Toofaan

What is the movie about? :: There are some usual days in the big city, as Aziz Ali a.k.a. Ajju Bhai (Farhan Akhtar) is fighting in the streets – there is no hesitation for him in going on beating people mercilessly, and even getting beaten up in the process. After the fight, and after being hit on the head during the process, he goes to hospital where Dr Ananya (Mrunal Thakur) asks them to get out, as she doesn’t want to treat gangsters who keep causing trouble in the city. Soon, Ali begins to develop an interest in boxing, which seems unusual in the beginning for his friends, but he is indeed very serious about it. Even though he has the strength, and wants to keep fighting, lacks the accuracy and technique. It is the same reason why he goes on a trial without any plan, and gets beaten by perfect shots from the seemingly weaker opponent despite going strong in the initial stages. Nana Prabhu (Paresh Rawal) is the coach who makes the difference around there, and Ali hopes that he could train with him some day, and become a great boxer like Muhammed Ali.

So, what happens with the events here? :: It turns out that Nana is the father of Ananya, and after some continuous attempts, decides to take him in, much to his own surprise. But it takes a lot of time and effort to gain the next level of his attention. He has to spend most of his time fighting the lower level of boxers, and he keeps training at all times, leaving his recent life behind. He is very quick to go through the next steps, and at the state level, he is given the title “toofaan” while going through the state championships, quite an easy path to the finals. But things won’t go that easy when Nana finds out that Ananya is in love with Ali. He no longer wants to do anything with any of the two, and Ananya decides to leave their home. This brings the twist, and the later stages of life now has to be dealt in a different manner. But the journey forward won’t be easy for them, and it will make them take some desperate actions in the process, which wouldn’t provide the best results. Yet, they have to make sure that they did make a good attempt.

The defence of Toofan :: As this is a sports drama based on boxing, there is no shortage of action around here, and the fights don’t begin in the ring as far as this particular film is concerned, as the underdog, as expected, had to come from the streets. It is the kind of idea that never gets old, as everyone loves comebacks, not just of one kind, but of different styles. The pattern seems perfect here, and there is the inspirational element at work, even though too much of motivation cannot be good. The emotional moments are pretty much working, even though they are somewhat moving in an expected manner, and predictability is also there in the rest of the things – we still have our dose of inspiration, action and emotions. Some dialogues can be remembered, even though it is the trailer that has the best. The romantic side remains cute, even though often seeming like forced in here. We have watched films like Brothers, and so this one nicely holds on to similar idea with ease.

The claws of flaw :: The sports drama genre has had a lot of repetition in the past, and if you look at Malayalam film industry, there have been two, Finals and Kho Kho, which could deviate from the usual path of the sports drama movies. In comparison to these films, there is a lot of cliches in this one, and from the beginning itself, there are so many things which go on the predictable lines. The songs and dance steps also come out of nowhere, and it is time for the industry to keep them to minimum – they are not mandatory in any case. Having a movie like this without a romantic angle between the main characters was also a possibility here, and maybe that seemed to be too unusual a diversion against the safe path here. It is time that films like these go less predictable, and move out of pattern to bring a higher level of sports drama, for such an improvement is the need of the time – until then, we will adjust with this one in the usual model and hope for the better versions.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has to depend almost completely on Farhan Akhtar, as he is the one name that can bring the audience to this path to watch the flick. He has some fine moments for the audience, even though we have already seen a number of them before, in different forms. There are those happy moments and those highly emotional, sad moments. The moments in the boxing ring are indeed good ones too – those were expected though, as we have seen the trailers. The last movie I watched with him in the lead was Wazir, and that was indeed a good one – well, I haven’t been into Bollywood films much, and this is more a come back for me as a Bollywood film reviewer more than for anyone else. As his character does go for a comeback, the motivation stuff comes into the picture again. Well, sports drama has been meant for the same for a long time, and it is that spirit which Farhan Akhtar maintains here, and it is always better than rich people going on trips to Europe just because they have too much money and they can claim to reclaim their lives.

Further performers of the soul :: Paresh Rawal also does a great job as the boxing coach and trainer. Then, he is also that father figure who is to remembered in another way. As he has done many times, he does again, with emotional moments in this film. He remains completely natural in his act here. Mrunal Thakur is the usual leading lady, and goes through the romantic side that we keep seeing in similar films. She does have a lovely presence though, and plays nicely to the requirement of the movie, and there is lot of positivity brought here by her – she has the same in different stages of life. She would be even more suited for a feel-good movie, and with her face and expressions, is immensely suitable for the same kind of a film. She does remind one of Aditi Rao Hydari at some points. Vijay Raaz is the other most notable face, even though he is not there throughout the film. There are many other characters who nicely play along here, and they all become part of the whole – the signs of the same are present in the beginning itself.

How it finishes :: Toofaan adds to the long list of sports drama movies which have graced the Indian film industries, and does add some entertainment, even though there is no innovation regarding the same – we usually know what happens with the storylines of these films without thinking too much about the same. The thrills that the boxing sport provides is much more than any other, and in that way, this movie manages to come up with more, with the action background always having scope, while the emotional side comes up to add another angle here. With the release being postponed multiple times, and finally releasing in the OTT platform of Amazon Prime Video, it does have enough to keep us interested in the sports, and while the Malayalam movie Godha has us taken to the world of wrestling in a different way compared to Dangal, this one goes the boxing path, and when the sports which are less appreciated get some attention, it is always good. The first Bollywood film I watched after a long time did work for me here.

Release date: 16th July 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 161 minutes
Directed by: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Starring: Farhan Akhtar, Paresh Rawal, Mrunal Thakur, Vijay Raaz, Mohan Agashe, Hussain Dalal, Darshan Kumar, Supriya Pathak

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Hindi film review.

<— Click here to go to the previous English film review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Welcome Back

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Vampire Owl :: Thank You. I appreciate it.

Vampire Bat :: What do you appreciate? Why?

Vampire Owl :: You said welcome back when I entered the theatre.

Vampire Bat :: I was telling the name of the movie when you entered. Why do you talk as if the theatre is my ancestral property?

Vampire Owl :: Actually, as you spend a lot of time here, I had the feeling that this is really your home. You should actually think about shifting here. This way, you can sleep in the queue and when you wake up, you will be the first one on the queue.

Vampire Bat :: This is why nobody listens to your ideas.

Vampire Owl :: Or you can marry the daughter of a theatre owner, or ask for some kind of season ticket for movies. See, I am giving you free advice which nobody else can offer.

Vampire Bat :: You can do me a favour by not giving me any idea.

Vampire Owl :: You are going to make me watch a Hindi comedy movie after you got me to watch Humshakals and Main Tera Hero. You will be forced to return to my ideas in return.

Vampire Bat :: That was because we missed the movies which we were actually going to watch on those days. Now you have ruined the day already by talking about those movies.

[Gets ready for the movie].

What is it about? :: Uday Shetty (Nana Patekar) and Majnu Pandey (Anil Kapoor) have ceased being dons and are running big hotel business in Dubai, as they try hard to control themselves from going back to their life of crime again. But they are finding a certain amount of loneliness in their lives, and the realization that even their low level henchmen are happily married with kids makes them very depressed. They look for the right person to marry as they find Nandini (Ankita Shrivastava), a stunningly good-looking girl who is also a princess from some royal family. With beauty and royalty there in store, both men falls for the same girl, and hopes to have the happy ending for themselves. Her mother, the royal mother, the Maharani (Dimple Kapadia) makes arrangements for the wedding.

And welcome back the problems and confusions :: There is the tough decision to make, based on which of the two to marry. Ever since they were shot on the heart with one sight of the girl in bikini at the beach, both of them are not ready to back-off. Meanwhile, Uday’s father comes to the scene with another daughter in his third marriage, Ranjhana (Shruti Haasan) and hopes that the former underworld dons try to get her married too. The mother-daughter team who are not really of royal blood, but con women who are hoping to steal as much money from the two friends as much as possible, come up with the condition that their sister has to be married off at first, because it is the tradition. This is where Doctor Ghungroo (Paresh Rawal) and his step-son Ajay Barsi a.k.a Ajju Bhai (John Abraham) comes to the picture.

The defence of Welcome Back :: There is no moment when this movie pretends to be smart, and you know what to expect here right from the beginning and throughout the movie. The visuals are stunning, and they have used Dubai to give some of the best treats for the eyes of the audience. The laughs are there, and most of the jokes are delivered through some interesting dialogues – the path is lead by the trio of Paresh Rawal, Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor as expected. With these three around, there is the certainty of fun; the comic timing is right there as even the more simpler situations are turned into scenes of comedy. The pick of all the funny scenes is the one at the cemetery. There is also no shortage of style and good-looking people in this movie. There are only a few comic situations which goes down in effect; otherwise the comedy, despite being mindless is right there.

Claws of flaw :: The silliness of the movie is heavy, and it gets more ridiculous by the end. There is a strange mayhem going on in the end along with some extra meaninglessness added as if to make things come together. There are big SUVs, helicopters, remote controlled copters which explode, gangsters shooting, people running around, random people falling – there is even a sand storm and running camels making no sense even with nothing in the mind. The songs are not much interesting, and the source material surely had scope for better development and even more fun. May be they never really needed another big don here, and may be the focus could have always been with how the former underworld dons are manipulated into agreeing to the marriage, with mother and daughter playing interesting parts in it happening. But this has chosen to keep any trace of logic out of the scene, and has also stretched the flick.

Performers of the soul :: John Abraham proves to be good – he is not the show-stealer here, but he has done his part with sincerity, and here he is showing some skills with the comic side. He has managed this avatar just the way one would expect it to be. Shruti Haasan looks very cute throughout the movie, and doesn’t have much to perform. The big performances go into the hands of Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor who steals the show along with Paresh Rawal. These three make this movie the fun that it has managed to be. They just can’t be replaced, not even a twenty sequels later (who knows how many more will come this way). The new comer Ankita Shrivastava might be the most beautiful person around, and she has some skills for the comic side – there is future. Dimple Kapadia joins the fun well and Rajpal Yadav has some short, but funny moments. Naseeruddin Shah and Shiney Ahuja get a few such moments too.

How it finishes :: About the special appearances, only Surveen Chawla makes some impact. This one actually has similarities with Main Tera Hero, but doesn’t go that way to become a disaster. The credit for the same goes to how things are managed without heroism and the overacting which was abundant in that movie no longer exists here in the case of Welcome Back. The cast itself is the big boost to this movie as Wecome Back can provide something to those looking for this type of mindless comedies. This could have still been shorter, and getting rid of some of the cliches and repetitions would have been nice – one has to wonder what is hindering the innovation when not much trouble has been taking with other departments including the script. What we need here is not to think and just to enjoy the comic side. The South actually got Kunjiramayanam to enjoy more at the same time.

Release date: 4th September 2015
Running time: 152 minutes
Directed by: Anees Bazmee
Starring: John Abraham, Shruti Haasan, Nana Patekar, Anil Kapoor, Ankita Shrivastava, Dimple Kapadia, Naseeruddin Shah, Shiney Ahuja, Paresh Rawal, Supriya Karnik, Sakshi Maggo, Rajpal Yadav, Surveen Chawla (cameo), Lauren Gottlieb (cameo)

welcomeback

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Table No. 21

There are times when one has break the narrative and the flow, and come up with something which he missed in his writing, something which deserved to be there, but faded into the void even before threatening to make an impact. This would need a flashback and some scratching of the memories, and here comes one movie which was left out thinking that it was released in 2012 while remembering the dates from February when this blog was started, but actually the date was 4th January 2013 – but considering how good a movie it is, there is the need for it to be present here, and here I add this one to the middle of the others, almost like inserting the past into the present even as 2013 as a whole could be considered the present. This can be more considered as a guest, or a former tenant who couldn’t stay in the house enough to make it known to the neighbours and the people of the town or village. Well, Table No. 21 is much more than a simple tenant – it is more of an owner of its own genre, something which would be revealed more as we progress. Welcome to the group, forgotten movie – for you are to be remembered in this post with a status as good as the others, as belonging to the present, for you deserve it; this is more of a honorary status.

I am being lenient on this one considering my ignorance which was inflicted upon this so brutally, even as the brutality affects not even Mickey Mouse. The question would be more like how much brutal this movie can be – and how cruel the game master can be. Well, this is about a game, and that much should be certain for everyone who has read something about the movie. The unemployed couple Vivaan (Rajeev Khandelwal) and Siya (Tena Desae) gets a chance to visit Fiji. To add to the glory of visiting the beautiful islands, it is their wedding anniversary. But all the beauty tends to take a wrong turn as they encounter Mr. Khan (Paresh Rawal), the owner of the resort who invites the couple to take part in a live game show named Table No. 21 which offers a breath-taking amount of 10 million Fijian Dollars as the prize money – something which would convert to crores of rupees. The rules are simple – a total of eight questions will be asked regarding their personal life for which they have to answer truthfully with an yes or no, and have to do the task assigned to each question. They are not allowed to quit in the middle of the game, and neither can they skip a question or its related task. Their mobiles are taken away and are surrounded by cameras and henchmen.

The questions first seem very easy to answer and the confidence level reaches new heights for the couple, as if they were made for this game and all their financial needs are soon to be met. Their doubts about this is an idea to make fun of them, slowly vanishes. The first question about their love and the task to kiss in public was of no trouble. The question concerning them knowing each other and the task of Siya eating non-vegetarian is also of not too much difficulty. The question concerning manipulating others and the task of instant manipulation creates no tension even if it leads to slight suspicions which they leave behind thinking about the huge amount of money which awaited them. Then comes the difficult parts, the need for blood which is the first dangerous and life threatening situation of the game, as Vivaan answers he would go to any extent to save his love – the point is that here he has to fight his tendency to faint at seeing blood to save her by filling a bottle full of his blood and use it as a key to unlock a glass cage short of oxygen. Even in an unfamiliar territory, as the need had arisen, the task is completed right in time.

The question of love continues, and the task involves shaving Siya’s head to which they protest, but is brought back into the game by threatening, with the lady ending up with a shaved head. The next question is about domestic violence, and Siya is asked to return a slap she recieved from him with full force, a point when they realize that the master of the game knows more about them than they thought, even the most personal details. The task involving Vivaan vandalizing a random car puts him in trouble as he gets beaten up as well as getting almost caught by police, and what it does worse is when he asks help and thus breaks the rules landing his wife in trouble. He arrives in time to save his wife, but that is not the last of the troubles, as the game goes on, the situation becomes even more strange and horrible, and they realize that their past is being reminded in a horrid manner. But the true realization comes only the end, and it is where the game master is justified and the hidden truth of the past is revealed to the audience. But this revelation never overpowers the thrills and the social message, as the balance is successfully maintained. An another message could be said to be against the greed and never-ending avarice, the desire for easy money and also about the meaninglessness of reality shows.

Parwesh Rawal seems to have the movie working like a flawless machine with his performance as the game master. He is the most hospitable resort owner, the sadistic manipulator and a loving father, three in one. Even as he has the second personality during most of the movie and may be before the horrid twist happens to the game, there is no loss of the power of trio in himself. Rajeev Khandelwal does his character in a rightly truthful manner. There is no exaggeration of the personality and there is nothing unnecessary added to it; the simplicity in complexity attributed to the character is lesser only to that of the game master – he traverses from the inflictor or pain to the vulnerable one at the recieving end. Tena Desae as Siya – has blended in well from the beach, bikinis and love to fear, anxiety and absolute horror. From having a shaved head to being in one of the worst situations for a damsel in distress at a strip club, from the passionate and loyal lover to losing her character and trust, from the photogenic lady in bikini to the oppressor who became the oppressed, it is quite a powerful performance adding to the strength of the film. There is no flat, static character among these, for they have all gone through the much needed changes.

The movie rests on the three, and if we add the next two important characters, the whole suspense would be lost. As the clues, there is the college were these two met and fell in love and there is the case of ragging. There is no loss of intensity in that flashback story too. The bottomline of the movie is its message that ragging is not a joke, but a crime. The title of the movie comes from the article 21, on the protection of life and liberty. The message is as powerful as the movie, and the use of flashbacks has worked perfectly to suit the overall mood of the movie, and the whole game is more or less a recreation of their cruel deeds at the college as the seniors. Even the uneasy silence and the absence of descriptions in the movie makes an impact and the whole setup which leads to one powerful social message is the ultimate triumph of the movie. But, the message is not used as a propaganda. A joke is no joke that causes harm to others and having fun at the expense of others is both a sin and a crime – this is the best way it can be summarized. The injection of reality into unreality in a sincere manner as to create the feeling of truth – it is surely not something many horror movies desire to achieve and not something any popular horror movie has come up with so far.

The greatest advantage of this movie is that it surprises you – right from the beginning to end; almost every moment has a certain amount of unpredictability associated with it, sometimes with the twists of plot and sometimes with the performance of the cast. There are lesser moments when it would seem that this one has lost its gasoline, but then it comes up with an alternative fuel which takes over and makes this one run better. The biggest of the twist comes up with the social message which is the most striking element of the movie and how it is unveiled is a method of slow, step by step ignition leading to the big catastrophe of ultimate success. There was rarely a moment when the movie was not ahead of the audience, creating that element of spooky suspense, and by the end, one comes to know how much ahead it really is, in a world where the suspense horror movies never really got its due – suffering from a typical horror movie rights violation due to some too-natural or never-natural romantic love stories which never really deserved to be called movies; therefore this is your welcome break and not to be missed even for a chance to go to Mars and be imprisoned by the Martians virtually created by the lies of science which people adore and would never cease to believe.

Release date: 4th January 2013
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Aditya Datt
Starring: Paresh Rawal, Tena Desae, Rajeev Khandelwal, Dhruv Ganesh

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.