‘Sultan’ struggles big time, gasping in search of a dependable premise, narrative and most of all, character. The film suffers from a severe identity crisis that doesn’t let it decide what it would like to be all about.

A final year medico Sivan (Vinu Mohan), who for God-knows-whatever-reason is fondly called ‘Sultan’, has found his dream mate in Nishitha (Varada). Life is all peaceful in slow motion it seems, as they croon in the rain and prance about by the sea. Nishi is soon introduced to the Five Men Army comprising of Naufal, Vivek, Sunny and Praveen and headed by Sultan. Before long though, Sivan gets embroiled in a murder that purges his dreams to ashes, and Nishi is compelled to reassess her convictions.

The romantic element in ‘Sultan’ is so sketchily conceived that none of the intended plot points work, and the movie is thrown off balance before it has even moved a little bit. The rest of the action takes place in this upturned vehicle, and its no wonder then that almost everything appears upside down.

As the film was heading towards its climax, strangely I was thinking of Robert McKee (played by the Emmy winning actor Brian Cox) in ‘Adaptation’, and his poignant outburst to the frustrated writer Charlie Kauffman (Nicholas Cage) in the film.

“The last act makes a film. Wow them in the end, and you got a hit. You can have flaws, problems, but wow them in the end, and you’ve got a hit. Find an ending, but don’t cheat, and don’t you dare bring in a deus ex machina. Your characters must change, and the change must come from them. Do that, and you’ll be fine.”

I was wondering what McKee would say about a film that has characters busily fizzling out like loosely tied up balloons. Their unexciting journey to oblivion is further marred by loopholes galore and sentimental hogwash.

This is no Cycling further for Vinu Mohan who does the best he can, given the very inadequate platform that he has been asked to stage a show on. Varada as Nishita is engaging enough and sets an affable mood to the affairs. Surprisingly there’s a spark between the lead actors, even as they remained entrapped in a maudlin ground.

‘Sultan’ is perhaps not so phony or even unbelievable. But it certainly is meandering, forced, and ultimately quite uninvolving. There isn’t much of a narrative meat here, and hence Sreeprakash adds up as many messily fixed movie moments as he can.

We have a layman ‘Sultan’ here, with none of the strength, authority or power associated with the aristocratic title. While in trouble, he begs around for help and implores his girl to forgive him for her idiosyncrasies. The dazzle simply isn’t there.

Banner:    Abhirami Krishna Productions
Cast:    Vinoo Mohan, Nishitha, Anoopchandran, Sreejith Ravi,
Praveen, Lalu Alex, Jagathy Sreekumar, Shari, Vijayaraghavan, Salim Kumar, Shammi Thilakan
Direction:    SreePrakash
Production:    Gopi Manasseri
Music:    Kaithapram, M Jayachandran.

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