Sultan: The Unbeatable Both Onscreen and Box Office!
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Reviewer’s Thumb Mark
It seems Eid’s special recipes with Salman Khan Films tastes and goes well together. When the world revels in celebrating Eid, Salman Khan and Sultan’s makers are merrily counting money. Sultan, the Romeo wrestler woos the audience and the result is the film earned a gross of Rupees 320 crore in India when it crossed the tenth day and is still going strong.
The reaction to Salman Khan and his controversial ‘Rape’ statements on how he felt on the sets of Sultan every day after his shooting schedule for many can be likened to the dialogue (“You are a Shit Guy”) of Aarfa Hussain his lover (Anushka Sharma) in the movie when she tells him to stop following her. And the ‘Sultan’ with folded hands in the wrestling ring seeking forgiveness from his opponent after every wrestling bout is contrary to his off-screen image where he continues to repeat the same controversial statement in Kapil Sharma’s show and stops half way bursting into laughter and thus once gain ridiculing the sentiments and concerns raised by many in the country and being unapologetic about it. But then all these controversies don’t affect a Salman Khan film is what the success of ‘Sultan’ proves.
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Talking about the film Sultan, it definitely has all the clichéd elements at the right place to give the audience a paisa wasool show – ‘Bhai’s fights, jatkas, shirtless scenes and this time an added bonus – Bhai in a ‘Langot’ (loin cloth). Sultan is a journey of triumph of an individual from falling from grace to glory in the eyes of his dear ones and over and above for himself.
Sultan Ali Khan a retired middle-aged wrestling champion employed in Haryana State Water Board, which he got as an honorary job because of his contribution to the state as a sports person lives a solitary life sans his glory. He is out of his professional and personal wrestling ring of life, tired and out of shape in a village called Burari in Rewari district of Haryana. The film is every moment a testimonial for what Sultan Ali Khan tells in the movie “Asli Pehalwaan Ki Pehchaan Akhade Mai Nahin, Zindagi Mai howe hai” (The real strength of the wrestler is not known in the wrestling ring but in real life). The film talks about what ‘love’ can make you do and how success can take you places as well as why it is important to ensure that your dear ones are not left behind in your stride towards success and fame.
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Akash Oberoi, a young ambitious man who is also the founder of a private mixed-martial arts wrestling league known as ‘Pro Take-Down’ in New Delhi becomes a means for Sultan’s resurrection as a wrestler again. Sultan punches, battles and with his home grown iconic style defeats his opponents in the wrestling ring to bounce back in life. Aakash Oberoi’s effort to revive the already dwindling popularity of ‘Pro Take-Down League’ and keep his investors on board for yet another show leads him to Sultan’s village. His interaction with Sultan and then with his best friend Govind (Anand Vidhaat Sharma) takes us to the flash back of Sultan and Aarfa’s love story which is famous and is known to the whole Rewari district.
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Aarfa a state-level wrestling champion under the mentorship of her father Barkhat Hussain (Kumud Mishra) is on a mission to represent India in the Olympic Games and is not ready to fall for anything and anyone that stops and distracts her from achieving her goal in life. How does a non-wrestler like Sultan woo her? What does she find in Sultan and how a young man who sells satellite channel box and antenna to his village folks ends up becoming the ‘King of the Wrestling Ring’? Is she able to achieve what she wanted to? What happens to Sultan and Aarfa’s love story? To know ‘Wrestling is not a sport, it’s about fighting what lies within’ you need to go and watch Sultan on screen.
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Salman Khan as Sultan is convincing but he still can’t do away with his super stardom and his often repeated jhatkas in some of the song sequences (Baby ko Bass Pasand Hi; Hai Dil Mera Koi Dish Antenna Tha) which is an unnecessary distraction. He is too good in his wrestling sequences in the movie and is far better this time in emoting.
Anushka as Aarfa Hussain as a Haryanvi wrestler has given a decent performance. Her role as a wrestler, lover, wife in estrangement and the complexities could have been portrayed better and explored more. Though, Salman and Anushka’s Haryanvi accent and style in this movie has been criticized a lot but what is interesting to note is that Haryana as a state and its language is soon catching everyone’s fancy in Bollywood (Tanu Weds Manu, Laal Rang, Sultan and the upcoming Dangal). Haryana which used to be shown for khap and honour killings are now also being shown for good reasons too.
The supporting roles played by many talented actors are worth mentioning here like Amit Sadh, Anand Vidhaat, Kumud Mishra and Randeep Hooda. Amit Sadh as a young ambitious MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) franchise founder and owner catches the audience attention. Anand Vidhaat as Govind, Sultan’s buddy is much appreciated for his role by many. Kumud Mishra as Barkhat Hussain who trains Aarfa and Sultan gives an awesome performance. Randeep Hooda as Fateh Singh the MMA coach has a very short role to play but he is noticeably different.
Songs like ‘Jag Goomeya’ and ‘Saath Samundar’ are too good.
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The film has its drawbacks like Aarfa who comes to know that she is pregnant is shown in the immediate next frame running and training Sultan, some of the songs as mentioned above are real distractions and are mere attempts to portray Salman’s super stardom and his humdrum dance moves, his parents vanishes in the later part of the movie, his good Samaritan character ferrying school kids to school and dropping them in the middle of the road, Akash Oberoi, a franchise owner going and trying to rope in a local pressure cooker seller to sponsor Sultan are some of the many which I would like to mention and stop myself because it would turn out to be a spoiler.
Nevertheless, Ali Abbaz Zafar’s Sultan can be watched and is definitely an entertainer. Moreover, there is lot of positivity in the story telling. Every time Salman kicks up a controversy he comes out of it and it seems he believes in what he spouts as Sultan on screen “Yeh jo guroor hai… kya kehte hai angrezi mein… Arrogance… yeh arrogance nahi… confidence hai…”. Well, go and watch Sultan for its message – “The common thing between life and the ring is, at times they both put you down…”.
Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 3.5/5
Cast: Salman Khan (Sultan Ali Khan), Anushka Sharma (Aarfa Ali Khan), Anand Vidhaat Sharma (Govind), Amit Sadh (Akash), Randeep Hooda (Fateh Singh), Meiyang Chang (Pro Takedown Host), Kumud Mishra (Barkhat Hussain)
Genre: Sports-Drama Film
Director: Ali Abbaz Zafar
Producer: Aditya Chopra
Written by: Ali Abbaz Zafar
Music by: Julius Packiam (Score), Vishal-Shekhar (Songs)
Cinematography: Artur Zurawski
Edited by: Rameshwar S. Bhagat
Production Company: Yash Raj Films
Distributor: Yash Raj Films
Release Date: 6th July, 2016
Duration: 170 Minutes