Movie Review: ‘Sultan’ has BLOCKBUSTER written all over it!

No EID is EID without a Salman Khan blockbuster releasing every year. This year YRF and Ali Abbas Zafar bring in the much-anticipated Salman Khan  movie of the year – Sultan. Set against the backdrop of wrestling this Salman-Anushka starrer is actually a love story.

The movie begins with Akash Oberoi (Amit Sadh) who is one of the stakeholders in Pro-Take Down (which is one of its kind MMA wrestling tournament) trying to save it’s existence. His father Parikshit Sahni advises him to get Sultan (Salman Khan) who was once the world champion in wrestling, on board to change his fate. Inspired by the story told to him by his father, Akash reaches the village where Sultan leads a non-existent life. After Sultan refuses Akash’s offer to wrestle in Pro-Take Down tournament, he goes searching for the reason that made a world champion leave his glory and game forever.

The movie then moves into a flashback revealing Sultan and Aarfa’s love story. Sultan Ali Khan, who was once an aimless man dabbling with cable TV business, finds his passion for wrestling when he falls head over heels in love with the fierce and independent wrestler Aarfa (Anushka Sharma), daughter of a famous wrestling coach who teaches the sport in an authentic and rustic Indian akhada. Their love story turns into marriage after Sultan turns into a passionate wrestler who gears up to take down the world with his unique moves and starts winning championships. As pride takes over the mind of a talented Sultan, a loss of his loved one reduces his fame to ashes. In an attempt to regain his lost love and respect in the eyes of Aarfa, Sultan once again takes up a challenge – he joins Aakash to fight against the world champions of Mixed Martial Arts and is ready to go to any lengths to regain everything he has lost.

Ali Abbas Zafar after two failed attempts – Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and Gunday, comes up trumps with Sultan. The script in it’s whole is an entertaining one and has all the ingredients to make it a huge hit among the audience. Although, let me clarify here that it is not a very unique or never-done-before plot but still it is a sheer pleasure to watch this love story set in the background of wrestling. The dialogues are wonderful, the screenplay is flawless although the editor could have trimmed down few scenes in the second half to make it more pacier. The first half is absolutely filmy and entertaining while the second half is more dedicated towards the rise of a fallen hero showing more of wrestling matches and training.

Performances by every actor are top notch. Salman Khan shows why he is at the top of his game. He gets into the character of Sultan as if the character was just made for him. You forget he is the superstar we all like to idolize instead you will see the character taking over the frames like his earlier release Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Anushka has given a very strong performance. She looks, acts, talks like a Haryanvi wrestler. Amit Sadh is a pleasure to see on the screen. He should be given more meaty roles and movies so that a talent like him can be nurtured and not lost to anonymity. Randeep Hooda is powerful but wasted in a cameo. The actor who has played Sultan’s friend Govind (Anand) is awesome. He is another actor to look out for. Kumud Mishra as Sultan’s coach and Aarfa’s father is quite impactful.

Music by Vishal-Shekhar is quite nice especially Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai, Jag Ghumeya and the title track. Background score by Julias Packiam is nice and goes with the theme of the movie. Cinematography by Artur Zurawski is excellent while action choreography by Larnell Stovall is praiseworthy.

On the whole, Sultan is definitely a movie to watch out for as it has BLOCKBUSTER written all over it!

My Verdict: ****

Movie Review: Hell hath no fury like a ‘FAN’ scorned!

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This week saw the much awaited release of Shah Rukh Khan  & Shah Rukh Khan 🙂 starrer FAN directed by Maneesh ‘Band Baaja Baraat’ Sharma and produced by Yash Raj Films. Loosely based on Hollywood movie The Fan and many real life incidents, this movie shows the obsession of a fan for his superstar idol and to what lengths his obsession can take him.

Gaurav (Shah Rukh Khan) is a happy-go-lucky guy from Delhi who is a huge fan of superstar Aryan Khanna (Shah Rukh Khan). From his childhood, he has been such a Jabra fan of Aryan Khanna that he knows every minute detail of his life. Though he has a cyber cafe of his own and also a one way love interest (Shriya Pilgaonkar), Gaurav’s only obsession is with Aryan Khanna. He wishes to meet Aryan Khanna on his birthday, and with the prize money he wins from a local star fan contest, he goes to meet his idol with his trophy and mom’s halwa. As expected, when he reaches Aryan Khanna’s residence, he realises he is just one of the millions of fans the superstar has. Determined to meet him at any cost, he takes a very crooked way to get his idol’s attention. He succeeds but not in a nice way, as Aryan Khanna gets very pissed at what he does. Gaurav finally gets his face time with Aryan Khanna, but things go all haywire, and the conversation also doesn’t end in the way he wants. Insulted and miffed, Gaurav decides that from here on, whenever Aryan Khanna’s name is taken, people will also take his name too. Thus begins a cat and mouse game between the superstar and his fan, as the fan decides it’s time to rattle at the superstar’s cage and make him pay for what he had said and done!

Performance by Shah Rukh Khan as both Aryan Khanna and Gaurav ROCKS!!! After a long time, maybe after Chak De, I quite enjoyed a SRK movie. His portrayal of Gaurav is awesome. The supporting cast does not get too much of scope as it is a start-to-end SRK movie however, Shriya Pilgaonkar in a brief role as Gaurav’s love interest is superb. Gaurav’s parents played by Deepika Amin and Yogendra Tiku show sparks while Waluscha De Sousa [as Aryan’s wife] doesn’t get much scope. However, newcomer Sayani Gupta [as Aryan’s secretary] is very notable.

There are no songs and that is a first for a SRK and YRF movie. The DoP (Manu Anand) does a great job by bringing the screen alive with his camera work. Editing (Namrata Rao) could have been crisper as in the first half few of the scenes seem to be monotonous. Background score by Andrea Guerra is good. The makeup department needs to be applauded for transforming SRK as Gaurav. Quite commendable!

Overall it is a good movie but not a GREAT movie!

My Verdict: ***