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Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra: Boxing is a lonely sport

Actress Mrunal Thakur and director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra have opened up candidly about the boxing drama 'Toofaan'

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They say, ‘It’s not about how you fall, but how you rise after you fall that marks a champion’s spirit’. Witness an incredible journey of perseverance, junoon and undying fervour in ‘Toofaan’. Think of Farhan Akhtar and the one word that probably comes to our mind is – unstoppable.

Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra’s gift for storytelling coupled with Farhan’s efforts to transform himself for his character makes Toofaan more than just a sports drama – it makes it an emotion, a source of inspiration.

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Like Paresh Rawal says in the film, “Yeh tera boxing ka ring nahi hai, yeh tera ghar hai. Khoon pasina ek karke tune apna ghar banaya hai…Sambhaal usko”, the film teaches that one should never get knocked down by a few setbacks, rather bounce back and fight for your dream. Produced by Excel Entertainment, directed by Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra, led by Farhan Akhtar, along with star-studded performances by Paresh Rawal, Mrunal Thakur, Darshan Kumaar, and Supriya Pathak, Toofaan is about the unbeatable spirit of Aziz, an orphaned goon who turns his aggression into passion after life knocks him down. So, this festive season, catch, Ajju Bhai se Aziz Ali Boxer banne ka Toofaani safar!

Farhan Akhtar said, “While working on Toofaan I realized how there are no shortcuts when you want to portray a character like Aziz and I feel that’s the beauty of it. And through this experience I also have come to believe that there are no shortcuts in life. You have to persevere and keep challenging yourself. To showcase the character’s body transformation with utmost fidelity, I had put on a great deal of weight and I also had to shed all of that to have a chiselled physique. While everyone on the set was having a treat, I would choose a corner for myself to have my broccoli and grilled chicken. In short, there is nothing that can stop you if you have passion. Similar is the journey of Aziz Ali Boxer.”

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Mrunal Thakur elaborated on her character, “My inclination to work on Toofaan was piqued by my drive to work with a sought-after director like Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. On our first meeting, he was in the process of gauging my strengths for Ananya’s character, of which I wasn’t aware at the time. Her character is really positive, daring and bold – someone who constantly pushes Aziz to keep going. I’ve grown immensely through her and I am honoured to have been given the chance to put myself in her shoes.”

Sharing his experience, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra said, “While Toofaan is a work of fiction, it derives a great deal of inspiration from real life, real people and real struggles and conflicts that I have witnessed and heard about. Moreover, boxing is a lonely sport. It screams of resilience, a sport that requires you to stand till the end, without getting knocked down – more like a metaphor for life. To make the viewing experience of the film authentic we have shot the film completely with real locations across Mumbai. You’ll see the actors in a real cramped up setting with no air-conditioning or make-up areas. It was a unique shooting experience.”

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Based on the story idea by Farhan Akhtar and Anjum Rajabali’s screenplay, Toofaan is a story that revolves around an orphaned extortionist based out of Dongri. Things take a different turn when he meets Ananya who pushes him to follow his real passion – boxing, to which he dedicates his life.

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