Toofan Movie Review Rating: 2.5/5 (Two And A Half Star)

Star Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Mrunal Thakur, Paresh Rawal, Supriya Pathak, Vijay Raaz, Hussain Dalal, Mohan Agashe, and ensemble.

Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra

A rags-to-riches story is certain to make you cry, and it's even better when the rag-wearing gentleman is a Hindi-speaking, slum-dwelling Indian. If you're still asking, consider the eight-time Oscar winner "Slumdog Millionaire.”

Why only mock Danny Boyle for plagiarising India's plight and presenting it to a worldwide audience? Bollywood filmmakers have milked that cliche for as long as anybody can remember—albeit with a few rehashes in the underlying premise, if at all—and made their way into the halls of countless award events, some well-deserved, others not so much.

This year, repeating that cycle of cinematic revisionism is Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, with his latest sports drama ‘Toofaan’.

The surprising but necessary conclusion about Mehra's filmography is that he is a storyteller who is always at the extremes of the film spectrum—you either get a 'Rang De Basanti' or a 'Mirzya'; there is no middle way.

He has unfortunately leaned towards the latter with ‘Toofan.’

What begins as a Dongri's 'gunda-mawali' Ajju Bhai alias Aziz Ali (Farhan Akhtar) extorting money before realising his actual purpose in life is boxing, ends up as an appeal for communal harmony and an exposé within India's boxing federation.

Then there's the forced-down-your-throat romance between pro-choice Ananya Prabhu (Mrunal Thakur) and ‘The Storm' himself.

The film's momentum drops early on, with a hasty revival provided by a pleasant Farhan's easy-on-the-eye screen presence, only to fall flat seconds later.

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The dialogues appear to be the worst of all the things that could have gone wrong—and have gone wrong with this sports drama/social satire. What were writers Vijay Maurya and Anjum Rajabali thinking when they wrote these archaic, 90s-style dialogues: “Naali main pada hua mila tha (I found you in a ditch)”, “tereko slap degi main (loosely translates to: I shall slap you)”, among other equally melodramatic sentences that the actors mouth.

The (unaccredited) background score comes in second, with 80s Bollywood-style melancholy in dramatic parts and over-the-top glee in heroic moments.

Mrunal Thakur is a pleasant presence in the film—sans the put-on colloquial Mumbaiya accent—and she tries to have the kind of chemistry with Farhan that his previous female protagonists, Sonam Kapoor and co., did, but the two have very little chemistry going on between them and it translates on screen.

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This isn't 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' (again, by Mehra), and Farhan is well aware of that. He keeps a firm grip on his character and adapts his approach to the constantly shifting plot, but the storey of ‘Toofaan' is beyond restoration, brilliant acting or not.

This isn't 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' (again, by Mehra), and Farhan is well aware of that. He keeps a firm grip on his character and adapts his approach to the constantly shifting plot, but the storey of ‘Toofaan' is beyond restoration, brilliant acting or not.

Coach Nanu Prabhu is played by Paresh Rawal, who is more famous for his free-ka-gyaan than for the character he was recruited to play. The use of big, bombastic words is effective but do not make up for the lack of depth in his character.

At the risk of seeming overly analytical, we'll say that 'Toofaan' is a mash-up of 'Panga,' 'Dangal,' Mehra's own brilliant 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag,' and every other sports drama/rags-to-riches/road-to-redemption story you can think of. And it's heartbreaking because a good director fails due to insipidity.Although main starcast did perform well but these good performers go unnoticed.


Nobody knows how Aziz Ali became ‘toofaan' (splash/storm) in such a short period of time—a parallel character even compares him to Muhammad Ali twice!—but it isn't the Oscar-winning ‘Million Dollar' film. Well Toofan movie is now available on Amazon prime, so enjoy the movie.

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