If Toofaan was a web series, it could well have arrived in two seasons. Reason behind that this film is practically two stories told back to back. Yes, when it comes to a sports hero then it is expected that he would rise from the ashes, take a fall and then rise again. However, what happens if there are not but two major dips in the life story of a sports star who was a ‘bhai’ to begin with and then graduated to being a failed and then a hailed hero? This is what makes this Farhan Akhtar and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra an engrossing watch.
First half of the film is flawless and also uniformly entertaining. The whole ‘bhaigiri’ aspect reminds one of Amitabh Bachchan’s act in yesteryear films like Amar Akbar Anthony and Naseeb. Moreover, it’s nice to see Farhan Akhtar in an avtar which is a far cry from the posh urban roles that he has played in the past. Moreover, I was pleasantly surprised to see a love story been integrated so very well into the narrative and actually been the driving force. To be honest, I had expected it to be superficial and merely ‘placed’ in there since there has to be a hero-heroine angle but as the movie progressed, it was apparent that the romantic quotient was there for a reason.
So far so good as the whole training sequence followed by the rise in the boxing arena manages to hold you well and while you know that there would be something that would detail this progress, when the moment arrives then you are indeed shocked. This is what makes the interval point quite exciting because in the running duration of 2 hours and 40 minutes, there is still over an hour and 15 minutes of storytelling left.
In the second half though, there is this 20-25 minutes in the middle of it which is just about okay. Yes, there is a major turn of events which is shocking again but then the pace slows down considerably at this point. Even the grand daughter angle doesn’t quite entertain and I wonder if this could well have been done away with. Moreover, there are too many songs in this part of the film, most of them being slow moving, which makes the pace sluggish.
However, things get back in track yet again in the last 30-35 minutes and this is where the fun part is. Yes, what happens next is predictable of course, but then it is cinematically liberating too, just as a commercial film is ought to be. As a result, eventually it all turns out to be very satisfactory!!!
From the technical standpoint, the film scores quite well on the boxing front. Right from amateur arena to the training that follows to the big stage that Farhan eventually gets, the proceedings are elevated quite well due to set design, sound design, cinematography, edit pattern and overall background score coming together. The songs are by large ordinary but the rap song, both during the first half of the film, the second half and then the end credits is very entertaining.
As the central protagonist, Farhan Akhtar has done amazing. He is so convincing in 4-5 different looks that he carries in the film. After Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, this is yet another convincing act from him in a part where he has to go through an excruciating journey. Mrunal Thakur is adorable and it’s good to see her finally get an author backed part where she justifies all the substance in her characterisation. Paresh Rawal is quite good and breaks the stereotype of a typical coach that one otherwise sees. Hussain Dalal is fun to watch while Mohan Agashe brings all his experience into play.
Overall, Rakeysh Mehra has delivered a major winner. He is so much in form here. Along with his editor, he has done well to tell this lengthy tale convincingly which shows that he had good content to be narrated entertainingly. He has made a film that unfolds like an epic and goes beyond the conventional. He has made a film that entertains right through and delivers a punch. Pun intended!