The son of the soil: Sultan.
Salman Khan`s box office smash hit shows him in the role of a man who turns pro-wrestler to get the woman he loves. We see his rise and fall as he reaches the highest highs and the lowest low, in a very entertaining motion picture that combines the spirit of stories like Rocky, but also gives it its very own swing.
The reason why Sultan wants to succeed as a wrestler is pretty shallow at first to be perfectly honest. He meets Aarfa (Anushka Sharma), the daughter of a wrestler and a wrestler herself, and falls head over heals in love with her strong and fierce personality. This brings forth some classic dance sequences and songs that slow down the story a bit, but are fun to watch nonetheless. Sultan decides that in order to be able to marry her, he has to become a wrestler himself. And so he starts training. It is the very kind of romanticism that only happens in the movies, but it is during the process that Sultan notices his shortcomings and his weaknesses, motivating him to eventually fight himself; to be able to look at himself in the mirror. This is what gives Sultan its strength as a film and story, as finding the fuel to power oneself to keep going and reach the goals you set, is one of the core elements in what it means to be human.
It is a touching story that we have seen before with for example the earlier mentioned Rocky films, but Salman Khan makes Sultan a character of his own, and shows an emotional and softer side. It is interesting to see if you are used to the larger than life badass he normally plays in most of his movies. Don`t get me wrong though, Khan is still a badass in this film too, only this time he shows the very thing that makes his character even more captivating: vulnerability.
Sultan is strong as an ox, and it brings forth great wrestling scenes with Khan showing off awesome and exciting moves. He gained a lot of weight for the role to be believable as a strong wrestler and has clearly trained to get the moves down just right. The training sequences are great to watch, and delight us with the true underdog spirit we came to love over the years. Khan gives Sultan a beating heart as he portrays his goofy and playful side, his soft side, and of course, his manly man side that audiences love him for.
Next to Khan is Anushka Sharma as the leading lady and Sultan`s love interest. She gives the character a feisty and strong personality and has some pretty good wrestling moves up her sleeve as well. She does a good job opposite Khan and the chemistry between them works. It brings some funny moments as they interact but also some strong dramatic performances.
The journey of Sultan is a fun movie experience. With its bombastic 3 hour length it is quite long, but apart from the obligated dance and song sequences the film doesn’t lose much of its speed. It might fall into some melodramatic pits at times but it climbs out with confidence and carries on like a true wrestler that never gives up. A great Hindi underdog story that has the human spirit and the will to succeed at its core with a good performance from its leading star to guide as through it. Khan is the man, and with Sultan he proves this once again.