There are two stereotypical narratives out there juxtapositioned laboriously. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra seems to savour long-drawn narratives and, thereby, a tad out of sync with contemporary patience. Our “sport pics” tell a predictable pattern. It is invariably about one from the most unlikely backdrop getting introduced to the game – hardships at training, a tough coach, a hard road of training, the initial rejection, and then a finale of success and nothing thereafter!
This straight-line narrative robs the viewer of any novelty. Add to this the tale of inter-community love story and parental refusal, and you have even the underlying story too predictable for curiosity. How then should the filmmaker still get you around to ensure some interest? Cut off the long length of the narrative. Here too, the team fails.
Aziz Ali (Farhan Akhtar) is an orphan reared and plummeted into the world of crime. He is taken care of by and reports to the local Don (Vijay Raaz). He runs into Dr Ananya (Mrunal Thakur) who works for a local dispensary and refuses to deal with goons. However, medical assistance comes to him in the form of the local nurse Ms. D’Souza (Supriya Pathak) – a take-off from Lalita Pawar in Anari or even Anand.
Aziz Ali learns his pugilist skill sets from the unwilling coach Nana Prabhu (Paresh Rawal). Nana has a communal prejudice since his wife was a victim to a bomb blast. He opposes the match and the daughter is forced to leave behind her home and dad. Soon, tragedy strikes when Aziz is charged and convicted for match-fixing and kept away from the game for a period of five years. His return after the five-year break is punctuated with multiple taunts and challenges of return and repute.
Mehra and Farhan have done a sport film together before and this, perhaps, indicates the choice of Farhan to be the central character. In fact, the support cast tries hard. For instance, Mohan Agashe and Supriya Pathak are so naturally comfortable in clichéd roles that you feel a tad sorry for them. Paresh Rawal seems out of touch, and his limp and growl don’t do the character any further good notwithstanding that the character has enough flesh.
Yet again, the heroine is a space filler pushed in for the odd song and some light romance. Her character, too, is so woefully underwritten. The central character is Farhan and is surely an intelligent and honest actor. Both physically and emotionally, he gives the script everything and breathes credibility as much as he can. Even in the lighter moments of the film, like the Begani Shaadi Mein Abdullah Deewana number, he does a very credible job.
Toofaan is without much velocity or intensity. Farhan is the lone bright spot. Rakesh Mehra needs to take a serious relook at his style and content or risk his repute. Mild Toofaan this!
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