Sultan review by Anupama Chopra: This is an over-sized Salman slam | movie reviews | Hindustan Times
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Sultan review by Anupama Chopra: This is an over-sized Salman slam

Sultan is an overwrought, overblown, over-stretched sports saga. When it ended, I had moist eyes and a big grin on my face. In wrestling terms, it’s an over-sized Salman slam.

Sultan movie coverage Updated: Jul 07, 2016 15:46 IST
Anupama Chopra
Salman Khan plays a wrestler in Sultan.
Salman Khan plays a wrestler in Sultan.

SULTAN
Director: Ali Abbas Zafar
Actors: Salman Khan, Anushka Sharma, Randeep Hooda, Amit Sadh
Rating: 3/5

Sultan is an overwrought, overblown, over-stretched sports saga. When it ended, I had moist eyes and a big grin on my face. In wrestling terms, it’s an over-sized Salman slam.

Sports movies operate with standard tropes – the protagonist is an unlikely underdog; there’s always a set-piece training sequence where we see him or her transform, physically and mentally. It all climaxes in an adrenaline-filled fight in which our hero first gets beaten up but then emerges triumphant.

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Director and writer Ali Abbas Zafar uses this template, but he cleverly layers it. The emotional core comes from a strong love story. Sultan only becomes a wrestler because he falls in love with one. Aarfa( Anushka Sharm a) is a state champion. To equal her, he needs to be more than the local jester in their Haryanvi village. He is a natural at the sport, but success brings with it a trauma so deep that their relationship splinters. And Sultan must slowly resurrect his life–both in the wrestling pit and outside it.

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Sultan is a mud wrestler and the akhade ki mitti fuels his bullish strength. So much so that when Sultan goes to Delhi to fight foreigners in a mixed martial arts contest, he takes a sackful of mitti with him. Early in the film, Sultan describes Aarfa as bahar se modern, andar se desi. Which also speaks to the colossal screen strength of Sal man Khan. I don’t know how much of his body was real and how much was digitised, but he is absolutely convincing as this all-heart-and-brawn village boy. When he smiles and says to Aarfa, “Madam main bada hi rare hoon”, you believe him. It was also refreshing to see the heroine have a substantial role in a Salman Khan movie. Anushka matched him at every step.

Watch Sultan trailer

I’ ll warn you that at 2 hours and 50 minutes, Sultan is much too long. The music by Vishal and Shekhar is lilting but there are too many song breaks.

But I left the film satiated, like I had eaten too much atarich, many-flavoured feast.