Sultan — Salman Khan's much-awaited release of the year — is out, and according to trade analyst Taran Adarsh, has already earned over Rs 40 crore on Wednesday, 6 July, day one at the box office.
Predictably enough, fans of Salman have loved the movie. However, critics have had somewhat mixed feedback. Firstpost's reviewer Anna MM Vetticad had this to say about Sultan:
"Hats off to (Salman) Khan... Whatever be his acting weaknesses, he is clearly not insecure. This is a star who has the confidence to share screen space with far superior performers – Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Kick, Siddiqui (again) in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Anushka Sharma and the wonderful supporting cast here in Sultan."
Indeed, most of the critics focused on Bhai's performance, and the verdict was: Sultan is an out-and-out Salman Khan movie.
Nandini Ramnath, of Scroll.in wrote of how Sultan is a homage to Bhai:
"Lines such as “I am a rare kind of guy”, “Only I know what is churning inside of me”, “My real fight is to earn back my respect”, “I am not married because I haven’t found the right woman” and “I get my kicks not from alcohol but from love” will be cherished by Khan’s devotees as dearly as religious edicts and cited as proof of their idol’s fundamental innocence."
On the other hand, Namrata Joshi, of The Hindu, talked about gender roles in Sultan:
"There is Aarfa, a woman wrestler for a heroine. But for every step forward in breaking the stereotypes there is the curiously disconcerting comfort of the status quo... We are made to feel good implicitly that her husband allows her to carry on with sports after marriage. And when it comes to the biggest dilemma — child or career — she makes the expected choice."
Rohit Vats, of Hindustan Times, talked about Ali Abbas Zafar's direction:
"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."
Rajeev Masand, gave the movie 3.5/5 stars and talked about the wonderful supporting cast:
"There are good actors in key supporting roles, including Randeep Hooda as a cynical trainer who must whip Sultan back into shape, Kumud Mishra as Aarfa’s father, Amit Sadh as the entrepreneur behind an MMA Premiere League, and an especially terrific Anant Sharma as Sultan’s best friend Govind. But make no mistake, the film really serves as a showcase for its leading man’s incredible screen presence, and his surprisingly mature performance in a role that requires much heavy-lifting…literally."
Kunal Guha, of Mumbai Mirror, gave the movie 3.5/5 stars and also elaborated on the cast's performance:
"His performance can be best described in words his character uses to reflect on his love: 'pheel hain usme'. Anushka Sharma manages the Haryanvi accent and the athletic locks and grips with commitment. Anant Sharma, playing Sultan's friend, is a great find and deserves a mention for his natural performance. Hooda, in a prominent cameo as Sultan's MMA coach, is dependable. Sadh, though a bit theatrical in parts, is largely bearable if not laudable."
Sukanya Verma, of Reddif.com also talked about Salman's acting in the film:
"Sultan might involve the most 'acting' Khan has had to do for a film in the recent past, but — given his grimaces and his graceless, wooden attempt at a heartland accent — the jury's out on whether that's a good thing. Anushka Sharma looks good opposite him, though, fresh and spunky and well cast."