Ahead of the release of the upcoming Bollywood movie Toofan on Amazon Prime, Actors Farhan Akhtar, Mrunal Thakur, Paresh Rawal and filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX India A-List. As part of the conversation, the team of Toofan opened up about the storyline, plot, the experience of working with each other and much more. Read excerpts:

Speaking about what drew him to the story, Farhan said, “To start with, there is a message in the film, which will reveal itself when you watch the film. At the heart of it, it is about acceptance of each other. It is about not judging people for their labels that you may associate with them, recognising a person, loving a person or disliking them based on character. There are many different things in the film, apart from the boxing. Boxing is the backdrop against which is set. To me, the message of the film was exciting. I was like who is that person that i can speak to regarding this thought or realising the idea in a way that one would hope that it could be. I reached out to Rakeysh and said ‘Please hear this. If you are interested, lets do it together. I am really glad that he got into it.”

Talking about what made him come on-board,  Paresh Rawal said, “Before i even heard the story, I wanted to work with Rakeysh Ji. I wanted to work with Farhan Bhai and his company Excel because they are doing some great work. Later, when I heard the story, I felt that there are some stories that are created and there are some you release. This was a story of soul, heart and brain, so I felt that we should do it and it is very important for this film to exist. When you work with such people, you feel that you will not only be able to do good work but also become a better person. I think the takeaway of this film is that you should come out as a better person. This is what I feel. This is my takeaway.”

When asked about the USP of the film, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra responded, “USP is a very product kind of definition- What is the unique selling proposition? How can you sell emotions? I would say that the unique sharing proposition. Let’s re-term USP. All we want is to share love though this film and relationships. There are so many wounds in the society today and all over the world. We are going through a very difficult time. Instead of scratching the wounds, if one can apply a soothing balm over it, this film heals you. All characters in the film are broken and they fix each other. That’s the beauty of it. When you see these characters and you see Farhan’s character, Paresh sir’s character, Mrunal’s character, they are all carrying very deep wounds but how they resolve that and how they resolve it for each other, how they come together and fall apart and come together again is a process of healing. For me, that was the most important thing.”

“As mentioned earlier, Farhan called me and I heard the story, the idea and the thought. I told Farhan that we must do it. It has got a voice, a expression and it has got something to say. It was a potential. It was a nascent thought at that time but we thought that we can develop it and take it further. It became even more fortunate as more and more conspirators joined in,” he added.

On being quoted as saying that ‘Toofan is the mix of Rang De Basanti and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Rakeysh clarified, “I think that was misquoted. I would like to correct that through your platform. I said if I were to put together Rang De Basanti and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is equal to Toofan for me. I feel that I have come out much more enriched as a human being, not just as a technician, as a director in my profession but as an overall human being. I became much more enriched and then  I came out of Rang De and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. It’s beautiful to keep  finding that and reinventing yourself and to grow in life. You can never stop growing.”

Expressing her gratitude on being a part of Toofan and her fondness towards her character, Mrunal Thakur said, “Ananya is a very special person, very close to my heart. I think I have evolved with her, I have become more passionate. Like there is a leadership quality in her. She likes to lead people, especially those who are a little distracted and do not know what they are capable of. As Mrunal, I resonated with the character so much when I read the script and when  I was on set with Farhan and Paresh Ji. I think it all elevated the performance. I was feeling the character more than I was performing or acting so to say. What was beautiful was the journey, to be able to work witth Rakeysh sir- I love him,  I love his work and I did manifest to work with him. Finally, I get to work with Rakeysh sir.”

Was Toofan like a school being surrounded by Farhan Akhtar, Paresh Rawal and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra? Mrunal says, “No matter how much I learnt in school or acting school, it wasn’t enough because I actually learnt about life, how to deal with those problems. Ananya maybe strong but Mrunal wasn’t.  There were times when I did get confidence from Farhan or Paresh ji and the beauty about this film was that we never rehearsed those lines. What we had was conversations before we did the scene. Rakeysh sir helped me to connect those incidents and circumstances with my personal life. When  I was performing, I could get flashes and memories from all those incidents that happened in the past. I am really honoured and blessed to be a part of such a brilliant film. I have never been so motivated after doing a film. I was never into fitness but when I was see Farhan perform and see him train, he would inspire me.”

Check out the entire interview here: