Sultan (2016)

RETURN TO(F) THE R(K)ING

From Ali Abbas Zafar, the director “Mere Brother ki Dulhan” and “Gunday”, comes the highly anticipated Sultan. As soon as I heard the concept, I assumed it would be just another a measly cash grab. But when the first trailer was released, I was completely sold and couldn’t be more excited for Sultan. And did it deliver?

Absolutely…

Sultan is utterly spectacular. It’s a film that seems slightly uneventful on paper, but once brought to life on to the big screen, completely flooring. It was absolutely riveting from start to finish. It begins slowly, builds,….and builds,…and builds,…until it bursts with emotional power and excitement that *literally* left the audience cheering.

On a technical scale, the feature is fragments away from flawless, with only a moment or a two of noticeable in its way. Sultan looks beautiful, portraying the state of Haryana with a rich sense of urban atmosphere. On the technical side, it’s absolutely worth noting that there are many one-shots in this film that are definitely wondering, “how???” One specifically is “a fight”, watching which, you’ll know exactly that it’s of a single take. The film was also edited exquisitely. With a hefty 170 minute run time, you’d expect Sultan to be sluggish yet it ceases to do so. I was shocked when I felt like 20 minutes had passed away but it’s nearing interval. Every scene in the film had a purpose. It wasn’t just to move the plot along, but it was to develop the characters, at which Sultan excels : character development. I cared wholeheartedly for Salman, Anushka and their love thread.

Coming to the performances, all are absolute (sorry) knockouts. Throughout Sultan, it didn’t feel like I was watching a movie, instead it feels like watching real people. The film portrayed the life of a boxer with a troubled past, trying to overcome it, fighting himself. Salman Khan, who previously hadn’t worked with the aforementioned director Ali Abbas Zafar, is absolutely marvelous, especially in the scene where he sees himself in the mirror. He completely embodies the character of Sultan. Salman’s performance is layered and one that gives audiences a character that they can completely get behind. Supporting Mr.Salman is Aarfa, Anushka Sharma. This woman gives a damn good performance which not only surprises audience, but maybe Anushka herself. After her recent string of misstep “Bombay Velvet”, I didn’t think that she even knew she was capable of reaching these heights anymore. As a supporting actor Randeep Hooda gave an impeccable performance. Though his appearance is minimal, he’s is very good with what he was given. It’s worth noting the amount of development his character gets i.e., bringing back Sultan. An argument in the film involving motivation beautifully illustrates how different this character is from typical ones.

Concluding, Sultan is not wholly without flaws, yet it’s very close. Maybe this kind of theme was little heavily delivered but at the end, Sultan blew me away. It’s a technical marvel, with masterful Songs, score, cinematography and atmosphere. It’s also a showcase of brilliant performances of Salman, Anushka and others. Lastly, Zafar’s brilliant focus on balancing characterizations and story progression makes this movie a guidebook for excellent direction. This EID, see what you should truly be thankful for : Sultan.

My favourite : Rise of Sultan song placement as Background

Khoon mein tere mitti, Mitti mein tera khoon ( You are son of the soil)

Upar Allah niche dharti, beech mein tera junoon, Aye Sultan! (Between the realms of earth and heaven.. Oh Sultan!)

My Rating : 3.75/5

– Ashok Reddy

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