STORY: Sultan begins wrestling to earn Aarfa’s heart and soul – but what goes on when Sultan manages to lose Aarfa? So when, a long time and multiple kilos later, he encounters a much deadlier battle?
REVIEW: So, this is actually the first movie where Salman Khan will take off his t-shirt and everyone – including Khan – shudders. Portraying Sultan, who goes from being lean and fit to a gloomy, middle-aged, paunch-burdened man, Khan performs with elan and unhappiness, his acting giving Sultan a good, rounded punch.
Rewari lad Sultan (Salman) comes deeply in love with wrestling champ Aarfa (Anushka), who instructs him no ganwaar lacking she can be gained by an objective. Sultan determinedly joins Aarfa’s father’s akhaara – the scene where he switches from ‘Barkat bhai’ to ‘uncle’ is fun – and trains so difficult, he wins every championship and Aarfa’s heart.
However when Sultan is victorious the Olympics, he manages to lose his mind and in his arrogance, manages to lose Aarfa and even more. The only path Sultan can gain Aarfa – and his own identification – again is by fighting in businessman Akash Oberoi’s (Amit) Mixed FIGHTING TECHINQUES (MMA) tournament.
But can the desi wrestler, overweight and broken-spirited now, compete keenly against the world’s toughest judo, capoeira and karate champions?
Salman provides fighting performance, his persona graph moving plausibly from a cheery, day-to-day “loojer” to a established sportsman, an arrogant superstar, a crushed, despondent, lonely man. Anushka performs her familiar feisty young lady, with a rustic self-control and twang, but little change fairly.
The performance which really impresses is Sultan’s good friend Govind (Anant), who stands by his friend through broken heart and soul and smashed rib, wonderful throughout. Amit Sadh reveals a nice-looking persona while Kumud Mishra, as Anushka’s daddy and Sultan’s expert, adds recognizable subtlety to the dilemma. Sultan’s dialogues also “oopher” a Haryanvi kick while its visuals are fresh and attractive, swaying with Rewari’s eucalyptus trees and shrubs and gushing canals.
The difficulty is its period. At three hours of runtime nearly, Sultan gets heavy and recurring – only so many training sequences can look distinct and by enough time Randeep Hooda turns up as MMA trainer Fateh Singh, resembling a perennially eating Brad Pitt from Ocean’s Eleven, but overacting as he gets senti about Sultan, you feel restive. By slicing thirty minutes of flab – working commentaries, kite-running, taalas, taalis – Sultan could’ve been a leaner, meaner movie. Since it is, it’s more a huge lassi, no espresso shot.