Aakash Oberoi (Amit Sadh), a young entrepreneur, is on the verge of a breakdown because his idea of bringing Mixed Martial Arts contests to India isn’t working out. His father advises him to rope in a local fighter, apparently because nobody thirsts more for victory than a “common Indian”.
The old man then suggests a name: Sultan Ali Khan.
Sultan (Salman Khan), a 40-year-old former wrestler, has seen the highs and lows of life. Going into flashback, we are introduced to Sultan’s younger self at a time when nobody could beat him in a sprint. A chance meeting with Aarfa (Anushka Sharma), an ambitious wrestler eyeing the Olympic gold, ignites a fiery passion in Sultan’s life.
Today, Sultan is just a shadow of his former self. Life has been knocking him down for years, but he has always known how to fight back. He knows he is down, but not out.
Here, amid canal-side roads and large bungalows with ‘akhadas’, live some of the most humble and lovable people this side of Earth. They dance together, understand and respect each other’s needs, and cheer for their wrestlers. The only problem is – their star wrestler doesn’t flaunt a local accent. Salman’s dialect differs from that of his folks, but never mind, it’s the least of the issues.
The director’s uncontrollable urge to make his characters break into a jig every now and then slows down the film. The songs consume time, and act as mere advertisements of Salman’s superstardom. However, that’s also Sultan’s USP.
Zafar further breaks the film into three distinct acts, and the actor excels in each of them. From playing a done-and-dusted homegrown wrestler to a wonder-boy of freestyle fighting, you see Salman put up a performance like never before.
Sultan has all the right ingredients of a ‘masala’ potboiler, and whistling and sobbing are likely to go hand-in-hand here. Don’t go looking for a twist ending, though.