Sultan Of Delhi Review: Only Style, No Substance
What: Sultan Of Delhi - A bland and uninspiring saga of power play and politics set in the bygone era
Of late, filmmakers are indulging in adapting pulpy novels and bestsellers onto the celluloid and the OTT is swarmed with such content. In the previous weeks, we saw Bambai Meri Jaan, Charlie Chopra and Khufiya which were straight adaptations of illustrious writers. While many missed the mark and their work was lost in the translation, some gripped the audience with their enticing narrative and storytelling.
Yes, an engaging plot and compelling screenplay is imperative in these cases when you know that basic bodyline of the story but are hooked to the articulation of the filmmaker. Sultan of Delhi, created and co-directed by Milan Luthria along with Suparn Verma, takes it source material from Arnab Ray’s bestseller with the same title, but falters royally in the execution.
Sultan Of Delhi review
The scars of the 1947 partition are deep and troubling. When the horrors of partition form the pretext of a story, it deserves an empathic treatment. But Luthria and Verma’s frivolity and inspired flamboyance rupture the gravity of the period gangster drama which chronicles the ascent of the titular protagonist, Arjun (played by Tahir Raj Bhasin) into the underworld of Delhi in the 1960s.
Love, greed, passion, and betrayal collide in this deadly interplay of power and politics that also captures heart-warming friendships and romances and seduction. Talking of seduction, it is Anupriya Goenka who steals the show and redeems the disastrous experience while playing a scheming siren Shankari, sharing bed with the rich heir of a business magnate, RP Singh (played by Nishant Dahiya). Goenka comes across as a confident performer during those intimate scenes and while holding her own ground against the men – Tahir, who grapples while playing the gangster, Anjumm Sharma (an earnest performance), the ‘Bangali’ partner in crime and Vinay Pathak playing Jagan Seth – who is their master, rendering his trademark antics.
Show-runner Luthria who made blockbusters like OUATIM and Dirty Picture has a prolific ability to transport you to that bygone retro-era but here he baffles us with a wholesomely unremarkable drama that boasts of an unmistakable background score (Anu Malik, Amaal and Arman Malik) and impressive production design and costumes.
In one bizarre scene, Arjun does a full Monty to impress and apologize the rival gangster and his wife. That’s quite far-fetched for a powerful arm-dealer. Mehreen Peerzada and Harleen Seth serve token presences in this saga focusing on machismo and masculinity.
I go with 2 stars for Sultan of Delhi. Produced by Reliance Entertainment, the 9-part series is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar from 13th Oct 2023.