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Toofaan review: Farhan Akhtar movie pops with smart jabs, ends with a satisfying punch

Toofaan film forged: Farhan Akhtar, Paresh Rawal, Mrunal Thakur, Hussain Dalal, Mohan Agashe, Vijay Raaz, Supriya Pathak, Darshan Kumar
Toofaan film director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Toofaan film ranking: 3.5 stars

‘Toofaan’ is your underprivileged-underdog-to-boxing-champion story whose arc is totally predictable, however what makes this movie such an gratifying watch is the way in which it has been written and carried out. You recognize precisely the place it should go, however the journey pops with good feints and jabs, and ends with a satisfying punch.

Given the utter banality of current Bollywood outings, I’d given up hope of assembly a well-done mainstream movie the place every acquainted ingredient is marinated simply so. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra doesn’t pull again from style components, however attire them up with sufficient confidence and freshness for us to root for Aziz Ali aka Ajju Bhai, performed with nice brio by Farhan Akhtar.

Our Dongri-ka-small-time-vasooli-bhai goes about doing ‘phoda-phodi’ (in common Hindi, it might be ‘maar-peet’; mainly, it quantities to beating up individuals unable to pay their hire or ‘hafta’, alongside together with his loyal pal-cum-roommate (Hussain Dalal, excellent, giving an edge to the usual BFF position). Akhtar begins with a bit of further swagger and mumble, however quickly settles into it, tight pants-belt-tee to the fore.

From right here on, you’ll be able to see what’s arising a mile off. A meet-cute with fairly native physician Ananya (Mrunal Thakur, perky, likeable) will result in, sure, a flutter of hearts. An encounter with powerful, irascible coach Nana Prabhu (Paresh Rawal) will result in Aziz being put by means of his paces, and reaching the ring, the hallowed place for all aspiring boxers.

That is the place writers Anjum Rajabali and Vijay Maurya (props to the latter for the dialogues, particularly the rat-a-tat ‘tapori’ strains) start inserting twists. Prabhu is a proud Hindu who’s satisfied that there’s no distinction between ‘Dongri and Dubai’. Calling his uber-talented Musalmaan pupil an unstoppable ‘toofaan’ is one factor; embracing him as an individual is unthinkable. The show-me-how-hard-you-can-work-and-then-we’ll-talk grouchy coach is such a drained trope, from ‘Rocky’ to ‘Million Greenback Child’ to our personal ‘Saala Khadoos’, however Paresh Rawal effortlessly freshens it and makes it his personal. Mohan Agashe, as his fixed companion and outdated buddy who gently steers him in direction of one other mind-set, is a pleasant contact. The veteran actor is usually a little underlined, however right here he doesn’t put a foot fallacious. Just a little lady reveals up, and he or she is, thank the lord, not cutesy.

There are some things that stick in your craw. Right here comes Aziz, starting to be taught the ropes, and right here comes a primer: ‘boxing ek nasha hai; boxing mein six punches hotey hain’ and so on and anon. Please, no. After which there are the songs. Too many songs, stuffed too shut within the second half. Additionally, giving a personality an excessive amount of time to spew bigotry earlier than he sees the sunshine is a tough enterprise; really, utilizing the time period ‘love jihad’ for Aziz and Ananya might properly be the one factor true bigots might take away. And whereas it’s nice to have main males taking part in Muslim characters, I’m ready for a courageous Bollywood movie that can break free from the poor-but-talented slumboy (Ranveer Singh in ‘Gully Boy’) kind. Nonetheless, an Aziz-and-Ananya is a job properly begun.

It’s Farhan as ‘Toofaan-the-new-Muhammad-Ali’ who is totally convincing, each as a novice who’s a quick learner, and the dejected warhorse who comes up trumps. He’s labored with Mehra earlier than, in ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, and whereas he seemed each inch a runner, just a few false notes have been certain to creep in when you’re making an attempt to dramatize the lifetime of a beloved sports activities icon (I nonetheless haven’t forgotten my dropped jaw at Farhan’s Milkha cavorting with an Australian blonde).

As Toofaan, Farhan’s footwork is bang on, whether or not it’s within the stroppy romance with a woman far faraway from his station, the spectacular glistening-muscles-straining-in-training scenes, the skilful jousting, full with the spray of blood, rattled tooth and swollen eye, through the bouts. It’s his recreation, and he’s on high.

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