Sultan Film Review : Salman Rules As Anushka Dictates

| July 6, 2016 | 0 Comments

Let me make it very clear that this review has no meaning so far box office returns are concerned. Because the magic of Salman Khan is at work. The Midas touch is all over, turning everything into gold.

Sultan is touted as a true life inspired story of a Haryana wrestler Sultan Ali but it is infact writer-director Ali Abbas Zafar’s masala mix, that has right proportion of emotion,fun, light moments, action and drama with hit song and dance routines. Its engaging to a great extent. Its entertaining throughout. But enervating in between.

Sultan(Salman Khan) is a love story of a wrestler,who is not a wrestler to begin with. He is an aimless, kind-hearted guy in a village in Rewari district of Haryana. He is a disappointment to his father but is darling of his grandmother. He is good at chasing–not the girls but the kites that are adrift in the sky. A chance encounter with Aarfa (Anushka Sharma) who is a state level wrestler coached by her own father Barkat( Kumud Mishra) gives him a 440 volts shock and its love at first sight for him. But Aarfa is focused to represent India at the Olympics and win a gold medal. She shuns Sultan’s advances. How Sultan wins her over and how his passion makes him do the impossible of becoming a world class wrestler is what hooks you in the first half of the movie.

At a crucial juncture there is a twist and husband-wife drift apart. Sultan gives up wrestiling. But to fulfil his one cherished mission he finally accedes to the persuasion of a businessman-cum-promoter Aakash Oberoi(Amit Sadh) to take part in the Pro Take-Down Knockout Championship, that is nothing but a nomenclature for mixed martial-arts, a chutney of various martial art forms.Whether he is able to win that championship. More than the championship whether he is able to win back his lady-love is what the rest of the film is all about.

Story-screenplay-dialogues are written by the director Ali Abbas Zafar himself. Story in essence is the love story with wrestling as a backdrop and has all the staple ingredients of a sports movie: never-say-die-spirit, loss of a loved one, being underdog and coming back to redeem one’s pride and honour, accompanied with other tangible benefits.

The screenplay has some real fresh moments enumerating the romance between two wrestlers with poles apart personalities who eventually become husband and wife and then drift apart due to hurt, pride and grief. The outcome is predictable and the masala moments interspersed between intense,dramatic and emotional scenes provide a breather but take away from the emotional involvement of the viewer.Then there are glitches like Sultan being told of 20 years of age and then after couple of years being termed as a forty year old has-been! Coming from Yash Raj stable, such lapses in a film are avoidable irritants.

But the stretched out screenplay tests your patience and at times taxes your nerves but you hold on due to sheer star power. Infact at times it seems there are two films for the price of one –one pre interval and one post-interval.Dialogues in Haryanvi lingo add to the rustic, local and earthy feel.

Ali Abbas Zafar has maintained a consistent tone and provided a decent masala mix but is handicapped by his own screenplay that makes things predictable and pedestrian.

Salman as Sultan is sincere to the tee. He restrains his superstardom to leak through his character. The sweat,toil and hardwork of training as a wrestler and commitment to rise like a Phoenix is visible in every frame. Combine this with his trademark innocence and you get Salman Khan sans his stardom but steeped in his character. Only wrinkle is in the detailing where his look is inconsistent as the screenplay unfolds.

Anushka Sharma is a revelation. She stands tall in stature as well as characterization against Sultan and gives a wonderful performance. She does a fine balancing act between her confidence and rooted-to-the-ground persona.Ali Abbas Zafar’s narrative underlining the importance of a girl child, in the backdrop of notorious Haryana, is well woven into Anushka’s character and she lives up to it.

Other actors who leave a mark are Anant Sharma as Govind (Sultan’s best friend),Amit Sadh as Aakash Oberoi and Kumud Mishra as Anushka Sharma’s father-cum-wrestling coach.Randeep Hooda as a mixed martial arts coach is decent and a pleasant sight to behold. Infact he is one of the guys born and brought up in Haryana, but in this film he is not speaking Haryanvi whereas seventy percent of the movie is in Haryanvi lingo. Ironical but such are the vagaries of characterization and demands of a particular role.

There are certain things that cannot go wrong with YRF productions—like production design, cinematography, the look and feel. So they are first rate anyway.

There have been movies lately that have shown mixed martial arts routines.From Brothers to Baaghi and recently even Randeep Hooda starrer Do Lafzon Ki Kahani. So in terms of action sequences there is nothing fresh. Still audience cheers and whistles because this action is being done by their favorite star Salman Khan! Just an aside, it seems that there is a serious plan to bring in professional mixed martial arts sports in India as it is deemed to be a future money-spinning business. But to promote this brutal sport in the name of profession and for business ends is a debatable point. More on it some other time.

Meanwhile, its for sure that Sultan is going to rule the box office as an undisputed ruler and is a sure shot hit. But being hit is one thing and being hit with both mind and heart is another. It is entertaining, it is engaging. But its not as engrossing and a wholesome experience as Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijan, or as uplifting as YRF’s Chak De was as a sports movie. Still it can break all the previous records. You never know. And there lies the Midas touch of a reigning Sultan of silver screen Salman Khan!


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Category: Reviews

About the Author ()

Dhieraj Mohan is Hindi cinema's keen observer. With earnest interest in its dynamics and constantly changing milieu he revels in dwelling on the discrepancies, idiosyncrasies,contradictions,masala and the formula that defines Bollywood.He is a poet and a screenwriter too,who simply adores Hindi cinema's chameleon like traits.

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