Before Toofaan, 8 films about boxing you absolutely must discover
Farhan Akhtar took the world by surprise when the trailer for his movie Toofaan was released. The actor plays boxing champion Aziz Ali in the film, who rises from the ashes not once but twice. Farhan once again wowed his fans not only with his physical transformation, but also with his ability to deliver the right punches. The Redemption Story was directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, and also stars Mrunal Thakur, Paresh Rawal, and Supriya Pathak.
Before you stream Toofaan on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, here are eight boxing movies you need to watch. Sorted out for the weekend, right?
The sports drama starred Sylvester Stallone as Rocky, who continues to be an alternate identity for the star. The “Rags to Wealth” drama projected the story of Rocky Balboa, an Italian-American street fighter who gets a shot at the heavyweight world championship. The 1976 film was followed by Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), Rocky V (1990), Rocky Balboa (2006), Creed (2015), Creed II (2018) and Creed III (2022). In addition to playing the lead role, “The Italian Stallion,” as Sylvester was commonly referred to, wrote six films and even directed four of the six titular installments.
Priyanka Chopra surprised the world when she became the avatar of the most successful Indian boxer, Mary Kom. While the creators have come under fire for throwing a star and using prosthetics to make her look like Mary Kom, Priyanka’s performance shut them all down. The actor underwent intensive training for months to achieve a muscular physique and even learned the sport to match the distinct style of boxing champion Kom. Director Omung Kumar is also ranked as one of the highest grossing Indian films directed by an actress.
The film directed by Anurag Kashyap starred Vineet Kumar Singh and marked the debut of Zoya Hussain. It even premiered in the Special Presentations section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and released internationally as The Brawler. Not many people know that Vineet wrote the film with his sister Mukti, based on their observations of the experiences of several sportsmen in the country. After being rejected by many production houses, Anurag took over the project but made a condition that Vineet should become a real boxer. To accomplish his task, he went to the Netaji Subhas National Sports Institute and trained in boxing for a year. The film won critical and mass praise.
The 2001 film, starring Will Smith, focuses on the life of acclaimed boxer Muhammad Ali from 1964 to 1974. The film chronicles Ali captured the heavyweight title from Sonny Liston and then was banned, only to return to fight Joe Frazier. in 1971. Director Michael Mann also focused on how Cassius Clay Jr became Ali after his conversion to Islam, reclaiming the title from George Foreman in the 1974 fight Rumble in the Jungle.
The 2019 Sudeep Starrer movie was originally slated for release in nine languages, but then stuck with five. The film follows the journey of an orphan who becomes a wrestler and boxer while brawling with those who disrupt his personal life. Playing professional wrestler Pailwan Kichcha, Sudeep wowed the masses with his action-packed physique and stunts. The film also marked the television actor’s debut. Aakanksha Singh.
The 2016 Tamil-Hindi bilingual film, written and directed by Sudha Kongara, starred R. Madhavan as the trainer of Ritika Singh, who played an aspiring boxer. It was reported that Madhavan suffered a minor injury on the sets in the last program but continued to shoot through the pain. He even wore metal suspenders to have a lisp that most boxers have injuries. The story of redemption was remade in Telugu as a Guru with Venkatesh taking the place of Madhavan.
The 1980 biopic stars Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta, a middleweight Italian-American boxer whose self-destructive and obsessive rage wrecked his personal and professional life. Director Martin Scorsese was said to have feared developing the film at first, but later came to relate to the boxer’s story. Considered one of the greatest films ever made, Raging Bull has received critical acclaim and continues to be a favorite among sports movie fans.
Another iconic biographical sports drama, the film brought the story of James J. Braddock, nicknamed “Cindrella Man” to life. Directed by Ron Howard, it starred Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger and Paul Giamatti. The Irish-American boxer was forced to give up the sport after suffering an injury. To make ends meet, he returns to the ring with an injured wrist, this time fighting harder with his left hand. While Braddock is enjoying success, his ragged history has prompted sports journalist Damon Runyon to nickname him “The Cinderella Man.”
Starting July 16, Toofaan will stream on Amazon Prime Video.
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