The Hindi web series Sultan Of Delhi is directed by Milan Luthria and stars Tahir Raj Bhasin, Mouni Roy, Anjum Sharma, Vinay Pathak, Anupriya Goenka, Nishant Dahiya, Mehreen Pirzada, Harleen Sethi.
Where can you watch Sultan Of Delhi in the UAE?
Sultan of Delhi is now available to stream on Disney+ Hotstar.
Sultan Of Delhi review
Just a couple of weeks back we had Bambai Meri Jaan (Amazon Prime Video), which showcased a blood-soaked story from the Mumbai underworld of the 1960s. Though its plot was different, the fact is Sultan of Delhi, now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar, is similar. In that, this is a story from the underworld of Delhi in the 1960s.
Straight off the bat, we can say that Mumbai’s underbelly is decidedly more interesting and intrigue-filled than Delhi’s. Or at least, as our filmmakers project the two on screen. Mumbai’s variegated culture and its cosmopolitan facade seem to lend itself more easily to stories than say, Delhi, whose self-importance and navel-gazing ethos aren’t cut out for underworld drama. Mumbai’s culture throws up wacky and whimsical characters that work for web series and films of this type. Delhi, on the other hand, seems limited on this front. It has to keep going back to the Partition time to prepare the foundation for its characters. This handicap shows Sultan of Delhi, which is an adaptation of Arnab Ray’s novel Sultan of Delhi: Ascension. Sultan of Delhi is created and directed by Milan Luthria, while the screenplay is by co-director Suparn S. Varma.
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The narrative, set in the 60s, takes off from a survivor of Partition horrors and seeks to chronicle his journey through the shady bylanes and blood-soaked alleys of the otherwise charming city. It is a typical tale on the rise of a gangster. It is filled with the usual tropes of friendship, loyalty, romance, greed, lust, betrayal and violence. This is the problem of the Sultan of Delhi; even though the place of the tale is new, the tale itself isn’t.
It is about Arjun Bhatia (Tahir Raj Bhasin), a man emerging from childhood trauma and trying to become his own man as a car mechanic with a natural feel for automobiles. He is ambitious and talented and works loyally for Jagan Seth (Vinay Pathak), a wealthy businessman with his eyes set on politics. Arjun’s buddy is Bangali (Anjum Sharma). Arjun has a thing or two for Sanjana (Mehreen Pirzada). But she is rich, so his path to her is filled with problems.
Arjun has to take a path that is not above board to move ahead and get rich. Soon, his stock rises and he is now up against Rajinder Pratap Singh (Nishant Dahiya), the archetypal badass badman within the underworld league. The bloodshed among the shady folks forces the convenor of sorts, Farooq Mastaan (Anil George), to call for a truce among the warring groups. He also lets slip the idea that Arjun is the de facto leader of the ganglords. Of course, this doesn’t go down well with Rajinder, whose fire of enmity is further stoked by Shankari (Anupriya Goenka), a vamp whose association begins with his dad. By this time, it is not impossible to guess the story and its path.
A predictable story is not a crime; the narrative and the characters can compensate for it. Here, that, too, is shallow. The characters, too, are hardly fleshed out. Tahir Raj Bhasin and Vinay Pathak managed to bring something fresh to the surface thanks to their own acting efficiency. The female characters are written even more shoddily and none of them is able to rise above those constraints.
There is some Calcutta in this Delhi story. But alas, that city too has nothing much to offer in this 9-episode series. The length, needless to say, is also a problem when the pace doesn’t pick up.
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An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.