Almost five years ago, Ali Abbas Zafar’s sports drama Sultan starring Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma was released. The film was one of the top five highest-grossing Indian films ever. It is also the only film to have raked in Rs 30 crore or more for five consecutive days.
Even after five years now, Salman’s film Sultan continues to be discussed on social media. The film focuses on Salman’s fictional character Sultan Ali Khan, a wrestler and former world wrestling champion from Haryana, whose successful career has created a rift in his personal life.
Now filmmaker Ali Abbas Zafar talks about the film and recalls the first narration of the film to producer Aditya Chopra and Salman Khan. During a conversation with Pinkvilla, Ali said, “Both of them were sold on the first narration. The only question was how do we pull off this film because it was grounded, at the same time challenging, and very emotional at heart. The craft of it lied in execution. If you look at it, it’s a simple underdog story, there is no gimmick, no action set pieces. It’s running on a simple line of a man fighting the battles within himself.”
The filmmaker also believes that the film Sultan had a fine balance of something commercial and credible at the same time. “Sometimes, too commercial can fall flat and sometimes credible things can be too dry. I want to do commercial cinema with a certain amount of class and credibility,” he said.
The report further claimed that both Ali Abbas Zafar and Aditya Chopra’s first and final choice for the role was Salman Khan. Ali said, “We were very clear that this film can work only with a superstar like Salman Khan and I was clear that I will only make it with him.”
The filmmaker also revealed that Anushka Sharma, who played the role of Aarfa came on board the film after it went on floors. “We wanted a fresh cast around Salman. He was never paired with Anushka, so we went to her and luckily, she reacted very positively to the script. I had started the film without a leading lady. Then, we went to Anushka and in two days, she said I want to do it. She jumped into the prep, and that’s how the casting happened,” Ali said.
When asked about whether Sultan has the potential of multiple spin-offs, Ali Abbas Zafar said, “Definitely. One can look at it like that. I will have to speak to Adi and then go back to Salman with the story and see if we can do a spin-off. Same is the process of Aarfa.”
Ali Abbas Zafar and Salman Khan had also worked in films like Tiger Zinda Hai and Bharat. On being asked about another collaboration, the filmmaker said, “Definitely, I always want to work with him and I will work with him again very soon. We will come together once we are both happy with the material on the script. I love him.”