While director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and his leading man Farhan Akhtar refuse to disclose whom their boxing bonanza Toofan is based on, sources inform that Farhan’s role models are Mohammad Ali and Robert de Niro in Raging Bull.
While the boxer’s resilience willpower passion and spiritualism are modelled on Ali, the physical preparation to play the boxer to perfection has taken Farhan into months of rigorous preparation that entailed a strict dietary regimen and also complete focus on the project on hand.
Says a source close to the project, “As long as it takes for Toofan to be completed, Farhan remains fully committed to the project. There are no professional distractions whatsoever. Farhan has not taken up any other acting assignment after The Sky Is Pink which is now complete and awaiting release in October.”
According to the source Farhan won’t be taking on any directorial or acting assignments for the next one year. “In any case Farhan has not directed any film since Don 2 in 2011. As for acting, Farhan is currently living the boxer’s life,” says the source.
One recalls Farhan’s full-scale commitment playing Milkha Singh in Rakeysh Ompraksh Mehra’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. One recalls a physical preparation as intense as Farhan’s only once before, when Rajkummar Rao played a man trapped away from human contact for weeks in Vikramaditya Motwane’s Trapped.
Says Mehra, “Farhan and I share a very special rapport. It’s to do with our commitment to tell a story about an individual whose life has a universal resonance.”