Film Review – Sultan

At last Salman Khan has got what he must have always hankered for – a valid reason to go shirtless

Sultan_R copyAkash Oberoi (Amit Sadh) is a sports biz-kid who owns an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) Premier League. His co-partners are after his blood as the previous two seasons have gone financially awry. On the advice of his father (Parikshit Sahni in a cameo), he goes to Haryana in search of Sultan Ali Khan (Salman, who else?), who’d once won laurels for the country, but due to personal mishaps has now quit wrestling.
The first half of the film, narrated to Akash in flashback by Sultan’s close friend Govind (a brilliant performance by Anant Sharma), is rather compelling…
Sultan, a robust 40-year-old in the cable TV business, happens to encounter Aarfa (Anushka Sharma), a budding wrestler whose father runs an Akhada. It’s love at first sight – and ‘cause the belle will only marry someone in her own profession (‘a doctor will only marry a doctor, an engineer will marry an engineer’) – Sultan takes to the sport in earnest… And presto, while other aspirants have been laboring for years, our shirtless Khan is in the State team within weeks!
Marriage to Aarfa and gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games, World Wrestling Championships and 2012 London Olympics, the world is at his feet – literally. But then – despite his dictum of ‘wrestling is not a sport; it’s what lies within’ – disaster strikes.
It takes MMA coach Fatteh Singh (Randeep Hooda in a restrained, notable performance) to resurrect the down-and-out (professionally and personally) Sultan and ultimately beat the world’s top ‘killing machines’.
The wrestling scenes are well enacted and Salman’s body double Chad Guerrero does a commendable job in the fight sequences. Though two songs too many, ‘baby ko bass pasand hai’ (choreographed by Farah Khan) is a vigorous and peppy number.

In Sultan, director Ali Abbas has squeezed every ounce of Salman’s star power. While Anushka is completely at ease with the Haryanvi accent, Salman struggles with it. Like any other Salman Khan film, ‘Sultan’ is escapist fare, though not without its foibles.
There is a poignant scene where Sultan utters ‘main pehelwan hoon, actor nahi’. So true…Salman has always been a star – nothing more, nothing less.

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