Sulthan (Tamil) Review & Rating
Sulthan Review: Textbook Example Of Mass Film
Tamil hero Karthi Who has been waiting for a big hit after failing to ride on the momentum of Kaithi (Khaidi) with Thambi (Donga) is back with a mass entertainer. In Tamil Cinema there are three types of mass films. Typical Tamil native mass films which have to be enjoyed with a typical type of taste. The next type is the superstarish-thalapathiesque mass entertainers which have the feats of either superstar Rajinikanth or Thalapathy Vijay at the centre and a story that is woven around them.
And finally the pan-South variant which is a type of film that also keeps hope on neighbouring audience, especially the Teluguland audience in consideration. Director Shankar, Suriya, Vijay Anthony, Karthi, etc. come up with such films. Now, Sulthan is one such attempt from the filmmaker Bakkiyaraj Kannan. It's been a long time since such films have graced the Tollywood screens, so there was certainly some buzz surrounding this film. Cleverly, to an ordinary and routine story he added a mythical element. And topped it off with the interesting angle of a sophisticated hero who treats 100 goons as his own brothers and tries to reform them.
Prologue: The year were... 2036
A Facebook post by some Xiang Qi (a pure Telugu person, name changed)
The post reads:
It has become a fashion for filmmakers in Telugu and Tamil to show farmers as uneducated, spineless oldish persons in a typical capitalistic way of glamourising their poverty and troubles, and make money at the box office. But such portrayal has been causing us troubles. Everytime we're waiting for some X - a software engineer (who may or may not know to code) to teach us the techniques of farming and agriculture. That guy who in real life couldn't even carry the handplough properly but could on the screen beat the shit out of villains who are dozens in numbers with the same plough.
We're (farmers) also shown as people who are waiting to get alms from the rich or the government. How insulting it would be for us when we're shown as background dancers to glorify the heroes (if they could be called so) when his shirt wouldn't even drip with a single sweat stain but we're are shown half naked with skinny bodies? When myself has been traveling in a bus, when I introduced myself as a farmer to a college girl on a bus travel, she tried to hand me a couple of pink notes as alms because she thinks farmers as poor. And I am poor and need alms. She even asked me whether I really know how to wear a short and look healthy. Influence of cinema.
The next time if a film is made with subject on farming or an engineer is shown as teaching us farming, we'll ban such films and make sure that the future films of the stars and the makers won't get theatres.
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Sulthan and The 100
Now coming to the story of the film, it tells the story of 100 rugged men controller by a master serve another mob man who looks after them. That mob man is portrayed with perfection by Napolean and Lal plays the role of the master. Vikram is motherless by the time his faculty of intelligence started to develop. Even while in the womb he was treated as a protector and he becomes the Sulthan of men when his father dies. He treats the 100 men as his brothers.
Sulthan is equivalent of Lord Krishna when it comes to his way of action. He is the one who takes a side with the 100 Kauravas and reform them as Pandavas are already good. He wants his brothers to mend their ways and become good citizens and do hardwork for a living than following the route of violence. On one final mission, in a reference to Seven Samurai and the several remakes including Sholay, he leads his 100 men to a village near Amaravati (Velagapudi in Telugu) or Salem in Tamil version.
There he needs to help farmers. And also to turn our 100 to farming. Like every self-respected hero of films dealing with farming, our hero is also an engineer. But for variety it's robotics. Though we won't witness anything related to robotics or the like in the film, there's a mythical allusion. Just like machines are still controlled by the human brains, Sulthan is the brain that controls the robots of our 100. Similar to the premise of what happens when machines turn against humanity, the premise of this film also explores what happens when the 100 turns against Sulthan.
As the hero is Sri Krishna alike, the heroine is named Rukmini. Obviously he falls in love with her. But she's not just an ornament in the film. She has a plot setting role in the film. Our hero's mission and some of his actions are anchored around her. So, what happens to his mission. How he controls the out of the control 100 form the basis of this highly intriguing masala entertainer sans oora masala.
Writing and direction
The story of the film is a mix of various routine films which are in general entertaining. But the way the director presents our hero is what seperates this film from others and makes a difference here. The mythical angle is executed very well. Else it's have become a epic joke and a spade of ridiculing memes would have come out. The scenes between the 100 and our hero are superb and have many touching moments. Some scenes like Silent Fight, the climax, the 100 turning against the hero, the opening block itself, and the interval block gives us kick expected from this genre of films.
The narration is flowing without any lags. The screenplay is well written with one high point after another comes at regular intervals. The pacing is relentless without overwhelming the audience. The dialogues are excellent and the allusions are inserted in such a way that those who could find them can enjoy the film more. A textbook example of how to write a mass entertainer. Clever piece of work by the director unlike his previous film Remo. He also balanced enough native elements to appeal to the Tamil audience at the same time not to alienate Telugu audience. An exemplary balancing act.
Karthi relished playing this role and he looked more energetic than he was in one of his previous blockbusters like Kadaikutty Singam (Chinna Babu in Telugu). Right from screen presence to the dialogue delivery, romance to the action scenes, be acted everything. One of the most memorable mass heroes (the character he played) in Tamil-Telugu cinemas this past decade. Rashmika Mandanna looked good as a Tamil Ponnu or a typical village girl in cinemas.
Lal and the 100 are gems in their roles and the execution. It is the villains who are caricatures. And their roles are also typical for the genre. Corporate honchos who eye farming lands and such. Instead of one powerful villain, our director went with three. And this is where the movie actually failed. But the conflict between the 100 and Sulthan is so engaging that we forget these smaller issues. Rest of the cast did well.
The songs of the film are good. The background score by Yuvan Shankar Raja is epic in quality. The sounds though widely borrowed from Pirates of the Caribbean etc. worked well for the film. The cinematography is top notch. The editing is sharp. The art department has shined all through. The production values are first rate.
Sulthan is a rare film in mass genre which transcends the routine nature of the subject. Don't miss it.
Epilogue: The year were 2053
Nikhilesh Gambani Files Pill In SC - Seeks Action On Filmmakers Who Show Big Corporates As Greedy
He went on to say in the press meet that it is the corporates who give lakhs of jobs in the country and...
Statuatory Warning (2056):
No corporates are insulted and no farmers are used as props to highlight the heroism. If there is any resemblance to such it's purely coincidental.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Reviewed by: GitacharYa
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