wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)
Romance against many odds. An underdog story which, by definition, is against all odds. A comment on societal rivalries. None of the themes is fresh. Unfortunately, they don’t make the whole better than the parts as they come together, despite being woven together well.
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Is it even a boxing film if the countdown doesn’t reach 9 before the almost knocked out player begins to rise up? Here Aziz Ali, aka Toofan, is up at 7. And that is representative of the film, Toofan. You can predict what’s coming, even though it tries to be slightly different from what we are used to. Therefore, across all its themes—romance, sports, national integration—Toofan engages just about for you to confirm what you had expected to come true.
While the performances and the action are contributors, the number of themes and their interweaving play a major role too.
Once you know that you won’t be shown anything dramatically new, you will be keen to watch the film only if the performances, the sports action and the film’s ambience are interesting. Toofan delivers a decent show on all counts, but not a spectacular one.
Mrunal Thakur has an easy presence and leaves you with a warm feeling for her character, Ananya. Supriya Pathak and Mohan Agashe too create a charm whenever they are on screen. Paresh Rawal induces annoyance, which I assume was the intention of the character. You can’t shake out the knowledge that Farhan Akhtar is Aziz Ali for the first half-hour or so, but eventually, he gets in the groove. His act holds attention, particularly in the last 40-45 minutes of the film.
By then, though, two-thirds of the film has passed. One too many a song, one too many a dull sequence—mainly because you know what’s going to happen next—leave you only marginally engaged with the story. That could be considered the film’s win. Despite, the monotony it keeps you engaged, even if a bit. While the performances and the action are contributors, the number of themes and their interweaving play a significant role.
The question then is, can a film be watched just for how it weaves a few themes together? Are good intercutting, the music that plays to the beat of the boxing shots and such subtler aspects enough to make you spend 160 minutes on the film? Especially when it includes two training and romantic montages, each that have very little novel about them.
It did feel like the central theme is the Hindu-Muslim angle, and everything else is made to revolve around that. That is hardly trail-blazing. We have been seeing that for decades now, if not almost the whole century of Hindi cinema. Which makes it a shame that it is necessary, no?
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Vaishali Jain, India TV : ...When you first hear that a project brings together Farhan Akhtar and Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra which is billed as a sports film your mind instantly recalls the magic they created with Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Toofaan for sure doesn't match up to the brilliance the duo presented with the biopic. However, it's a feel good theatrical that you would have enjoyed watching in closed dark spaces of cinema halls munching on popcorns. You can still enjoy the film if you admire Bollywood, not sure if it can satiate your love for boxing though. You might go in for your love for Bollywood movies but you'll leave with an impressing note for Farhan and Mrunal.... full review
Thumbs up, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...As Toofaan, Farhan’s footwork is bang on, whether it is in the stroppy romance with a girl far removed from his station, the impressive glistening-muscles-straining-in-training scenes, the skilful jousting, complete with the spray of blood, rattled teeth and swollen eye, during the bouts. It is his game, and he is on top.... full review
Thumbs up, by Sushmita Sen, NewsBytes : ...However, until the second half of the movie, you may expect an interesting yet predictable ending, but the storyline fails to keep you hooked. The first half is fantastic though and Akhtar is brilliant in the film. He surely deserves extra points for his outstanding performance.... full review
Thumbs up, by Vaibhavi V Risbood, Pinkvilla : ...Despite the slacktivism over whether you should revenge-watch or totally ban Farhan Akhtar starrer Toofaan, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s film is a feel good sports drama that will keep you entertained. Honestly, the job of a critic is to judge whether a film merits the audience's time regardless of the controversy around it; and this one does.... full review
Thumbs up, by JOGINDER TUTEJA, Planet Bollywood : ...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!... full review
So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...All-in-all, watch Toofan for the inspired acting by Farhan Akhtar, Paresh Rawal, Mrunal Thakur and the entire ensemble cast. They have uplifted the film through sheer force of will.... full review
So-So, by Madhuri V, Filmi Beat : ...Shankar Ehsaan Roy fall short of delivering a memorable music album with Toofaan. Nevertheless, there's one song, D'Evil's 'Dekh Toofaan Aaya Ha' which stands out in the crowd and gives us the much-needed adrenaline rush. The rest of the songs are passable.... full review
So-So, by Vibha Maru, india today : ...Toofaan is somewhat redeemed by its commendable actors. Paresh Rawal stays true to his character of a stern, stubborn coach Nana Prabhu. Mrunal Thakur is watchable as an honest doctor and a supportive partner.... full review
So-So, by Ambica Sachin, Khaleej Times : ...Now we would have paid good money to watch a movie purely on his transformation from a light-hearted roadside tapori to a boxer with a killer instinct inside the ring, Toofan. As it stands Toofan proves to be a mere storm in a teacup. At 2 hours and 40 minutes, this is one bout that may test your endurance levels.... full review
So-So, new movie : ...oofaan has action, romance, drama, emotions, and everything that a commercial entertainer needs. The performances from the lead characters & the music were highly impressive. The story of this sports drama was a bit predictable, especially the boxing tournaments, and both finals. Also, the focus shifted towards many other issues that might make you a bit upset... full review
So-So, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...And there's Paresh Rawal sounding shockingly authentic mouthing lines closer to his personal political beliefs. He says the most profound things about boxing and deplorable things about people showing a man at his best and worst. He finds a balance between his art and his politics.... full review
So-So, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...The film takes you back to numerous films from Rocky to Bhaag Milkha Bhaag to Sultan. You also think back to Gully Boy with the rap songs and Vijay Maurya’s Mumbai slang-induced dialogue.... full review
So-So, by Sangeetha Devi Dundoo, The Hindu : ...Had Toofaan been taut and tried to circumvent staid sports drama tropes further, it would have been worth rooting for. The only thing that sets this film apart is the social commentary (‘love jihaad’ finds a mention), reflecting how tough it can get for a couple to retain their respective names and identities and still dream of a life together.... full review
Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...Contrary to popular belief, it’s never a good sign if you’re watching a film and thinking of a hundred other films. And over 163 minutes, one has no choice but to turn this defect into a spotting game. To paraphrase (and desexualize) a famous song: A little bit of Rocky in my life, a little bit of Gully Boy by my side, a little bit of Mohabbatein is all I need, a little bit of Sultan is what I see, a little bit of Southpaw in the sun, a little bit of Lage Raho Munna Bhai all night long, a little bit of Sooryavansham here I am, a little bit of Saathiya makes me your man. There are many more titles, but I’ve run out of verse.... full review
Thumbs down, by Stutee Ghosh, The Quint : ...The only time Toofaan truly comes alive is when the focus shifts to Aziz’s relationship with Ananya. The prejudice and bigotry that the two suffer is tragic and for sometime it feels like the film is finally on track giving us a brave and poignant account of how divisive and politically charged the atmosphere is. However, in its eagerness to impress all, the film simply abandons this narrative track and dilutes its own message thereby making Toofaan feel bloated and even unnecessary. Trapped by the requirements of formula filmmaking, Toofaan is more gas than a raging storm that it was intended to be... full review
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