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Review Tamil

Sulthan review: This Karthi-starrer is a predictable but fun action drama

Release Date: 02 Apr 2021 / 02hr 25min


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Haricharan Pudipeddi

Sulthan is your quintessential commercial potboiler that panders to the gallery and is mostly engaging, thanks to the over-the-top treatment and packaging.

Bakkiyaraj Kannan’s Sulthan, not to be confused with Salman Khan’s Sultan (2016), is what you get when you take popular selling points from some highly successful and celebrated commercial films and package them in a way that the viewer isn't disappointed even when most of what unfolds on the screen feels very familiar.

Karthi plays Vikram aka Sulthan, a robotics engineer by profession. Sulthan’s father (played by Napoleon) is a do-gooder, a messiah with an army of rowdies (nearly 100 of them) at his disposal. When a new police commissioner vows to rid the city of crime, he comes after the gang managed by Sulthan’s father with the intention of bumping them off in encounters. Sulthan intervenes and requests for an opportunity to reform the rowdies, but the process isn’t as easy as he had envisioned. Whether Sulthan succeeds in reforming the rowdies forms the crux of the story.

Sulthan borrows heavily from a host of films from Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar (2005, Hindi) to Mahesh Babu’s Maharshi (2019, Telugu) and Kamal Haasan’s Thevar Magan (1992). Sulthan’s effort to reform the rowdies using farming is a plot point very similar to what Mahesh Babu chooses to do in Maharshi (he leaves everything and takes up farming for his best friend). Karthi’s effort to make people give up rowdyism at the cost of his own life is similar to what we saw in Thevar Magan. In spite of borrowing from quite a few films, Sulthan still manages to engage and entertain the viewer, making it a highly predictable but fun action drama.

The film stands out for its action choreography. A few of the action stretches deliver a bang-for-the-buck experience. However, the film hardly makes any impact with its storytelling or characters. Except for Karthi’s character, no other actor gets a meaty part to essay. Rashmika, in her maiden appearance in Tamil cinema, is mostly sidelined. So are the actors who play the lead antagonists. Sulthan is Karthi’s show all the way and he is in his element, shining in a character he couldn’t have played any better.

Sulthan is your quintessential commercial potboiler that panders to the gallery and is mostly engaging, thanks to the over-the-top treatment and packaging.

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