Sulthan’, starring Karthi and others, hit the cinemas today (April 2). In this section, we are going to review the latest box-office release.
Karthi plays Sulthan, the son of a gangster by the name of Sethupathi (Napolean). After Sethupathi’s death, it falls upon him to save the gang of 100 rowdies from being eliminated by a ruthless top cop. Sulthan decides to mend them by forcing them to gravitate toward farming. Nawab Shah and Ramachandra Raju play antagonists who threaten not to let it happen.
After intense films like ‘Khaidi’ and ‘Thambi’, Karthi is endearing in a somewhat lighter role. At the same time, he is convincing in a solid manner in the film’s defining scenes. Rashmika Mandanna gets to shine in the role of a resolute village belle’s role. Her chemistry with Karthi is impressive. Lal, who plays the male protagonist’s Muslim stepfather, makes a mark. He gets many scenes, and his character leaves a strong impact. Yogi Babu’s comedy is good for once. The actors who have played the main villains are just about okay.
Yuvan Shankar Raja’s background score is catchy in the film’s emotion-driven moments. Vivek-Mervin’s songs come laced with Kollywood-type nativity. Sathyan Sooryan’s cinematography rises to the challenge of capturing a large cast in a clear fashion. Shooting the film was not easy, considering the number of people who were on the sets.
Writer-director Bakkiyaraj Kannan seems to have penned the story inspired by films like ‘Thevar Magan’ (the Kamal Haasan-starrer) and even Koratala Siva-Prabhas’ ‘Mirchi’. Comparisons have been made with ‘Maharshi’ (given the farming message) but the Mahesh Babu-starrer doesn’t seem to have inspired ‘Sulthan’ in a decisive way. Perhaps, Karthi’s ‘Kadaikutty Singham’ (dubbed as ‘China Babu’ in Telugu) had more influence on ‘Sulthan’.
This is a heavy film that doesn’t take its solutions easily. It deals with the serious issue of obsession with violence among some pathological personality types. However, this plot point is made entertaining through a series of events.
The death of the hero’s father becomes an inflection point in the story. Karthi’s reactions to some of the developments in the gang feel authentic. As a Robotics Engineer, his worldview is informed by modernity, while his father and the 100 rowdies, with whom he shares sentimental equations, are stuck in a time warp.
At about 155 minutes, the film is a tad lengthy. If you go expecting a breeze, you will be in for some unsettling moments.
Even in the second half, where the love story with Rashmika’s character thickens, the film presents some machinations in the form of black sheep. And by the time the main villains start baring their fangs more than ever, the film might have started to feel overlong to an extent.
If you watch it with average expectations, the theme, emotions and fun in ‘Sulthan’ might win you over.