A grotesque gang war

‘Sulthan’ is just 157 minutes of loud melodrama, nonstop violence and unimpressive performances

By   |  Published: 3rd Apr 2021  7:44 pm

Director Bakkiyaraj Kannan obviously believes that he must overstate – nay exaggerate. The resultant grotesque gang war is the Tamil take of Godfather.

The unwilling heir apparent and also the seemingly unlikely prince to the kingdom of crime is Sulthan. Sulthan Vikram (Karthi) has a preface: His Dad (Napoleon) maintains the most unhygienic camp of unshaven faces on Earth. He is supposedly the gold-hearted man with an iron fist. He is the cinematic perpetuation of a leader who delivers, despite the law. In his own Sherwood, his army of 100 are witness to the birth of the crown prince and death of the mother.

Over the top introduction of the child born in a family, breathtaking violence is the preface to the 157 minutes of loud melodrama and nonstop violence. Minutes after this tryst with the grotesque gets kickstarted, you have Sulthan return from Mumbai to Vizag and the welcome party, the incident that follows, the wailing mom – everything is overdramatic.

The son witnesses the death of his father. A probe reveals that the guerrilla like late night attack is by the new police officer Mahender Reddy (Hareesh Peradi). Now, his foster father Mansoor (Lal) requires Sulthan to keep away from happening. The entire army now lands up in a nearby village – which offers: his lady love Rukmini (Rashmika), two sets of villains: the rural Jayendra (Ramachandra Raju) and urban (Nawab Shah). Within the camp building an ambition to lead the team is Arjai and joining him soon is Micheal (Kamaraj).

After wearisome, wailing loud, fights, sickle and hammers, loud cries, songs and dances, villainy and dramatic high voltage dialogues everyone suddenly gives up and makes an exit.

This exercise firstly dies not warrant investment of raw stock for nearly three hours. The wasted tomato ketchup is balanced by saving an aftershave lotion and bathing soap. With a script as straight as this, with clashes as old as the historic backdrop in the village, with a cast where every guy gets into the role performed hitherto ad-nauseam, one wonders what creative novelty does the filmmaker bring on board to justify investment. The other issue is how does he manage to sell it to the stars and how do they accept such classic nonsense?

Rashmika looks like she is caught in a huge dilemma not knowing whether to hit the glamour role or be the regular rural prototype. Very unimpressive. There are too many violent characters yearning for screen space. It is Lal who alone leaves an impression in a kind of role that a like of Banerjee would do in Telugu cinema. Fortunately, there aren’t too many lady characters in the film being used as props. For Karthi it could well be somnambulist day out at the set. He has done this ever so often. In fact, the problem is he is doing only this. It looks like money is the only carrot that Karthi found in the film worth biting.

Such meaningless purposeless exaggerated violent cinema talking about rural feudal landlords and gangsters needs to be avoided like plague or any other pandemic. This is indulgence without class, bereft of anything noteworthy or praiseworthy. Even the energy and spirit of Karthi is not enough for this falling Sulthan!


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