Farhan Akhtar and Mrunal Thakur in 'Toofan'
Farhan Akhtar and Mrunal Thakur in 'Toofan' Image Credit: Twitter/RakeyshOmPrakashMehra

Distressed at the on-going COVID-19 crisis in India and the spike in casualties, Bollywood actor and producer Farhan Akhtar has decided to postpone the release of his sports drama ‘Toofan’, which was scheduled to premiere on Amazon Prime Video on May 21.

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Farhan Akhtar in 'Toofan' Image Credit: Supplied

“The situation in India is truly heart-breaking, and we at Excel Entertainment and ROMP Pictures send our thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by the pandemic. In light of the severity of the situation, our focus is completely on the pandemic and supporting our employees, their families, and in helping the wider community,” tweeted Akhtar.

He added that ‘Toofan’, originally meant for an October 2020 theatrical release, will be rolled out once the situation in his country improves. The actor also urged his fans to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.

“Also, please register and get vaccinated when it’s your turn. On behalf of the entire team of ‘Toofan’, we urge you to Stay Home, Stay Safe and Stay United,” he tweeted.

Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, the sports drama is produced by Excel Entertainment’s Ritesh Sidhwani and sees Akhtar play a nation-level boxer.

Mehra and Akthar have worked together earlier for the highly-successful sports biopic ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, based on sprinter Milkha Singh’s life and times.

Farhan Akhtar in 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' Image Credit: Supplied

“‘Toofan’ is a story that will motivate and inspire all of us to get out of our comfort zones and fight towards achieving our dreams,” said Mehra in an earlier interview with ANI.

Just like how Akhtar looked the part of a running champion in ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, the actor also underwent a dramatic physical transformation to look the pugilist part in ‘Toofan’. He famously put on 15 kilos in six weeks and embarked on a high-fat diet to look bulkier for certain scenes in the film. He also had to look super-fit in most scenes, which meant he had to shed those excess kilos and build muscle.

Fluctuating body weights proved to be steep a challenge for Akhtar, according to reports.

Farhan Akthar in Toofan
Farhan Akthar in Toofan Image Credit: twitter.com/FarOutAkhtar

‘Toofan’ also stars Mrunal Thakur and Paresh Rawal and was shot in the Dongri slums of Mumbai and at the Gateway of India.

As soon as the teaser of ‘Toofan’ was released, South Indian actor Mahesh Babu was quick to hail Akhtar for his dramatic transformation. Actors including Shah Rukh Khan and producer Karan Johar also gave their thumbs-up.

“What an unbelievable transformation! Can’t wait to watch this one!,” tweeted Babu.

Akhtar was last seen with Priyanka Chopra Jonas in the stirring Bollywood drama 'The Sky Is Pink'.

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Akhtar in 'The Sky Is Pink' Image Credit: Supplied