By Linus Garg
First publised on 2021-07-16 14:17:49
Toofan's (streaming on Prime Video) storyline is nothing great - the done to death tale of an underprivileged underdog coming up trumps does not excite anymore. But the film is lifted a few notches by deft handling and consummate acting by Farhan Akhtar, Paresh Rawal, Mrunal Thakur and Hussain Dalal.
When Aziz Ali (Farhan Akhtar), who does small time bhai-giri for local on Jaffar bhai (Vijay Raaz in a special appearance), gets hurt in a scrap and visits the local hospital, he finds that doctor Ananya Prabhu (Mrunal Thakur) is not impresse with his brawn and calls him an extortionist and shows his the door as it is a charity hospital for the poor and not for goons. Aziz says he has no choice but she tells him everyone has choices, it is just that they choose wrongly.
Aziz goes to the local boxing club and takes up boxing. Farhan Akhtar does the training scenes brilliantly and his six-packs are impressive. But to get serious, he has to go to coach Nana Prabhu (Paresh Rawal) who turns out to be Ananyaâs father. But Aziz is not aware of this. Nana holds a grudge against the Muslims as his wife was killed in a terror bombing and tells Aziz that Dongri and Dubai are same. He starts coaching him when he sees the fire inside the man.
The first twist comes when Aziz gets his boxing licence and tells Jaffar bhai that he will not work for him anymore. Unlike other movies, here Jaffar lets him go to pursue his dreams. Coach Nana trains him well and soon, Aziz becomes the state champion. Nana hails him as Toofan. But when Nana comes to know that Aziz is in love with his daughter, he abuses him, accuses him of love jihad and throws him out. Ananya leaves her father and moves in with Aziz. But they are not allowed to live in the Muslim locality until Ananya converts. So they start looking for a flat but no society is willing to let out to an inter-faith couple. Flats which they can get are for a huge deposit and rent.
Meanwhile, Aziz goes for the national championship without Nana. There, his friend Munna (Hussain Dalal) hooks him up with a bookie and they take Rs 12 lakh to lose the final bout. But the federation finds out and he loses his licence for 5 years. Aziz and Ananya marry, have a daughter but Nana does not accept them. Aziz settles into the business of running a car hiring agency and everything is going well until a letter from the federation on completion of his ban makes Ananya prod him to take up boxing again. Aziz refuses but Ananya pesters him an at last he agrees. But Ananya dies when a footbridge collapses and Aziz is devastated. Still he trains hard in her memory.
The climax has other twists when a boxer Aziz defeated earlier, who is now a judge with the federation, sets up the referee against him to make him lose in the semi-finals of the national championships. Nana, meanwhile, has reconciled with his grand-daughter and goes to Delhi to expose the judge, reverse the decision of the semi-final and make Aziz win the championship.
Although predictable, viewers will like the small twists which make the film different. Farhan Akhtar is outstanding as Aziz, although he looks aged and tired in the initial scenes. Mrunal Thakur supports him well. The role of the 'khadoos' coach has been played umpteen times by many actors but Paresh Rawal plays it with an understated gravity to make it refreshing. The movie has been shot well and the title song is peppy. At 2 hours 41 minutes the movie is a tad long, but it does not bore the viewers.