Salman Khan is going through the best phase of his career and his latest release and Sultan will definitely be another feather in his already crowded cap. The story is a simple one, of an aged wrestler and his quest to win a lot of things – the love of his life, respect, fame and of course, his matches. Anushka Sharma plays the feisty and feminist love interest, Aarfa who is also a wrestler and a kickass one at that.
It’s love at first sight for him, but not really for her and in the first half, Sultan does everything to win her friendship, thinking that it basically means love (because we are like that only). His ‘baby’ though, likes the bass but not a guy with no goals, so he takes up wrestling in order to win her respect, because apparently doctors marry doctors, engineers marry engineers so wrestlers will marry wrestlers. If this is true, I’m never getting married (imagine living with another writer!).
Anyway, Sultan becomes great within a month and also wins the State championship, something others have been training to win since they were kids, like Aarfa herself. The two marry, win medals, she later puts her dreams on the backburner to support her man who wins every gold medal out there. But then his arrogance and a family tragedy breaks them apart. This story is said in flashback by Sultan’s BFF Govind (Anant Sharma who is one of the best actors in the movie) to Akash (Amit Sadh) who owns an MMA Premiere Leauge-ish thing, the first two seasons of which have been a flop. Akash’s father, who has seen Sultan in his heydays tells his son to bring in an Indian fighter to get the desi audience thumping. The second half of the film is mostly about the various stages of this championship which Sultan wins, some easily and some which are difficult enough to break his bones.
Director Ali Abbas Zafar has done a good job in making all the action sequences interesting, which is a big deal because they’re all pretty similar. The screenplay by Aditya Chopra is remarkable as the movie is nearly 3 hours but never boring. Vishal and Shekhar‘s music suits the pace of the film, Jag Ghoomeya is easily the best track from the album. The dance step from the song is rather strange, but I’m surprised how a 50 year old man managed to do it. The supporting cast which includes Amit Sadh, Kumud Mishra, Anant Sharma and Randeep Hooda (in a special appearance) is solid. Anushka Sharma is perfectly cast as the firebrand Aarfa, but it’s Salman’s performance that surprised me. In a standout scene, before he starts training with the constantly eating Randeep Hooda, Sultan sees himself (with his paunch and all) in front of the mirror, and completely breaks down, before sobering up within minutes to face his opponent in the ring. Those few moments of vulnerability showed how good an actor he actually is, and that, will remain the best part of the film to me.
Rating: *** stars