Available on: Amazon Prime Video
Ajju Bhai, aka Aziz Ali (Farhan Akhtar), is an extortionist under a local gangster (Vijay Raaz) in Mumbai’s Dongri. We don’t know the year exactly the film is set in but by the looks of it seems in the past decade. Ajju meets Ananya (Mrunal Thakur), who gives him reason enough to become Aziz Ali, the boxer. Begins the grind as Nana Prabhu (Paresh Rawal) trains him, and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra himself has to make an appearance to conclude it all.
Story and screenplay by Anjum Rajabali, Toofaan, is about a man finding a hook in life to live with dignity and find redemption after a point. Coming out of the same mill Gully Boy came from (producers), you see bits and pieces of inspiration. In its almost 3-hour runtime, never slows down. Like even when there’s a death, for real. Conflicts come and go as if daily soap and boxers are made overnight in a montage. We are never given space to breathe in the victory that Aziz achieves; instead, a new conflict awaits, and so does the solution to it, quite quickly. For example, Ajju becomes Aziz in a scene, he gets Paresh Rawal as a coach in 2. 3 scenes later, he is the best boxer in the state, and in the next, Paresh has broken up with him, leading to the next act of the film.
Farhan Akhtar is amazing when he steps into the boxing ring as Aziz Ali, he knows the dance of punches and become the boxer in his top form with his 2000 bulging muscles. But when he is Ajju Bhai, the goon, he tries hard at becoming one. Of course, he is Farhan, and he doesn’t let that show as much as a less seasoned actor would have, but when he says ‘idiot’ with the clearest pronunciation, you catch the loophole. Also, Vijay Maurya’s additional screenplay works like a concealer. Mrunal Thakur, as said, is charmed with her innocence, and her smile pierces the heart. She becomes Aziz’s anchor, inspiration and motivation all at the same time. But her existence is strictly around him most of the time, just two or a maximum of three scenes away from him. Paresh Rawal is a treat to watch as the coach Nana Prabhu. The actor shows why he is a veteran as he grabs your attention in every single scene he is in.