A Salman Khan fan pleaser right from the word go that ignores the depth and opportunity a sports based film can offer like YRF's previous arty and thought provoking CHAK DE! INDIA or THE WRESTLER from the west did.
Superstar Salman Khan's highly awaited Eid bonanza - SULTAN is a single minded paisa vasool, citi maar
crowd pleaser that worships the antics and stardom of Salman Khan making the fans and entertainment hungry souls who don't mind the age-old cliches lapping this up with joy and happiness, while others wonder how bloated like a fish Salman Khan who has given up wrestling eight year ago can turn amazingly agile and fight with those international fighters who are half his age.
Director Ali Abbas Zafar (GUNDAY, MERE BROTHER KI DULHAN fame) this time takes on the ring with a sports drama starring the box office phenomenon Salman Khan as a wrestler Sultan Ali Khan from Haryana who fights against all odds to win the battle within himself for his love Aarfa (Anushka Sharma).
Ali Abbas Zafar's unfussy direction is aimed with a single minded agenda to please bhai
fans and he succeeds to that level. The narration is simple and overwhelmingly cliche in its predictability that twines between the intensity of the wrestling and the pain/suffering of Sultan's personal life. The power of Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma's brilliant sway as a female wrestling champ makes this watchable.
Writer-director Ali Abbas Zafar in producer Aditya Chopra's screenplay begins the proceedings with cameraman Artur Zurawski's ace lens work introducing us to the flop pro wrestling league inspired from the WWF from the west by Akash (Amit Sadh)- son of a veteran wrestling expert played by Parikshit Sahni. Following the advice from his father, Akash begins on a journey to find the 'Indianess' in his league - an Indian wrestler who can beat the goras
(foreigners) in their free style wrestling game with his desi dhobi pachad
move famous in Indian form of wrestling popularly known as 'Kusti'.
In a movie designed and planned to bank on Salman Khan's terrific mass following which goes hysterical during Eid release, Ali Abbas Zafar keeps no stone unturned in making Salman a super hero wrestler and introduces Salman to the audience in a terrific 'citi tali maar
' entry as the local Haryanvi legend Sultan Ali from a small town called Rewari in Haryana. Cut to, Akash meets the ageing local legend who has given up the 'Dangal' (read wrestling) and is seen collecting funds for a mission. Amazing! how contrasting was that. Really?
Anyways, how a call for a redemption, motivates Sultan to take up wrestling after 8 years to win back his pride and love from his estranged lover and inspiration Aarfa (Anushka Sharma) - a state level wrestling champ forms the crux of the story which has its moments of joy, pain, suffering, laughter, songs, drama etc. as ordered by the doctors of escapist, crowd pleasing cinema.
SULTAN sees Salman Khan staying at the top of his game delivering another knockout punch after BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN. The actor as the Haryanvi hunk pleasingly invests in his known swagger with that winning Haryanvi accent ensuring the expected commercial expectations to a winning result and gets good one-liners.
Anushka Sharma as Aarfa outstandingly holds her own in her determined brilliance. The actress has meat in her role and is much beyond a mere show piece that is normally seen in such commercial format.
For Amit Sadh it's a career-reviving role and he justifies it.
The talented Kumud Mishra again displays his finesse as Aarfa's father and a wrestling couch. Randeep Hooda as a free style fighting champ failed by circumstances and Sultan's coach is simply superb.
Anant Vidhaat as Salman's buddy gives an endearing performance. With a bang on Haryanvi dialect, the actor gives good support to Salman Khan. what's remarkable about Anant's performance is his ability to get into the skin of the character with ease and making his presence felt in front of a towering superstar like Salman Khan.
Technicalities are up to mark with Artur Zurawski's brilliant lens work, Brahim Achabbakhe and Anal Arasu crowd pleasing stunts and Rajnish Hedao's production design.
Vishal-Shekhar's music is already popping up the charts with 'Jag Ghoomiya' and 'Base Pasand Hai'.
What cringes SULTAN for a rational/reasonable viewer is the maker's complete surrender of novelty, and innovations in his sports drama, considering the banner YRF, which gave CHAK DE! INDIA the SRK starrer has now become a cult and is hailed as SRK's best ever.
SULTAN fails to break such norms while bhai happily breaks bones in the ring to please his fans thus 'dhobi pachad-ing' (limiting) this to a highly predictable but harmless watch.
Don't miss it if you are a fan of Salman Khan and in the mood to celebrate