ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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​The Elite Calm at the People’s Storm

Toofaan bravely speaks up against everyday communalism in an accessible format.

Popular cinema has often been the initiator of social discourse among the common people in India. In its simplicity, well within the bandwidth that popular cinema allows itself, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehras Toofaan (2021) takes up a vital project. The sports film, in which Farhan Akhtar plays the role of Azizan extortionist-turned-boxer, bravely speaks up against everyday communalism. But I missed seeing a discussion of these issues in the reviews in the media. If it was a film about sensational and horrendous violence, maybe we would have discussed it. However, when the issues in a film are de-exceptionalised, when they are part of the everyday, we try to shift our attention over to other things like performances or, maybe, the camerawork. Why is it so?

Here, in Toofaan, the issues portrayed are about inter-communal marriage and the difficulties faced by people from minority communities. Do we avoid these because we too have been the perpetrators, so to speak? We are sure that we will never be as violent as the criminals in a crime of extreme violence, but of this other kind, of microaggressions, we are not sure. Maybe we too have excluded people from certain communities from our own housing societies. Nothing melodramatic, but just a subtle preference for vegetarian neighbours maybe? And we oppose (dis)honour killings, but are not exactly comfortable about our own child marrying a Muslim. These are questions that the middle-class liberals need to ask themselves.

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Published On : 17th Jan, 2024

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