This though now was a different Salman Khan. He had taken charge, his performance, his understanding his commitment to every project grew by leaps and bounds and this attention reflected in his performance and films. His Rajveer Shekhawat to Chulbul Pandey are characters have stayed on in his audience’s memory. But with his legal cases, his oft quoted understood - misunderstood utterances and his more popular goofy cinematic image make him a soft target to be looked down upon by the select discerning audience. This same set had done it to Govinda years earlier and now it was Salman’s turn.
Sultan Ali is a townie from a village in Haryana and the movie opens in a wrestling pit. Sultan (Salman Khan ) has been a local legend in the past and a new recruiter Amit Sadh, trying to enlist him for the TV visual sport of MMA is aghast on seeing an old paunchy clerk in a government office. His queries to a friend of Sultan’s, unearths a story buried under the grime and sweat of a life in which he lived, loved and now seemingly looked like having lost. This was not an athlete in his prime who could be revived or could he? The wrestler has left the ring in memory of his paramour, Aarfa (Anushka Sharma) and as his friend joins the dots we take part in the romance of an impish Sultan. There in Sultan is a lot of heart, broken, bruised but ticking. This is what carries him on and the story leisurely moves on to its conclusion.
Ali Abbas Zafar, the director has a firm grip over the movie and it is the script that takes centre stage. It’s the treatment that separates this movie from the rest of what Salman has done. The story is the hero and the lovely lyrics by Irshad Kaamil the poet & lyricist its heroine. The romantic ballad "Jag Ghumiya" is so elegantly crafted by his pen that it will linger on for a long time.The fact that Salman himself lends his voice is just another raisin that I found in my biscuit. The dialect of the movie stays true to its location, is found in the songs too. Both the stars Salman and Anushka are & stay totally in character to deliver excellent performances. Their look is so beautifully designed, that both of them are believable completely. The music by Vishal-Shekhar is rooted in the soil and the camera by Artur Zurawski the Polish Cinematographer makes love to the landscape and characters.
In a collaborative effort like making a film when all things fall into place, it is on account of everyone totally owning their work and roles. It is only on such rare occasions then that the movie watching experience becomes seamless and sublime. Everybody is outstanding and no one performance needs to be lauded. The man of the match is clearly the director and the team has won. The Kingdom is no longer King Khan's , it is a Sultanate now and there is but one SULTAN.