dharmesh patil's diabolical plan in the end seems tacked on to the screenplay as a convenience.
Did I enjoy it?
It's engaging in parts.
Do I recommend it?
You can give this a one-time watch for Farhan Akhtar.