And the Weekend Biggie is here! Sports as a genre is very limited for cinephiles, especially because of so much content that is consumed. The beats of a sports drama are usually very predictable. It is only once it a while that you get to witness iconic sports dramas like Lagaan and Chak De India that turn theatres(yes, erstwhile) into stadiums. So when it was announced a couple of years back that Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra and Farhan Akhtar are collaborating once again after the stupendous Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, for a sports drama, I was naturally excited. But I was a little underwhelmed with its trailer which seemed to reveal the entire story in it. But like always, I watched the movie Toofan on Amazon Prime with an open mind. Did it pack a punch, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Toofaan is the story of Aziz Ali from the slums who turns to professional boxing. It is his journey filled with obstacles that makes for the entire film. The story is truly outdated even if you look from a standpoint of sports as a genre. The typical underdog story is done and dusted so many times. Infact, this movie gives you vibes of Gully Boy meeting Sultan. In other words, nothing novel in the story. The screenplay is predictable although watchable. You exactly know how the story will unfold. The first half is breezy although the transformation journey(also in the second half) should have been inspiring(remember Bhaag Milkha Bhaag?). The real issue begins in the second half that begins to stretch. It is here where a few minutes could have been chopped off on the edit table to reduce the length of 161 minutes which was a bit too much for a sports film. Though there are a couple of twists, at least one of which I did not see it coming, the drama is as predictable as the multiplication table of 3. I also had an issue with the way the conflicts were portrayed. Any conflict in one scene would be resolved in the very next scene. Some issues like communalism were good and handled well too, however, the resolution should have been slightly better. On the plus side, the fight sequences in the ring are nice picturized and ooze of a lot of style. They also seem quite real. But overall, predictable is the word for the screenplay.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues here are outstanding and instantly catch your attention. The music is fabulous and one of the heroes of the film. The BGM is quite good too. Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra who has films like Rang De Basanti and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag to his credit has done a decent job. His direction is more old school here, but with a predictable script, he has done a pretty good job.
The performances are excellent but I do feel sad for talented actors like Vijay Raaz and Supriya Pathak, both of who have been wasted in their miniscule roles particularly the former. Hussain Dalal as Munna is such a natural onscreen and gives vibes of MC Sher from Gully Boy(while Vijay Raaz gave vibes of Moeen). Darshan Kumaar as Dharmesh is impressive in a cameo. Paresh Rawal as Nana Prabhu is fabulous. It was such a pleasure to watch him in a full fledged role after so long. Mrunal Thakur as Ananya looks so cute with a charming smile. She looks at ease and this is another step in the right direction for her. Farhan Akhtar as Aziz Ali is the soul of Toofaan. Even though his accent is a suspect(more so in his transformation), it is evident that he has put his blood and sweat in this role. He is tasked with shouldering the film and he does a good job with it.
Toofaan is a predictable sports drama with some good performances but the unimaginative and cliched writing lets the film down. Dare I say, this would have been a better experience in a theatre rather than in our homes. Available on Amazon Prime.