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SULTAN is totally mainstream, but surprisingly soulful!
With a brilliantly written central character performed by an astoundingly genuine Salman Khan, this film truly packs a punch in every sense of the word. Despite being predictable and fraught with most conventional Bollywood flaws, the film shines on account of its absorbing screenplay, technical finesse, controlled melodrama, and heartfelt performances. Definitely worth a watch!
Sultan is a story of Sultan Ali Khan (Salman Khan) a local wrestling champion with the world at his feet as he dreams of representing India at the Olympics. It is also a story of Aarfa - a feisty young girl from the same small town as Sultan with her own set of dreams. When the two aspiring local wrestling legends lock horns, romance blossoms and their dreams and aspirations become intertwined and aligned. However, the path to glory is a rocky one and one must fall several times before one stands victorious. Sultan is a classic underdog tale about a wrestler's journey, looking for a comeback by defeating all odds staked up against him.
While with the first look of it, SULTAN may strike to you as yet another blockbuster from Salman Khan’s genre of cinema, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to witness the overwhelming heft in the screenplay. Right from the first frame, the packaging is so international that you’ll be engrossed in it completely. Yes, encompassed within this silhouette of top class cinema, the content isn’t as perfect, it’s nevertheless impressive for more reasons than one. Firstly, an event film from Salman Khan, out with great commercial expectations, is hardly expected to be this wholesome. Then, although director Ali Abbas Zafar’s previous outings have shown promise, never has his work been as compelling and restrained in terms of useless melodrama. Another reason that makes this film a winner is its ability to keep you pleasingly engulfed for all of its considerably long duration of nearly 3 hours. The pacing is fantastic.
Pumped with immense energy, each frame of the film looks and feels like the epic saga it intends to narrate. The backdrop seems authentic and so do the terrific fight sequences, both, the wrestling as well as mixed martial arts. In fact, the fight sequences are so riveting and brilliantly shot that you can hardly blink your eye while watching them, no matter how disinterested you might be in this sport. The charm of the raw local Haryanvi dialect is preserved throughout and the whole journey is built up with great adeptness by writer/director Zafar. The background score is top class and so are all other production values, as is always expected of the Yashraj Banner. The songs, many a times interrupt the proceedings, but are never unpleasant.
Talking of the flaws, despite all its technical achievements, the film is predictable and truly conventional. As mentioned before, it’s an out-and-out mainstream experience, but this time with a soul. The graph is foreseeable and so is the climax. But it’s the treatment that surpasses the norms and outshines all the flaws that apparently plague this film. Unabashedly modelled on great Hollywood sports underdog films, mostly Stallone’s “Rocky”, the film tries its best to keep its flavour Desi and does so successfully.
The primary reason this film succeeds in what it set out for, is Salman Khan. I’ve personally never been a fan of Salman’s acting prowess and the amount of effort he puts behind his act, but this time, believe you me, he blew me away. His performance is honest and his efforts are commendable. His personal investment in the character and not being Salman, is the highlight of this drama. To say that this is his best performance till date would be an understatement. Saying that this was his first real performance seems more appropriate. Being the mega star that he is, and considering his history, it truly is a hearty experience to watch him transform so veritably on screen. His emotions look real and so do his fights and each segment of the drama draws your attention to the unforeseen intense capabilities Salman Khan. Anushka Sharma also is truly controlled and does the extremely improbable job of shining bright opposite the superstar in such amazing form. Right from emotions to action and screen-presence, she’s impeccable to say the least. Amit Sadh as the wrestling franchise owner is superb and so is the very dependable Randeep Hooda in a cameo. All others do a great job.
To sum up, much like last year’s ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, Salman Khan’s SULTAN is a fulfilling blockbuster that leaves you overwhelmed by its sheer ability to entertain you but with its heart and mind at the right place. Go for it. Don’t miss this one chance to see Salman perform in all his glory.
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