Release Date: 29 July 2014
Director: Syed Faisal Bukhari
Review by: Momin Ali Munshi
Rating: 1/5 stars
Ever since the film “Sultanat” has released, the general public has been divided into two very strong groups with opposing viewpoints on the quality of the film. So before I get to the review, let me very necessarily be a little self descriptive as I assume that some of you might already have your knives pointed at me after reading the title of this post. The fact is that I love Masala entertainers! I love films with glamour, latka jhatakas, exotic locations, and a great cast. But according to this logic “Sultanat” should have had a raving review from me, right? Also, Why I have mentioned all this information about myself you ask? Well here goes.
As I have previously mentioned in almost all of my reviews, Pakistani Films, today, cater to two very different markets. There are the social drama/high concept films which I call “multiplex wali film” and then there are the masala entertainers which I call “circuit ki film”. For example the recently released film “The System” was a “circuit ki film” while the other recently released film “Tamanna” was a “multiplex wali film”. It’s pretty much a fact that the audience of one kind of cinema does not like the film made for the other audience and vice versa. However, every once in a while there comes a “Bol” or a “Waar” which changes the rules and is termed as a game-changer, but other than that the rules I mentioned are very much intact.
Now most film critics in Pakistan tend to paint “circuit ki films ” in a negative light and cannot stop praising the “multiplex wali films”. What they fail to understand is that what might have looked cheap to them was a “seethi (whistle)” moment for the masses. While they may have cringed seeing film star Saima doing an item number in “Ishq Khuda” the masses may have bought the ticket twice to see that very song! However, I have always felt that since I personally like these kind of films (Masala film) as well as the social drama/high concept films, I understand what the audiences like and don’t like. Call me self important or self righteous but I believe that I have always kept my reviews balanced, I have almost always tried to highlight the positive parts along with mentioning the mistakes of these films(Masala films).
The point of this long essay was to clarify that I, Momin Ali Munshi, agree with the fans when they praise films like “MHSA” “Ishq Khuda” or “The System” as at the end of the day the film gave us viewers entertainment. I tried to make a point that I am completely with you readers and understand what you like or not like and I do not consider myself as some pseudo intellectual man who disses every film and calls himself a critic.
Now that it is established that I am not a paid writer, a cheap sell-out, have no hidden agendas I would like to say,with all due respect to the makers of Sultanat, there is nothing positive to highlight in your film! I can say this with confidence that “Sultanat” is by far the worst film to ever come out of Pakistan and hence the outrageous title of this post. If you read the entire thing I shall give examples and explain why this film is so bad! Now lets come to the review:-
(Note : Whenever I go see a film which I am to review, I constantly make notes on my tablet as they help me later on when I write the review, but twenty minutes into this film and I had switched off my tablet as there was nothing that needed to be noted down as everything on screen was a joke.Therefore pardon me if my review is not as well shaped as you expected but don’t worry, this shall give you a taste of the film which was far haphazard)
You know how when we were kids we would make some piece of art at school and then proudly bring it back home to our parents. Our parents, deep down would know how terrible it is, but would show excitement and encourage us as this was considered to be quite an achievement. Something similar happened with Sultanant. Aslam Bhatti, who is the producer, distributor, main lead in the film, must have come up to Faisal Bukhari and said “I want to make a film. Here is the story. You like it? Will you make the film” and the poor director surely would have had nothing but “Yes sir!” to say. I mean who can refuse Aslam Bhatti! So there goes your script which does not deserve any more space than already allotted.
If you still insist to know the plot, well here it goes.
The entire film revolved around Aslam Bhatt,i who was the protagonist of the film and made sure that he was present in almost all of the scenes. He did not give a damn as to where the other story-lines were going as all he wanted to show was how powerful he is (on the reel)! Even the ending of the film is so abrupt and leaves so many sub-plots hanging in between, but since the film ended with people chanting Aslam Bhai, Aslam Bhai, our hero was happy to end the film on that note.
The story of the film basically revolves around, yes Aslam Bhai, who was/is the underworld king and we are also told that now he has some sort of a “business” . Another thing we are told is that he suffers from a bipolar disorder. As for his story track, well, he was paying all love dovey with Achint Kaur and decided to call it quits and marry her best friend Shweta Tiwari, because Achint left him dry and hanging on “one of the most important nights of his life” where he was to propose to her.
Note to readers: When you want to propose to your year old girlfriend and she has to leave and be somewhere else do not wast time and ask her best friend to marry you, who will conveniently be at the deserted romantic island with you and will say yes before you even ask her.
So now Aslam is a married man and well he has lots of enemies whom he deals with one at a time in his Salman Khan ways. The entire film is just one enemy to the next. Oh and he also has a son from his first marriage, Ahsan Khan, who hardly has five minutes of screen space and was probably just added so that his name could be used for promotion purposes. The main enemy of Mr Bhatti is the dynamic duo of Javaaid Sheikh and Govind Namdev who have nothing else to do than plot plans to kill our hero.
Zainab Qayum plays the younger sister of our hero, and well she is probably the unluckiest girl in the world when it comes to marriages. And, well that’s pretty much the entire plot.
The role distribution was such that 99% of screen space was allotted to Mr Bhatti while the other 1% was allotted to the other actors. Acting wise Aslam Bhatti did a decent job and some of his bipolar scenes were rather interesting. All other actors played supporting roles and did a decent job with their roles. But since there was not much scope for them to perform they were restricted. Given the fact how amateurish the film was, I would say that Achint Kaur, who had the meatiest role after Mr Bhatti, was pretty convincing as a TSI agent. In short, the acting department was probably the only department that did a commendable job as everything else was a complete let down! But the situations were so hilarious and the camera work was so shaky that even the acting fell short!
Direction/Costumes and Makeup:
The Director, The Writer, The Editor should all commit…well, let’s just say that they should never be allowed anywhere near a camera for the rest of their lives. How wrong can you get with the technicalities! I mean there was no care as to where the make up was going, whether the sound was right, whether the lights were on mark. Everything was a disaster! The scenes were cut so randomly and hence there was no flow and consistency and the entire film looked like one big “khichdi”. It seemed as if we were seeing an extended trailer which was just show casing different scenes. The sound department yet again was a huge let down. Dubbing for some scenes had not been done which was clearly evident while the camera work was quite shady in some scenes. The action of the film looked really weak, except for maybe a scene or two. The make-up department was another disappointment as the make-up of different actors in different scenes was so horrible that it seemed as if we were watching a horror flick! The video formats of the film were not the same and you could easily spot that some scenes were shot in a different format while other scenes were shot on some other. As for the costumes, they were so imbalanced that while Shweta Tiwari was dolled up in all her scenes, Zainab Qayyum did not get a decent ‘jora’ even for her song and thus the song failed to create the magic. On the whole, the film was a huge disappointment in all the technical departments and everything was going wrong I would say!
Visuals and Music:
I can swear on anything dear to me and guarantee that the background score for the film is the most annoying/ loud/over the top/ wrongly placed ever in the history of WORLD CINEMA!!! I mean the man who did it had no clue where to use the “dhol beat” where to go mellow, where the music should show the intensity in the scenes. The man who did the score just took out one CD of loud “dhol wala music” and copy pasted it to the entire film. I mean there was so much background noise that you did not care what was happening in the scene and just wanted the music to shut down!
The only saving grace for the music department were the songs from the film which became quite popular before the release. Shahida Mini’s “Sonay Di Taveetri” was peppy and entertaining while the romantic number ” Lay Jaaon Main…” was another interesting number. Lets not go to to the visuals of the song and leave it there to that and just enjoy the audio.
In conclusion, this film, made on a budget of 22 crore was perfect in theory. I mean great cast, big budget, shoot in international locations, but when it was finally shot and sent over to the editing labs the result that came out was not what was expected. But since so much money and time had been invested, they decided to release it anyway and make some money out of it. I am sure that the people behind the film know how terrible it is, as quite a few actors associated with the film have already disowned the project. All in all, this film shall serve as an example for years as to how wrong a film can go!
Do you need a verdict? All I shall say is that this film should be avoided like the plague.