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SULTAN - A typical masala movie having a better first half, casually showcasing the reputed events as well as the emotional tragedy, with Salman doing more hard work than his writer-director. (Review By Bobby Sing)

06 Jul, 2016 | Movie Reviews / 2016 Releases / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / S

The name ‘SALMAN KHAN’ has actually become a genre in itself in the last decade or so with a gigantic fan-following coming from every age group. But among the rest, all one wishes to know about his latest venture is that is it worth watching and entertaining enough to be seen once or should be skipped completely saving both our time and money?
So if you are also eager to know about the outcome of his much talked about Eid-release this year, then the good news is that SULTAN cannot be termed as any bad movie at all, since it typically follows the entertaining masala format of our Hindi films and therefore is sure to find its own loyal following among the viewers and fans together leaving more than a decent mark. However the other not so encouraging news is that SULTAN isn’t any specific sport oriented film as projected in the promos, with its major focus on a standard Hindi film love story (where the woman makes her career sacrifices for the man), cleverly incorporating the appealing sport of wrestling/ free-style fighting in its backdrop. But more importantly, SULTAN isn’t any superior, polished or novel entertaining movie as Salman’s last BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN either, that might be disappointing for a few expecting a major triumph.  
Offering a better and more entertaining romantic/musical first half, SULTAN has a song coming at every 10 minutes till the interval and then has a second half completely focusing on the fights ending on a happy note. The wrestling scenes are all predictable without any novel execution or surprises in store but still they do successfully get you involved cheering for the man in the ring, especially in the final 40 minutes. Where the initial hour has a good entertaining pace equipped with  some well-placed humour, it’s the second hour that does have a few drops at intervals before the fights come in reminding you of several films like ROCKY (The English Series), APNE, BROTHERS, the recent DO LAFZON KI KAHANI and more dealing with all similar sequences.
However what still keeps you engrossed are the sincere key performances well supported by the side-characters who never let you feel watching something monotonous or repetitive till the over-lengthy climax. Plus there is an excellent cinematography and background score that provides a finer edge to the proceedings playing the right notes pumping your blood just at the right moments.
Continuing with his innocent persona seen in BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN, Salman delivers another much improved and commendable performance putting in some great physical efforts clearly visible on screen. Remaining the life-line of SULTAN, he gets a valuable support from the talented Anushka Sharma, who also puts her earnest effort going through the physical training, but her character remains the most confusing one in the film too (discussed in details later). The other contributing merit in the performance department is the impact created by the talented supporting characters namely Amit Sadh (as the franchise owner), Anant Vidhaat (Sultan's friend), Kumud Mishra (Anushka’s father) and Randeep Hooda (in special appearance) strongly making their presence felt.
In short, no doubt SULTAN serves the commercial purpose well, for which it was made for. But if only Ali Abbas Zafar had worked on the emotional aspect of the film, more than the fights and other commercial elements like songs or else, SULTAN would have touched the level of BAJRANGI BHAILAAN quite easily making it a much better film. At present it certainly is a fine one time watch with a superior first half, but don’t expect a deeply moving, highly energetic or thoroughly entertaining movie of 170 minutes of duration to be exact.
Coming to the major downers, why SULTAN fails to move over just average or above average ratings: (Spoilers Ahead)
Firstly it’s the way writer-director Ali Abbas Zafar handles the major world sports events (by merely giving a caption on screen) wherein both Salman-Anushka easily get shortlisted as Indian representatives in the world over and then keep winning them all too without any obstacles like a piece of cake. These specific moments showcasing the various wins abroad (including Commonwealth, Asian and even Olympics) frankly make the film look like too fake and very casually dealing with the sports events having a huge international fame and reputation.
Secondly it was really surprising to see how an earth shattering family tragedy towards the intermission gets mentioned, explained and dealt with so quickly within few minutes without any exceptional display of heart wrenching emotions and sensitive moments by the actors on screen. It was as if there were some strict instructions from a superior authority that don’t stay at any sorrow or sad scenes for long and finish them fast moving over to the other entertaining ones as soon as possible. Personally for me this was a quite brutal way of depicting such a shocking tragedy.
Thirdly, the moment you see the sponsorship for Sultan being searched in a small local shop selling Pressure Cookers, one really feels strange and awkward together as there is simply no match between the grand event shown and such a small sponsor chosen running a local ‘cooker’ shop. In fact this one insertion simply pulls down the film to much poor level using a cheap trick to bring in some timely laughter.
Lastly but most importantly SULTAN loses its major marks due to a highly confusing and badly written character assigned to Anushka Sharma. Explaining it further, right from the beginning the girl is shown to be a well-educated, real tough character perfectly knowing her chosen priorities of life and in a particular scene is even given long dialogues on woman empowerment and their exploitation in society referring to the male chauvinism. But surprisingly this all goes for a toss just after a few scenes and we suddenly get to see a completely different girl on screen like a split personality.
So first the writer-director establishes her as a focused, powerful sports woman with a clear motive in life of becoming a legendary wrestler and just after 30 minutes makes her behave like an ‘Abla Bebas Naari’ who is dying to get married and is ready to sacrifice all her career ambitions (including the once in a lifetime Olympic selection) for her husband, getting pregnant without opting for any kind of precautions like an uneducated, unaware girl who knows nothing at all. Here though Anushka perfectly plays her part as per the director’s vision, but this was the most absurd characterization I have seen in the recent times and that too about a sports woman who is assumed to be a strong focused personality knowing her moves well.
Therefore even if SULTAN turns out to be a fair entertainer due to its various merits, these four major downers don’t allow me to give it any higher rating honestly above than the average one.
Anyway concluding the review in a novel style,
the following are the thoughts I had in mind while watching SULTAN in the theatre written in chronological order.
  • Begins calmly, making a base for Salman’s grand entry.
  • Sultan enters in a wrestling scene with loud cheers and roars.
  • The not so great first two songs still sound fine while watching them on the screen.
  • Shooting on location always helps for generating the realistic local feel.
  • A dialogue makes a reference to Shah Rukh Khan and the crowd explodes.
  • The romantic angle takes the film back to routine but still engaging.
  • 4 songs are there in the first 30 minutes with 'Baby ko Bass Pasand Hai' making a mark as a ‘routine’   marriage sequence track.
  • There is potty humour in the dialogues too. May be its the in-thing nowadays.
  • Comedy takes over the narration with some enjoyable sequences & dialogues offering fine, light entertainment post the ‘Baby’ song.
  • A strong dialogue rendered by Anushka on ‘woman empowerment’
  • One good thing is that they have not tried to hide the height difference in the lead couple.
  • More songs are there at regular intervals converting it into a purely masala movie with a bit of everything  till the first 45 minutes.
  • A few scenes remind you of the famous ROCKY series in English.
  • The 6th song is thrown-in within the first 75 minutes and its not interval yet.
  • Surprised to see so casual and careless depiction of major world competition fights ruining the fine build up dropping the pace.
  • Many cliched references are there not suiting the tough character of Anushka at all.
  • A real earth shattering tragedy comes in but again depicted so irresponsibly without the required amount of emotions, as if its nothing much of a shock to all the characters involved.
  • That’s interval after 85-90 minutes and it’s a typical masala movie projecting everything from major international fights to emotional tragedies so casually lacking the emotional aspect.
                                         ----- INTERVAL -----
  • The narration comes back to the underdog theme and shows some sparks.
  •  Another average track is here but people still waiting for the best song to come.
  • Amused to see them finding sponsors for a big sports event in a local shop selling pressure cookers!
  • The Martial Arts den is shown to be based in old Delhi's Chandni Chowk, where the lanes are so narrow that two people cannot even pass without touching each other!!!!!
  • Here is Randeep Hooda after 100 minutes into the film.
  • It goes into completely predictable mode in the second half losing the grip.
  • Again back to the training sessions like the first half.
  • Hooda without the physique is actually a misfit as a trainer but he still manages to excel in his given short role.
  • After forgetting Anushka and her family for a good half an hour a scene shows them again, going back to the references of ROCKY series.
  • The cooker shop sponsorship again pulls back the film to much inferior level.
  •  A big winning fight is here, the background score perfectly turns it into a heart pumping sequence and this major freestyle fight is the key point of the film coming after almost 130 minutes bringing back the cheers and shouts in the theatre as a celebration.
  • Post the impressive fight the visualization again goes back to all casual and predictable standards having a monotonous tone.
  • Another typical filmy disco sequence is squeezed in between the crucial fights.
  • And the only best track of the film “Jag Ghumeya” is here after around 140 minutes.
  • The term used as 'Romeo Wrestler' in a dialogue clearly gives you the commercial vision behind the film, vaguely presenting it as some realistic biographical account of a fighter (that looks completely fake and filmy from the very first scene).
  • Surprisingly the entire feel of Haryana and the magic of local language simply vanishes from the narration and dialogues in the second half.
  • The final 30-40 minutes is like watching a newer version of APNE or BROTHERS due to the all routine and seen before kind of fight sequences.
  • The winner is Sultan…… but wait, what about Anushka? So the director brings her back into the ring giving her a respectable status which surprisingly was not taken care of in the middle presenting her as ‘An Abla Naari’.
  • Anyway all is well that ends well and here is their kid girl in the dress of a wrestler too ending it on another Bollywood-ish note.
In short this is tailor-made crowd pleaser film written on a set Hindi film formula as a cocktail of love, romance, songs, sacrifice, tragedy, sports, fights, drama and a lot more woven around the one man, Salman Khan. It will sure set the box office on fire, may be breaking more records as expected, but the film isn’t any exceptional great attempt missing a big opportunity to be the rare sports movie based on Indian wrestling.
In fact this is a usual love story presented as a sweet dish soaked in the ‘chashni’ of ‘Indian Wrestling’.   
Coming to the repeated gutless gesture of increasing the ticket price by all multiplex owners (before SULTAN) posing as the new-age legal black-marketeers, I personally have been writing against this sick practice on Facebook since last many months. But have now decided to register my revolt or anger by deducting one star from the rating of every such big film for which the prices are raised shamelessly before the initial weekend.
For information of friends coming up with justifications that the Stars are vocal about this too but are unable to do anything, every big star of today has a kind of ownership over his project in one way or the other. So if they are willing, they can easily force a change thinking about the common man and their own fan-following in particular.
But ‘if only they are willing’ remains the key phrase.
In other words, in today’s evident scenario if any of the three Khans ruling the industry cannot do that, then nobody can…………..!!!!!
So though this is not going to make any difference to anyone related to the films, the industry or the loyal viewers, this is my own way of revolting against this ‘Sick Exploitive Practice’ by deducting one valuable star.
Rating : 3 / 5
(with the additional 0.5 specifically for the pulsating background score that actually forms the soul of the film enhancing its overall impact to many folds.)

LESS – 1 for the 'Shameless Increase In Ticket Prices' for which no STAR seems to be concerned at all.

NET RATING : 2 / 5
(with a hope that this Multiplex Mafia, Industry and Government together would soon look into the price issue and save the theater experience fast slipping away from the reach of a common man.)


Tags : Sultan Review by Bobby Sing, Sultan Film Review by Bobby Sing, Inspired films, New Bollywood Movies Released, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com
06 Jul 2016 / Comments ( 10 )

Dear Bobby,
On one hand, you are against the unfairly increased price of the tickets and deducting a star too for that , on the other hand , you are watching same movie two times in a day to add to its total first day collection and making our "superstar with a kind of ownership" more powerful.
Do you see the contradiction?
Anyway, more power to you and your pen for honest reviews.


Bobby Sing

Dear Sudhanshu,
I regularly visit the single screen theatres in my locality every month without even posting it on FB as an update........ since that is for my own nostalgic soul nourishment. And I do see many movies again just to be there for a while every month.

But more particularly, whenever I have to take family kids for a movie after a few weeks, I take them to the single screen theater with a purpose as:
A. I want them to feel the magic before it all gets extinct.
B. And secondly cannot afford spending more than 2000 rupees on a movie taking them to a multiplex.

So its happens every month that for the early review I watch a film in the multiplex that begins its show early at around 9.30 & 10 am. But later watch the same movie with all the kids at the single screen theatre in the evening too like SULTAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, JUNGLE BOOK and many more.

Hope this will give you a more clearer picture moving ahead of any confusion or contradiction.


Such Masala movies are required for Bollywood to survive.
Think about all the people involved in the industry.
We need fine balance of Good Art Cinema and Such Commercial Masala Movies.
Unless you make enough money, how long will you survive?
Quality alone is not sufficient, Quantity is equally important.

It\'s not only about Salman, who is a sure-shot at box office.
It\'s applicable everywhere.

You need a Salman in every industry to ensure the show goes on.

I may sound like a person who has \'accepted\' this kind of offerings from Bollywood, but then, I keep different expectations from someone like Salman Khan and someone like Rajat Kapoor.
Bobby Sing

Dear SD,
Yes such masala movies are required and I love watching them too like BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN and more.

But the one word that is missing in our cinema is BALANCE in GENRES adapted for the viewers.

And how it matters to the industry where so many people are working.
It matters, it affects and it destroys the whole team spirit when the viewers ignore all other films and go for only the starry ventures, resulting in concentration of complete power within just few persons.

In other words, If the viewers will form and display a balance in watching, the makers will be encouraged to present a balance in the making too.

However at the present this much required BALANCE is completely OUT and destroying our Hindi Cinema in particular.... BIG TIME


Kamal Arora

Respected Bobby Ji,
Satsri Akal.
I have been reading your reviews for many years now, and can clearly say that no other reviewer has the guts to give such honest reviews, even for these mighty khans\' movies. Every time I watch a movie, the first thing I do post watching, is read your review on it, and it matches 100% to what I feel.
When we talk of SULTAN, I felt this movie has been let down by its writing. It\'s a one time watch, offering nothing novel in terms of storytelling. Though the lead actors have worked really hard to get the execution right.

For me, the biggest flaws were:
1. Pressure cooker sponsorship: looked so childish
2. Anushka\'s character: contradictory and confusing
3. When Amit Sadh goes around looking for Sultan in his native village, as if he is after some unknown village wrestler. Come on, Sultan was a Olympic Gold medalist, World Champion just 3 years back. Glory doesn\'t fade so quickly.

Overall, for me, it was a matter of been there, seen that, done that.



Bobby Sing

Dear Kamal Ji,
Sat Sri Akal.
Thanks a lot for your kind appreciation and loving support from so many years. Knowing it certainly fills me with a new spirit and encouragement to continue doing the work with the same passion.

Regarding SULTAN, yes its a fine one time watch only and your third point as flaw is just perfect going with the logic.

With a hope that you must have read and liked my first book DID YOU KNOW (Vol.1) on Hindi Cinema's lesser known facts too.
Keep Visiting and Writing in,


Sultan is the Top grosser of the year 2016 after Airlift.
Bobby singh, you gave a tremendous Review on Sultan. I like all Reviews.
Thanks for sharing such Helpful Review.
I left you with one question.

Can Sultan cross 400 Cr mark.?

Bobby Sing

Dear Shyam,
Thanks a lot for your valuable support. But as you might be knowing 'Bobbytalkscinema' actually only talks about films and its content leaving the earning and trade part of it for the trade analysts.
So for more clear figures of earnings, I would suggest you should check a few other trade websites on net and Twitter.

Hope you will understand my inability to respond to such particular questions.


Bobby Ji Namaskar,

I have read your review after watching movie. I can tell that you reviewed movie aptly.

Sometimes I feel people just go to watch movies of bigger stars because it has a bigger names without thinking whether story is good or not. That\'s why bigger stars like Salman Khan, they have some ownership in the movies because they know, if their names are in movies, these will cross some crores landmark easily. In this para, my statement may be contradictory because I also watched movie but not because of Salman Khan. Just to clarify, I also watched and enjoyed \'so called small\' movies like Dhanak, Waiting and Raman Raghav 2.0. I also agree with you and SD that masala films like Sultan are very much needed to survive Hindi cinema (I did not used \'Bollywood\' word because it seems cheap copy of \'Hollywood\' word but its only my thinking).

I would like to mention especially about Chandni Chowk which you have written in your post. You are correct that lanes are narrow in Chandni Chowk but if you are able to cross those lanes you will find bigger houses or places. I am not saying all houses or places are bigger but few of them are.

I also found few flaws (not sure they are or not):

1. When Salman was hospitalised and his friend called Anushka, he told her that I will get booked your bus ticket. Was she too poor to purchase the ticket? How he sent her ticket to her? Did he use any online bus booking system? There may be some reasons behind why he said about booking of bus ticket but I could not find.

2. In the last scene of movie where Amit Sadh was talking to reporters that Sultan is wrestler and he will still be fighting but next scene shows that he is enjoying with his family.

Sorry for my not so perfect English as I don\'t have good command on this.


Bobby Sing

Hi Sunil,
Namaskar and thanks a lot for your detailed comment mentioning some flaws too.
You are very right in your observation about how film viewing has changed a lot in the last two decades affecting the good cinema.

Anyway do keep writing your views and please dont worry about the language at all.

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