‘Vakeel Saab’ marks the return of Pawan Kalyan on the big screen for the first time since ‘Agnyaathavaasi’ (2018). In this section, we are going to review the courtroom drama and tell you whether it’s worth a watch.
When three young women (played by Nivetha Thomas, Anjali and Ananya Nagalla) find themselves sexually harassed or intimidated by powerful men, lawyer Satyadev (Pawan Kalyan) becomes their saviour. He argues their case in the court in such a way that patriarchal notions are questioned. The defense lawyer Nandha (Prakash Raj) makes some insulting remarks about the women, reflecting deep-rooted misogyny. How Satyadev speaks up for the women in general and his clients in particular is the crux of the drama.
Power Star’s performance draws whistles in the second half. Considering the genre of the movie, it is not easy for a top actor to look heroic in a lawyer’s attire. Pawan being Pawan, he brings grace to the courtroom arguments, while he looks dashing in the elevation moments.
Nivetha Thomas looks the part of a young woman who is wronged and tries to put up a fight. Anjali and Ananya Nagalla are equally good as her friends. Kudos to Prakash Raj for being consistent ever since he enters the scene in the second half.
Vamsi Krishna is convincing in the role of a creep who tries to use influence to extricate himself out of the prosecution. Mukesh Rishi and Srikanth Iyengar, as a politician and a cop, respectively, are good. Shruti Haasan doesn’t make a mark in the guest role. Kedar Shankar, Sayaji Shinde, Nagineedu and others fit the bill.
Thaman’s background music is smart and distinct in the emotional/intense moments of the film. ‘Maguva Maguva’ and ‘Kanti Papa’ are placed well in the context of the film. The stunts by Ravi Varma and A Vijay are elevated by the hero’s majesty, but as ideas, they don’t have much to offer. PS Vinod’s cinematography and Rajeevan’s production design are spot-on. GM Sekhar’s art direction is another plus.
The film is not a disciplined remake of ‘Pink’ (Hindi). The first half has been tweaked unabashedly to suit the image of Pawan. His political persona also spills into the film.
There is a flashback episode in the first half and it has been made to cater to Pawanists from the word go. The romantic track is thankfully brief.
The film comes into its own in the second half. Once the courtroom drama starts, there is no stopping the might of Pawanism from impressing the audience big-time. The way Satyadev confronts the misogyny and machinations of his rival (read Prakash Raj’s character) is a treat to watch.
Mamidala Thirupathi’s dialogues, even in the court scenes, are not fully derived from ‘Pink’. They have been tailor-made for the swag of Pawan Kalyan, and drew whistles a number of times at the single screen (Shiva Parvathi Theatre, Kukatpally) where this reviewer watched the benefit show.
Director Venu Sriram comes out with distinction as far as the second half is concerned. You will have complaints for sure about the first half, though. But even there, Pawan’s intro and the interval block give a bang for the buck.
Go watch this courtroom drama that has its share of mass masala moments!