Vikram (Karthi) is given the name Sultan by his uncle Mansoor (Lal), after being told that the child will always remain loyal to his people. His father, Sethupathi (Napoleon), is one of the most notorious mobsters in the trade of killing for money. With the passing of his mother at the time of his birth, Sultan is brought up by Sethupathi, Mansoor, and over 90 of the most barbaric hitmen, who work for his father, and who he considers to be his own big brothers. In this household of killers, the child is pampered affectionately and kept sheltered from his father's line of work.
When Sultan grows up, he learns that the new Police Commissioner (Hareesh Peradi) in town is intent on eliminating his father's gang. An attack by the police injures a number of gangsters who take bullets when they shield Sultan and his father. Sultan is upset when he finds out that he was always kept safe at the expense of one or more of his brothers, and his new mission becomes to drag his brothers out of the killing business.
He pleads with the Commissioner to give him six months to set them straight, and, challenged with the mighty task of figuring out a new way of life for his brothers while keeping their tendency of going back to violence under control, moves them to a village and into farming. However, new challenges await here.
Sultan is a complete movie that delivers all the flavours in one package. At two-and-a-half hours in length, the film manages to keep you hooked on to a very unique plot that mixes in action, comedy, love, fraternal loyalty, honour, mutiny etc. For a story that entirely plays out in the realm of fantasy, it manages to maintain a sense of relatability by somehow not exaggerating the exaggerated.
Although the story takes you down a windy road with so many conditions and constraints getting added in as you go, it all unravels neatly at the end. The many fight scenes are all uniquely choreographed and do not feel like a burden on your time. The build-up to various moments in the movie captures elements that get you warmed up for what's coming, accompanied by cinematography that covers the most appealing perspectives, and followed up by sharp editing to bring out colours that enhance the vibe in each instance.
The performances prevent your mind from trailing back to reality and span a wide range of personalities. Karthi's character is the embodiment of loyalty and honour, so we accept that his strength is unmatched even though he is the littlest guy on screen. His almost seven-foot-tall bodyguard, whose presence is continuous and cartoonish if you will, is a caricature of a grown man who displays the emotions of a child for his master.
Sultan's brothers capture the various persuasions of the gangster nature - some goofy and others serious, some quiet and others noisy, and many of them decked in heavy jewellery - and collectively come as a group that you'd readily like to avail yourself of if you were into mobbing. Indeed, these are the coolest looking rowdies you'll ever see. The villagers juxtapose this unruly bunch in a display that is more grounded in raw humanity. Rashmika Mandanna, who plays Rukmani, owns her time on screen as a sweet but shrewd match for Karthi's Sultan.
High energy sound-work by Yuvan Shankar Raja and Vivek Mervin bolster the ballistic visual display and keep your eyes and ears away from other distractions like your phone.
Sultan is a smorgasbord of flavours that hits hard on both the artistic and the technical levels, and is a no-brainer if you're stuck making a choice at the box office.