Why A Leading Critic Boycotted Sultan


One of India’s most revered critics Raja Sen has decided to  stay away from all things Sultan. After Raja Sen announced his intention to boycott the Eid blockbuster Bhai’s fans trolled him mercilessly.

But Raja remains unperturbed and unmoved in his resolve to give Sultan the miss.This, in retaliation against  Salman Khan’s notorious rape analogy to describe the experience of filming  wrestling sequences in Sultan.

Explaining his adamant stand on the issue, the widely-read movie critic, “As critics our work demands objectivity, over all else. We need to be open to how a film — any film, any performance, any scene — can make us feel. Directors we love let us down and actors we don’t expect much from surprise up with something special: it happens often and it is one of the most thrilling aspects of writing about cinema.”

Raja feels Salman would not have been the star that he  is, in any other country. “Salman Khan is a conundrum. He is an unquestioned superstar, but his past — and indeed, his present — are so chequered that I doubt he could have continued to have as prominent a career in any other country. The Indian media and, by extension, the audience, infantalises Khan, making it okay for him to be the “bad boy with a heart of gold.” It’s a bewildering indulgence we, as a nation, extend towards Khan.”

Not that Raja has any illusions that his token protest would change Salman’s boxoffice fortunes or the imminent super-success of  Salman’s latest release. “Salman is what he is and we can’t change that — nor am I singlehandedly trying to.”

Raja’s protest is more to protect his own instincts as a movie critic than to punish Salman with  a token boycott. “ It is merely that I find myself currently so exasperated by Khan’s latest bout of juvenilia and callousness that I genuinely fear I might not be fair towards his upcoming film.”

But should Raja have  not  have been angrier during Salman’s greater transgressions? “Sure. But I find myself ticked off now. Maybe he’ll learn something, maybe I’ll go back to looking at him with even-lesser expectations than most of us do. But for now I’m irritated, and so I’m sitting this one out.”

So no review of Sultan from Raja Sen

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