It seems like Tamil Cinema’s newfound obsession with saving farmers won’t have an end for some time. There was a time when this “Vyavasayam” theme felt like a political stand of the artists involved in those films. But now, they are creating template movies with the distressed farmer becoming a mere backdrop. The new Karthi starrer Sulthan, written and directed by Bakkiyaraj Kannan, is one more to that growing list of farmer sympathizing films. With a story that lacks catchy elements to its credit, Sulthan is just a package of hero-worshipping slow-motion shots.
Sulthan, our hero, is a robotics expert who wants to go to Japan and start his robotics empire. On the other hand, his father is a gangster, and the men who worked for him were like brothers to Sulthan. During his visit to India, an incident happens, and the mother of one of Sulthan’s father’s henchmen asks him why his father is not thinking about those goons’ lives. It sort of creates a major impact in Sulthan’s mind, and the film Sulthan is about his efforts to give a new dimension to the life of these blood-thirsty goondas.
If you read the above paragraph, you would feel that it sounds like an exciting premise. I am saying this because even I have wondered about the day-to-day life of these goons we see in movies. But the sad part of Sulthan is that instead of focusing on the unique side of such a story, it goes after familiar elements. The hero is a highly educated guy, he comes to his hometown, understands farmers’ problems, stands with them, fights a big corporate tycoon for the land, and eventually saves them. This plot has been getting repeated for some time now, and I think every character actor in Bollywood is sort of waiting for their turn to wear a tuxedo and be the corporate villain in Tamil Cinema.
Like Remo, here also Bakkiyaraj Kannan is focusing heavily on the elegant visual texture of the film. Great wide shots, slow-motion shots, saturated color palettes, etc., gives this movie the larger-than-life attire. But instead of going after new conflicts (the scope was there), Bakkiyaraj Kannan goes behind ideas that were tried already. In his first film, he was criticized for glorifying stalking, and here also one can see him repeating the same thing. And this time, the heroine tells the hero that she will do the cooking and dishes, just let her live in her own village. I hope Bakkiyaraj Kannan will get time to see the Great Indian Kitchen remake featuring Aishwarya Rajesh. The racist jokes using Yogi Babu’s character were also annoying. Sathyan Sooryan’s cinematography has a style factor for sure. It’s just that the grandeur wasn’t getting much support from the script. The background score by Yuvan Shankar Raja was catchy.
In Sulthan, Karthi sort of goes back to his safe zone heroism. It’s not a character in a single shade. You get to see multiple emotional states of that character in the movie, and Karthi does his usual best in being Sulthan. Actor Lal got a full-length character in this movie as Mansoor and was impressive. Rashmika Mandanna makes her Tamil debut with this film. Even though it was still that pretty face fair girl character, Rukmani had more significance than some of the other female leads in movies that dealt with a similar subject. Nawab Shah is the Bollywood corporate villain who just has to show his swagger in low-angle shots. Napoleon was fine as the father character of the hero.
Sulthan is that kind of entertainer which you will forget easily once you leave the theatre. And the reason for that is the familiarity of the theme. Well, the movie was supposed to release a year back and got pushed due to the lockdown. I hope writers and directors will stop using farmers’ issues as an excuse to present the same story in different attires.
Sulthan is that kind of entertainer which you will forget easily once you leave the theatre. And the reason for that is the familiarity of the theme.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended