We’ve seen quite a few sports dramas release in the recent past, and from the first looks of it, Farhan Akhtar and Rakesh Omprakash Mehra’s Toofan looked very similar to Salman Khan’s Sultan. Their last collaboration, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was a sports drama as well, but it was a biography of the great Milkha Singh, which gave it the edge. But this time around, all we get is a boring drama.
Written by Anjum Rajabali, Toofan is a potpourri of Hollywood and Bollywood movies. He basically picked the storyline from the Rocky franchise and put it the mixer with some tadka. Right from the word go, it gives you the feeling that you’ve already seen this somewhere. And the feeling doesn’t end even after a wrenching 2 hour 40 minute drag. As you’ve seen in the trailer, Aziz Ali is an extortionist, who discovers boxing overnight after watching a few videos of Muhammad Ali on YouTube, and becomes and becomes a state champion after 5 fights (wish life were so easy!). Supporting him through this journey are his doctor cum love interest Ananya Prabhu, and a khadoos coach Nana Prabhu (Wait, are they related?). You know what happens next; add an orphanage, some bigotry, love jihad, ban for 5 years, a daughter, a death, a comeback, an erstwhile opponent who becomes an evil boxing federation official, some melodrama, and a final bout with a maniac on steroids. Did I divulge too much?
It felt like Mehra and Akhtar were bored out of their minds and decided to rehash Bhaag Milkha Bhaag just for the heck of it. The training montage, the background score, the acting, the direction, all the same. Every time I heard “Toofan” in the background, “Zinda” was playing in my head. Okay, maybe this one has a different storyline, but it’s so god damn predictable and stereotypical. The unnecessary and illogical twists don’t help. It’s such lousy writing that they couldn’t even find a good reason to kill one of the characters (stampede on a Railway station, really?). Direction by Mehra is meh, screenplay by Rajabali is mediocre, and some of the dialogues by Vijay Maurya are, how to say this, uncalled for. Enough said.
Akhtar, as you’d expect, puts in all his effort to become a lean boxer, not once but twice. He’s good, but there’s nothing new in his acting. Paresh Rawal looks odd as a boxing coach, but is at home playing a bigoted character. Hussain Dalal is alright, Vijay Raaz and Supriya Pathak are wasted. Mrunal Thakur is probably the only saving grace. With a meaty role as Ananya, she does justice. The kid is good.
Music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy is decent. The title track, (if you forget its similarities to “Zinda”) is good, Purvaiya is neat. Todun Taak composed by Dub Sharma is groovy. All songs in the movie play in the background but for “Star hai tu” seemed odd on screen as the voices didn’t fit, especially with Akhtar. Cinematography by Jay Oza is neat. The boxing fights are well choreographed but don’t have any oomph factor associated with them. Editing by Meghna Manchanda Sen could have been better. There was no need for this movie to stretch for an eternity.
Is it worth your time and money?: As I said before, Toofan happens to be a potpourri of a dozen or so movies and offers nothing new. Sports dramas are to create an adrenaline rush that makes you root for the protagonist. But here, forget rush, you know the result of the fights even before they start. You may watch it at your leisure given that it’s on Prime, but I’ve given you enough head’s up, so don’t blame me later.
Worth mention: Mrunal Thakur?
Technical Aspects: 7/10