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Sultan Of Delhi, Scumbags As  Heroes  In This Pathetic  Homage To Fake Machismo



Milan Luthria’s Sultan Of Delhi

Sultan Of  Delhi(Disney+Hotstar; 9 Episodes)

Starring Tahir Raj Bhasin, Mouni Roy, Anjum Sharma, Vinay Pathak, Anupriya Goenka, Nishant Dahiya, Mehreen Pirzada , Harleen Sethi

Directed  by Milan Luthria, Suparn Verma

Rating: *

Once upon a time, Milan  Luthria  directed  a film about gangsters  called Once Upon A  Time  In Mumbaai. Not that  it was  any great shakes.  But compared to  Luthria’s  new homage to gangsterism, it was  a masterpiece.

 The new monsterpiece stretching into nine episodes  should have never been made. It is hideously bad in plotting and woefully  inadequate in execution. The sets  are  tacky: a refugee  camp in the opening episode looks like  a college canteen .

  Dull  and  cheesy, it establishes an  immediate  yawn  sumbandh with  the  audience, provided there is  an  audience for these tales glorifying  gangsters and sociopaths  who should ideally be  placed in the  trashcan of anonymity.

Just weeks  ago we had the sultans of  sleaziness spreading themselves grimly all over a moribund  Mumbai in the 1970s in  Amazon’s Bambai Meri Jaan. Now it is this frankly-unbearable series with actors  trying to  look like they are criminals  in Delhi in  the 1960s, failing miserably  in this  challenging endeavour.

 Tahir  Raj Bhasin  playing Arjun  a Partition refugee(yes, there are  those  Gadar type train massacre refugee-camp distress scenes to give the endless series some badly-needed heft) who showed some spark early  in his career. Bhasin wears a  smug bored look throughout as if he had  signed  on for this only for the  zeroes on  the  cheque.

He is  joined by  a swaggering sidekick played by  Anjum  Sharma who calls himself  Bangali.The two indulge in massive gun shootouts and when all fails Arjun strips  to his birthday suit in front of a rival gang.This is known as  surrendering all  of your weapons to  your enemy.

Marginally more impressive than Arjun and Bangali is the anti-hero,a wealthy brat Rajinder(Nishant  Dahiya) who is very very  evil . But so are  Arjun and  Bengali. Serials  such as this make a not-so-fine distinction between hero-bad and villain-bad. Villain-bad Rajinder has the hots  for his stepmother , played by  Anupriya Goenka(desperately seeking a change of image) who is more vampish than  Bindu and Bela  Bose  from the past who had a blast .I hope Ms Goenka had fun playing the bitch. There is no fun in watching her.

Somewhere in  the midst of the mindless violence and sloppy sex scenes, Mouni Roy  sizzles in  a club gyrating to a song that  goes  Tra  la la.  The  giddy  limit, so to speak.

Having  braved this  ordeal I have a request for all  the Indiana Joneses of the  OTT platform: please  stop  making heroes of  gangsters. We have many many bona fide heroes in our past and present to celebrate.

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