'Vakeel Saab' is out in theatres from today (April 9). The courtroom drama has released amid high expectations, with the advance bookings, as per producer Dil Raju, suggesting that it will create magic at the box office. Let's find out what works for the film and whether it is worth a watch.
Three female roommates (played by Nivetha Thomas, Anjali and Ananya Nagalla) end up being harassed by a spoilt brat (Vamshi Krishna), who is the son of an MP. One of them is sexually molested in a moving car. When they lose all their hope and stare at a dark future, an alcoholic lawyer by the name of Satyadev (Pawan Kalyan), who hasn't been practising law for years, comes to their rescue. How he defeats the other party, represented in the court by a reputed lawyer (Prakash Raj as Nandha) is what the second half is about.
Pawan Kalyan gives both his fans and the general audience a bang for the buck. There is never a dull moment when he is on the screen. Entering the screen at the 15th minute (approximately), the superstar keeps the spirits high every time he makes a solid case for the three women. His scenes with Shruti Haasan (in a good cameo) are the only minus.
Prakash Raj proves to be a versatile actor and his chemistry with the opposing lawyer is a big plus. Nivetha Thomas, after playing noticeable roles in films like 'Ninnu Kori', looks realistic in the role of a young woman who comes with a modern mindset. Anjali, for a change, has got a performance-oriented role and she doesn't disappoint. Ananya Nagalla, who was recently seen in 'Play Back', looks innocent.
Vamsi Krishna has got the bad guy face and he is apt. All the other actors, including Mukesh Rishi and Sayaji Shinde, are decent.
Thaman shines with the songs (read 'Maguva Maguva', especially), but his BGM is even better. The courtroom scenes are made to seem edgier than they are because of his work. PS Vinod's camera work captures the small landscape of the court with a touch of realism. Ravi Varma and A Vijay chip in with stunts, while Rajeevan takes care of the production design (the courtroom looks slice of life).
When 'Pink' released in 2016, Bollywood film critics praised it as one of the most relevant films ever made. 'Vakeel Saab', its official remake, is sincere for the most part. In the Hindi original, Amitabh Bachchan was not a quintessential male hero. Here, Pawan Kalyan is not just a hero but a masala hero at that. He is a lawyer who specialises in giving strong punches on the faces of baddies.
At about 150 minutes, the film is a mixed package. It has got a highly engaging second half. But the same can't be said about its first half, where the flashback telling Satyadev's backstory is riddled with formula. The University scenes are boring.
The film upgrades itself and delivers a gripping watch in the second half. Here, 'Vakeel Saab' stays loyal to the spirit of 'Pink'. Mamidala Thirupathi's dialogues sound all the more remarkable when uttered by Power Star, who seems to be conscious that he has to speak to his political supporters through the film.
The courtroom scenes are in a good number. The run-time is not artificially cut off to accommodate two small fights in the second half.
Anjali, Nivetha Thomas and Ananya get to represent the oppression faced by women in day to day life. Whenever they are on screen, they look vulnerable. On the other hand, Vamshi Krishna and his friends are kind of reduced to look indistinct. Even Mukesh Rishi and Sayaji Shinde play jaded politicians.
Pawan Kalyan mesmerizes when he is wearing the lawyer's attire. He is irresistible and delivers a superb performance, taking the film's message to the audience's heart. The mass moments could have been way better. Director Venu Sriram should have done a better job with the fights.