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)

Review : Hasee Toh Phasee

Hansee To Phasee: A different take on Bollywood’s quintessential Love story

What happens when Karan Johar (Dharma Productions) and Anurag Kashyap (Phantom Productions) come together?…..One production which produces larger than life Bollywood saga and another who are more into small budget realistic Cinema…

Well the combination doesn’t disappoint and offers a quirky love story of two completely different individuals one a directionless youth Nikhil Bharadwaj (Sidharth Malhotra) and other a weird extremely hyper, pseudo girl Meeta (Parineeti Chopra). How they meet for the first time and again Hasee Toh Phaseethey meet after 7 years but the situation is different, now Nikhil is marrying Meeta’s sister Karishma (Adah Sharma). How they come to know each other during the course of the wedding celebrations and fall in love forms the love story of “Hansee to Phasee”.

Though on the onset the story looks extremely hackneyed plot of a quintessential Bollywood triangle love story but where it scores is the character of Meeta, an imperfect girl and Nikhil the dashing dude and their chemistry which turns into a love story. The story and screenplay by Harshvardhan Kulkarni goes few notches higher for brilliantly writing the lead characters and the screenplay has some remarkable moments like all the sequences of Nikhil and Meeta ‘s interactions or the sequence when Meeta re-unites with her father. Though it also has some regular caricature characters of uncle and aunts and brothers seen in such kind of movies.

Another highlight of the movie is its dialogues written by Anurag Kashyap, Vinil Mathew, Harshvardhan Kulkarni & Purva Naresh. The dialogues are realistic and funny at the same time. The dialogues make the screenplay move few notches higher.

It is the performances that make the movie a worthwhile watch especially Pareeniti Chopra’s portrayal of Meeta is just excellent and takes the movie to a different level, right from her body language to the way she talks everything is PERFECT, it won’t be a too much to say that she is the ‘Jaan’ of the movie. Sidharth Malhotra in his second movie shows an exemplary growth in his performance and suits the role of Nikhil to the ‘T’. Adah Sharma as Meeta’s sister Karishma also gives a good performance of a quirky girlfriend who is ready for a break up anytime. The supporting cast like Dilip Joshi, Sarat Saxena etc also do a splendid job.

Cinematography by Sanu John Varghese captures Mumbai well. Music by Vishal Shekhar is average and does not have any song which is worthwhile.

Vinil Mathew’s direction captures the small nuances of a relationship well and is successful in keeping the narrative simple yet engaging and making the story believable. Overall an entertaining movie which is worth a watch. One star extra for Pareeniti Chopra for her brilliant performance.

Review : Chennai Express

Chennai Express: A De-railed Train

Combination of Shahrukh Khan, Rohit Shetty & Deepika Padukone was a right recipe for a sure shot entertainment. But Chennai Express disappoints and How….

The very premise of the movie is hackneyed with glimpses of DDLJ & Jab we Met . Rahul (Shahrukh Khan)  a 40 year old bachelor who embarks on chennai-expressa journey to Rameswaram to submerge his grandfather’s ashes , but in his journey  he meets Meena (Deepika Padukone) in the train “Chennai Express” who is the daughter of the local Don of Konnam village Durgeshwara Azhagusundaram (Satyaraj). Durgeshwara wants his daughter to be married to Tangaballi (Nikitan Dheer) against Meena’s wishes and she runs away from her home and meets Rahul in the train. The journey of Rahul & Meena forms the crux of the plot.

Story & Screenplay by Yunus Sajawal is very clichéd and repetitive. The screenplay is neither a complete love story neither a comedy. Dialogues by Farhad-Sajid do not help either and lacks in humor and becomes monotonous after some time. Though it gives you some sequences which make you smile but then that is it. You keep on waiting for that typical Rohit Shetty Comic moment but it never comes. Another problem is, that the Tamil dialogues does not have subtitles and audiences like me keep wondering what is happening on the screen.

Shahrukh Khan really needs to re-invent himself. He is good but not excellent. His performance borderlines between hamming and good acting. Deepika is pleasant but her accent as a Tamilian is inconsistent. Other actors look more like amateur actors and are over the top.

Music by Vishal-Shekhar is very average and there is no memorable tune in the movie. The choreography by Farah Khan (Titli) & Chinni Prakash (Kashmir tu) are lavish and good.

Rohit Shetty ‘s direction is confusing. You keep wondering whether Rohit wanted to make a comedy or a love story. I think even he was confused coz you miss the Rohit Shetty magic which we have seen in his previous movies like the Golmaal trilogy or Bol Bachchan or All the Best.

This is definitely Rohit Shetty’s  average movie and  I will go with 2 & a Half stars…