Only his mere presence sets the cash registers ringing and when it’s Eid, the stardom of Salman Khan just grows by leaps and bounds. Last year, the actor saw immense success worldwide with the blockbuster film BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN. And this time around, coming from the house of one of the most renowned production house Yash Raj Films is SULTAN – a touching tale of the rise and fall and rise of a wrestler and his quest to win back his true love. Whether the film has been able to live up to the expectations or not, let’s analyze.
SULTAN starts off with Aakash Oberoi (Amit Sadh) trying to save his failing business of Pro-Take Down, a sort of mixed martial arts, freestyle wrestling tournament with a player who can change the fate of his business. His father (Parikshit Sahni) recommends him to go and meet Sultan, a once upon time world champion wrestler, in order to save his disastrous business. As Amit sets out to convince Sultan to enter the wrestling ring again, Sultan’s attitude inspires Aakash to further investigate the story of this once upon a time champion wrestler. Sultan Ali Khan, who was once an aimless man dabbling with cable TV business, finds his passion for wrestling when he falls head over heels in love with the fierce and independent wrestler Aarfa, daughter of a famous wrestling coach who teaches the sport in an authentic and rustic Indian akhada. Their love story turns into marriage after Sultan turns into a passionate wrestler who gears up to take down the world with his unique moves and starts winning championships. As pride takes over the mind of a talented Sultan, a loss of his loved one reduces his fame to ashes. In an attempt to regain his lost love and respect in the eyes of Aarfa, Sultan once again takes up a challenge – he joins Aakash to fight against the world champions of Mixed Martial Arts and is ready to go to any lengths to regain everything he has lost.
The story grabs your attention since the start and thanks to the perfect blend of emotions and action, SULTAN turns out to be a quintessential potboiler that packs the right punches that will keep you glued. Here we would like to mention the introduction scene of Salman Khan that will prove to be a treat for his fans. The first half that explores the rise of the wrestler has a blend of humour that keeps you highly entertained. Besides the powerful ‘kushti’ matches that often leave you wanting for more, it also has a sweet love story that focuses on the romantic side of Sultan. On the other hand, the second half is serious and emotional comparatively. While we must give it to director Ali Abbas Zafar for exploring the deeper emotions of failure, losing his fame and Sultan’s aggressive and desperate attempts to get back into the sport in the second half, too many emotional scenes slows the pace of the film. However, Ali Abbas Zafar’s directorial skills seem to have grown by leaps and bounds since his last film. A special mention to the way the wrestling matches have been shot in the second half, which are crisp and impactful.
Coming to performances, it is a Salman Khan movie all the way! From his body language to his Haryanvi accent, from a famous wrestler to a helpless man who is struggling to get his life together, Salman’s role as Sultan Ali Khan is in wrestling language – ‘dhobi pachad’. From his power packed entry to his love for Aarfa, your heart will beat and pray for Sultan. Salman has also worked very hard on his physique and the action scenes look great. Anushka Sharma, who has already showcased an action-packed side of hers in NH10, continues to win hearts as Aarfa too. Not only has she been able to match up to Salman’s powerful performance, her presence as Aarfa even in the background leaves an impact. From mastering the wrestling moves to pulling off the graceful side of the Haryanvi girl who dared to dream different, Anushka’s role as Aarfa is by far one of her finest performances. Matching up to them is also Randeep Hooda whose role as a martial arts expert proves to be an applauding one here compared. Amit Sadh as Aakash Oberoi, a business tycoon trying to establish his business, too has given a good performance. The casting of the film is apt and even the smallest of roles add value to the film and the actor who plays the role of Salman Khan’s friend Gobind deserves a special mention for his role as Sultan’s support system.
As far as the music is concerned, it could be called average as better songs would have empowered the film further. However, the peppy beats like ‘Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai‘ has turned out to be a chartbuster followed by the soft and romantic, ‘Jag Ghoomeya‘ which too has gained a fair bit of popularity. The cinematography by Artur Zurawski is excellent and the action choreographed by Larnell Stovall is worth appreciating too. From the training sessions to the actual matches within the ring, SULTAN showcases brilliant wrestling moves with precision.
On the whole, SULTAN comes across as a paisa vasool, seeti-maar unadulterated entertainer which will be loved by classes and masses alike. At the box office, the lack of a credible opposition, perfect release timing [festival period] combined with an extended 5-day weekend will ensure that the film will break records and emerge as the biggest hit of the year so far. The film has got ‘B-L-O-C-K-B-U-S-T-E-R’ written all over it. Go for it!