Movie Review : Sultan

Sultan: A GOOD blend of Bollywood Masala with a hint of Realism

Since the last few years Eid is not only the celebration of the festival but also a celebration of Salman Khan’s films, and Salman’s fans have not disappointed him, and given him a 100 Crs Eidi every year….

sultan MovieBut since last year the trend of Salman Khan’s Eid releases have seen a sea change in the genre, last year it was “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” and this year it is “Sultan”, a genre which was alien to Salman and his movies. Normally Salman Khan Movies were light comedies with some typical Salman Khan histrionics which would hardly qualify as good acting and music played a vital role in their successes. But last year “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” changed it all, it was sensitive subject with prime focus on the child artist and this change was accepted by Salman fans whole heartedly. This year “Sultan” carries the baton forward.

“Sultan” tells the story of an underdog village ruffian Sultan (Salman Khan) who falls in love with Aarfa (Anushka Sharma) a women wrestler and just to woo her Sultan takes up wrestling under the guidance of Aarfa’s father Barkat (Kumud Mishra). Sultan not only wins heart of Aarfa but also his village by winning the local, district competition and also wins the Olympic Gold Medal. So much adulation goes to Sultan’s head and in the bargain loses his fame and his family more prominently his love Aarfa. But destiny knocks his door in the form of “PRO Take Down” Competition, a martial arts mixed fight competition. Whether Sultan agrees to join the competition and what happens to him is what the rest of the movie is all about…

Story wise “Sultan” does not offer anything new, rather the story is quite predictable, but we need to give writer and director Ali Abbas Zafar credit for an engaging screenplay. Again the screenplay also does not give you anything new but it is the way the movie is presented, is what stands out. Ali has written the female character of Aarfa extremely strong who kind of compliments the strong headed Sultan. The love story has some cute moments which adds the charm due to Salman’s performance. Where Ali scores is getting the emotional quotient right. Though the movie is predictable but still the audience flows with the narration which not a mean achievement for Ali. Though I felt the run time of the movie of 3 hours could have been cut short by good 30 minutes. The training sequence becomes a bit repetitive and some songs just did NOT gel with the narration. Ali does a brilliant job in the dialogues segment, he gets the dialect correct and has used the colloquial language in his dialogues which elevates the screenplay and also increases the entertainment quotient. Some dialogues are inspiring but not preachy…In a nut shell a decent job in writing…

Salman Khan just elevates “Sultan” in different level with his portrayal of a village simpleton who attains success and becomes cocky headed and falls miserably and again rises, in short his underdog act just gels with the audience expectations. It is quite evident to see how much preparation Salman did for playing Sultan, right from gaining weight to learning the Haryanvi dialect, which is a refreshing change for all Salman fans and others as well. Salman just carries the 3 hour movie on his shoulders and never falters a wee bit. Definitely one of Salman’s finest performance. Anushka Sharma as Aarfa the female wrestler compliments Salman’s portrayal. It was good to see an actress as strong as Salman in a Salman Khan movie which was missing in the last few Salman Khan outings. Anushka gets her character bang on right from the first frame and never leaves the character till the end, I must say another feather on Anushka’s cap. Another actor who did a brilliant job is Anant Sharma who plays Sultan’s closest pal Govind. Anant shines even in frames which has the mega star Salman in it, really a performance worth a mention. Another actor who is gaining prominence and proving himself with every movie is Kumud Mishra who plays Barkat, Sultan’s coach and Aarfa’s father, and again Kumud does not disappoint rather his acting is underplayed yet impactful, not a mean task to achieve for sure. Amit Sadh as Akash the wrestling championship’s owner does a decent job but in some sequences you feel that Amit is in awe of Salman which results in his performance getting diluted in some sequences.Randeep Hooda in a guest appearance as Sultan’s Coach for the PRO Take down Competition creates an impact in his brief role. Rest of the actors like Parikshit Sahani, Farruk Jaffer, Naveen Kumar also do a splendid job…

Just wanted to mention the casting director Shanoo Sharma who got correct actors for the roles which helped the movie to get the realistic feel, definitely a wonderful job done by Shanoo…

Ali Abbas Zafar after “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan” and “Gunday” gets it right with “Sultan”, he not only scores as a director but also as a writer especially the screenplay and dialogues. Where he scores is getting some brilliant performances by the cast and second getting the emotional quotient right with the writing. I would not say “Sultan” being a classic but definitely an entertaining movie with some heartwarming story…and the credit goes to Ali Abbas Zafar….

Music by Vishal-Shekhar is a good mix of masala quirky songs which is staple in a Salman Khan movie and the soothing romantic numbers. One thing I must admit that Vishal-Shekhar scored the music with the local flavor which was apt for the movie. Two songs which stand out from the album is “Jag  Ghomeya” sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and “ Sachi Muchi” sung by Mohit Chauhan and Harshdeep Kaur… and not to mention the party song “Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai”….

The production design by Rajnish Hedao is so real that it blends with the narration effortlessly. Artur Zurawski gets the earthiness of Haryana, the flavor of Purani Delhi and the glamour quotient of the competition spot on with his cinematography…

“Sultan” is the right blend of Bollywood Masala and realistic cinema, I will go with Three had a Half Star….

Movie Rating: (3.5 / 5)

Movie Review Mardaani

Mardaani: A Celebration of Woman Power

There are some movies which are made just to entertain but there are some which makes you think, Mardaani falls in the latter genre.

Human Trafficking is a business which is growing at an alarming rate worldwide and India is a hub of Child Movie Review MardaaniTrafficking and Mardaani deals with this topical subject.

Gopi Puthran chooses a controversial topic of Human Trafficking for his story and the risk with such subjects is that it becomes preachy. But thankfully Gopi’s screenplay refrains from doing so and tells the story in a thriller format of a crime branch Inspector Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukherjee) who has a soft spot for an orphan Pyari (Debutant Priyanka Sharma). Life takes a turn for Shivani when Pyari goes missing, how Shivani busts the Human Trafficking nexus and finds Pyari constitutes the rest of the story.

Gopi’s screenplay captures the modus operandi of how human trafficking is done in a thriller format which is engaging and keeps you at the edge of the seat; not much time is spent on the emotional quotient. It is the climax which looks a bit too convenient. The characters are realistic and so are the dialogues. But I thought the Thriller quotient could have been much better as the surprise element is missing in most part of the movie.

The performances are the biggest highlight of the movie. Rani as Shivani gives a crackling performance, everything from her body language to the way she speaks everything is spot on. Rani Mukherjee again proves that you cannot keep a good actor away for too long. Another brilliant performance is of the debutant Tahir Raj Bhasin who plays the antagonist Karan, he is so good that you start hating him, truly a brilliant debut. Tahir’s portrayal of Karan is a perfect complement to Rani’s portrayal of Shivani. Mona Ambegoankar gives a superb performance, though her role is small but she shines even in a brief role, sad to see that a brilliant actress like her is underutilized. Another debutant Priyanka Sharma as Pyari shows spark. Jishu Sengupta the Bengali actor is wasted in a brief role. Rest of the cast is cast well and they do a good job. I should mention Shanoo Sharma the casting director who has done a brilliant job of casting.

The second highlight is the cinematography by Artur Zurawski who captures the bylanes of Mumbai and Delhi well and keeps the tone as realistic as possible in lieu of the narration.

With “Mardaani” Pradeep Sarkar resumes his original form which was seen in “Parineeta” (2005). Though a dark and sensitive subject, but Pradeep handles it well and keeps the narrative simple though a bit of twists would have been better. But Pradeep is successful is extracting some brilliant performances from the cast which is commendable.

Kudos to Pradeep Sarkar for taking up such a sensitive issue for a movie and showing how women can defend themselves against odds. This movie is a true celebration of woman power, I will go with 3 and a half stars…

Movie Rating: (3.5 / 5)