Yash Raj Films’ Sultan (UA) is a love story set against the backdrop of wrestling. Sultan Ali Khan (Salman Khan) lives a simple life in a village in Haryana. One day, he meets Aarfa (Anushka Sharma) who is a wrestler. Aarfa, unlike the other girls in the village, has studied in Delhi and has come back to her village to train with her father, Barkat (Kumud Mishra), because she has only one dream and that is to win a gold medal for India at the Olympics. Completely smitten by Aarfa, Sultan realises that Aarfa will only marry a wrestler and so he decides to start training to become a wrestler.
Soon, he becomes a wrestler and that too, a very good one. He even marries Aarfa. One by one, he starts winning not only national but international titles and even becomes the world champion in wrestling. But when he comes back from the world championship victory, a tragedy drives his wife away from him and he decides to give up wrestling for good. After a few years, Aakash Singh Oberoi (Amit Sadh) is trying to salvage his Mixed Martial Arts franchise, called Pro Take Down. After two seasons of losses, he convinces his partners to give him one more chance. His father, Gyan Singh Oberoi (Parikshat Sahni), advises him to get an Indian fighter in the mix because that is the only way they will be able to attract the Indian audiences. Following his father’s advice, he sets out to meet Sultan but he soon realises that Sultan’s dream in life is something else entirely. Aakash manages to convince Sultan that his dreams can be achieved by returning to the world of wrestling and gets him back in the ring. Returning to the world of sport after a long time, Sultan trains day and night to get back in shape and understand this new sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Will Sultan manage to win in the end? What was it that drove Aarfa away from Sultan? And will Sultan manage to win her back in the end?
Ali Abbas Zafar’s story is both, entertaining and engrossing. Although there is not much newness in the love story, which the film basically is, setting it against the backdrop of wrestling makes it look fresh. The core of the story – i.e., the love story and the family drama – is absolutely Indian at heart and will appeal hugely to the families and the ladies, in particular. Ali Abbas Zafar’s screenplay is wonderfully written and keeps the audience glued in without them losing interest for even a minute. The first half has a good dose of humour. The second half has a lot of emotional appeal, drama and melodrama. Both the portions, of course, have wrestling and action. A number of scenes in the film are clap-worthy and it will not be rare to see the audience scream, shout and applaud in the cinema halls. Some emotional scenes will bring a lump to the audience’s throats and the weak-hearted may even end up shedding tears. Dialogues, penned by Ali Abbas Zafar, are gems and if the light ones evoke a lot of laughter, the dramatic ones tug at the heart strings and the emotional ones move the viewers to tears.
Salman Khan lives the role of Sultan. He is outstanding as the lover boy, the wrestler, the loving husband and the brooding man. He is also brilliant as the man who strikes back. There is so much innocence on his face that he makes the character of Sultan endearing right from the word ‘go’. Not once does he get out of character. Indeed, a performance which could fetch him awards. Anushka Sharma shines as only few could. She is first-rate at whatever she does and it is a sheer delight to watch her performance. The chemistry between Salman and Anushka is magical. Anant Sharma, as Sultan’s bosom pal, Govind, is wonderful. His expressions are to die for. Kumund Mishra does an absolutely fantastic job. Even his facial expressions and body language are truly praiseworthy. Amit Sadh leaves a lasting impact as Aakash. Randeep Hooda may have a brief role but he stands his own as the coach who trains Sultan when he strikes back. Parikshat Sahni has his moments as Gyan Singh Oberoi. Sumeet Samnani is lovable as Vicky Kukreja. Abhishek Duhan (as Titu), Farrokh Jaffer (as Sultan’s grandmother), Naveen Kumar (as Sharief Ali Khan), Monica Verma (as the doctor), Satish Sharma (as the minister), Parevz Mullan (as Vicky Kukreja’s father), Meiyang Chang and Kubra Sait (both as commentators), Shibani Dandekar (as the news reporter), Himashu Bhutiyani (as doctor), Danesh (as Titu’s friend), Suzie (as Sultan’s daughter) and the others lend excellent support.
Ali Abbas Zafar’s direction is superb. He has kept the narrative style simple and extremely entertaining and engaging. Also, his direction caters as much to the classes as to masses, as much to the ladies as to men, as much to the old as to the young. Music (Vishal-Shekhar) is a major plus point. ‘Jag Ghoomeya’, ‘Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai’, ‘440 Volt’ and ‘Bulleya’ are hit songs. Irshad Kamil’s lyrics are extraordinary. The picturisation of ‘Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai’ (by Farah Khan) is just too wonderful. Other song picturisations (by Vaibhavi Merchant) are also very eye-filling. Julius Packiam’s background score is outstanding and serves to heighten the impact of the drama. Artur Zurawski’s cinematography deserves distinction marks. Action scenes will be loved, more so by the masses and the youth as their choreography (by Parvez Sheikh and ‘Anl’ Arasu) is superb. The MMA fights have been excellently choreographed by Larnell Stovall. Production Design by Acropolis (Rajnish Hedao, Sumit Basu and Snigdha Basu) is lovely. Rameshwar S. Bhagat’s editing is razor-sharp.
On the whole, Sultan is a blockbuster and will go on to write box-office history. It will smash old box-office records and create new ones. It will turn out to be one of the biggest ever blockbusters, if not THE BIGGEST ever so far!