Sultan is a story of Sultan Ali Khan – a local wrestling champion with the world at his feet as he dreams of representing India at the Olympics. It’s a story of Aarfa – a feisty young girl from the same small town as Sultan with her own set of dreams. When the 2 local wrestling legends lock horns, romance blossoms and their dreams and aspirations become intertwined and aligned. However, the path to glory is a rocky one and one must fall several times before one stands victorious – More often than not, this journey can take a lifetime. Sultan is a classic underdog tale about a wrestler’s journey, looking for a comeback by defeating all odds staked up against him. But when he has nothing to lose and everything to gain in this fight for his life match… Sultan must literally fight for his life. Sultan believes he’s got what it takes… but this time, it’s going to take everything he’s got.
In Delhi, entrepreneur Akash Oberoi (Amit Sadh) is facing the heat from his investors about his 'Pro-Take Down' mixed martial arts (MMA) venture which is flopping in India. Frustrated, Akash talks with his father Mr. Oberoi (Parikshit Sahni), who tells him his MMA venture needs a desi rustic Indian wrestler who will pound foreign fighters to dust. He points him towards Sultan in Haryana's Rewari, whom he had seen wrestling before and winning several championships.Akash leaves for Rewari and finds Sultan (Salman Khan) working in the Jal Nigam (State Water Board) now, an overweight, depressed-looking man who impresses Akash by lifting a tractor but who outright refuses Akash's offer and tells him he's stopped fighting. Akash meets Govind, Sultan's best friend, who tells him the reason is Sultan's love story – with Aarfa (Anushka Sharma). The movie moves into a flashback.Eight years ago, while kite-running through Rewari, Sultan, who runs a small dish TV business, bangs into Aarfa and hits her, thinking a man is wearing her scooter helmet and driving. Aarfa, who's a wrestler training at her father Barkat's Jaanbaaz Akhaara (gym), beats up Sultan – who promptly falls in love with her. Sultan's grandmother encourages him to tell Aarfa while his father disapproves. But Sultan, who follows Aarfa into a wedding and sings to her, confesses his love to Aarfa who tells him in English he'd be called a 'cit-guy'. Sultan thinks this is a compliment – till Govind tells him it means "shit guy."Sultan then joins Barkat's akhaara, first having to donate blood before Aarfa, who finds he's a rare 'O Negative, and trains to be a wrestler. Aarfa grows friendlier towards him, and they start going up and down the village together. Sultan takes Aarfa to meet Govind and his other friends one day, and they address Aarfa as 'bhabhi' (sister-in-law). Aarfa is furious with Sultan and tells him he has no business thinking and talking like this as she, training to be an Olympic star, will never accept a village bumpkin who has no goals.Sultan is crushed but following his father's advice, starts training with determination – and wins a state-level championship, including in a weight category double his. Both Aarfa and Barkat are impressed, and Aarfa agrees to marry Sultan. They have a blissful nikaah /marriage and train together, winning competitions at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, the Asian Games, traveling to Hungary for an international championship and enjoying life.Then, Aarfa discovers she is pregnant. Her father is annoyed about her having to miss out on wrestling, but Aarfa is happy at Sultan's joy. Sultan keeps wrestling and wins major world competitions – including gold at the London Olympics. By then, he's become extremely arrogant, praising himself constantly, often ignoring Aarfa and his elders, even slapping a reporter. He tells Aarfa he only wants a baby boy and that he will not drop out of a world championship in Turkey, even though it means traveling just when Aarfa's baby is due.While Sultan competes and wins in Turkey, Aarfa has her baby. But when Sultan returns, he finds Aarfa shattered, telling him the baby Aman, having the same as Sultan's rare 'O negative' blood group, needed blood which wasn't locally available in the village and as his own father wasn't there, the child couldn't be saved. Aarfa leaves Sultan, who is absolutely broken and stops wrestling, trying instead to collect money for a local blood bank to be built in the name of their child.Govind tells Akash all this and Akash appeals to Sultan's desire for the blood bank, which is not being aided by the local politician. Akash tells Sultan if he wins an MMA fight, he can immediately build the blood bank. Sultan agrees to fight and tells Aarfa he loves her, and she should pray for him – and them. He collects earth from the akhaara and leaves for Delhi.In Delhi, Sultan's being overweight and middle-aged makes the investors jittery. Akash convinces them to give Sultan a try and also finds him a local sponsor, Kukreja Pressure Cookers. Akash takes Sultan to Fateh Singh (Randeep Hooda), an MMA trainer in Old Delhi, who had earlier spoilt his own career with doping and drugs, but now trains champion MMA stars. Fateh Singh taunts Sultan about his weight and sadness and refuses to train him. He finally agrees when Sultan, driven to action by his insults, defeats his current star.Sultan begins a grueling training session with Fateh Singh. There is a lengthy montage of him training.The MMA Tournament kicks off, and Sultan impresses the media at a press conference with his humility and gentle wit. His rivals are very aggressive, and Sultan becomes the popular underdog. As he fights several cut-throat MMA experts, his whole village cheers and his fans grow, but Aarfa stays aloof. Lonely, Sultan, spends his free time watching his wedding video. The one night he goes out with Akash to celebrate the latter's birthday, he sings a song about Aarfa, which goes viral on the internet, tagging Sultan 'Romeo Wrestler' as well.By day, Sultan keeps winning contests, although by a slim margin. One day, as he's badly injured in the ring, he imagines Aarfa encouraging him, and he stands up to fight back and is victorious. But his injuries are serious, and he's advised to withdraw from the contest finale.Govind, who's helping Sultan, calls Aarfa immediately to Delhi and she reaches. Sultan and Aarfa finally talk and forgive one another. She tells him he must fight this fight and not give up.Sultan takes on MMA king Marcus, who beats up him very badly in the ring. But as Sultan goes down, he remembers their child's empty cot and his giving up his Olympic gold then and there. Aarfa meanwhile is sitting in the locker room, praying, while the akhaara earth starts to fall from its bag.Sultan gets up and fights Marcus – and wins.Aarfa comes into the stadium, and Sultan leaves his trophy to embrace her. Together, they open an Aman blood bank in their village and go back to training together. Aarfa wins a prestigious championship and discovers she is pregnant again. Sultan asks her for a girl this time and soon, the happy couple are training – along with their adorable little daughter.