Pallavi (Nivetha Thomas), Zareena (Anjali) and Divya (Ananya), are left stranded on the road at midnight when their cab breaks down. Luckily, a friend comes on the way and gives them a lift. Together they go to a resort to have dinner. A few hours later, the girls coming running out and one of the boys is severely injured.
It turns out the boy is the son of an MP. His friends instigate him to take revenge for the act. They start harassing the girl and eventually file a case against them. How these girls find a savior in Satyadev (Pawan Kalyan), aka Vakeel Saab, is the movie’s basic storyline?
Powerstar Pawan Kalyan is known for his style, and swag, and extraordinary entertainment skills. It usually overshadows his acting potential. In Vakeel Saab, we get to see that actor in Pawan Kalyan.
The real show from Pawan Kalyan starts at the interval bang. From then onwards, when the movie enters the courtroom, Pawan Kalyan is at his ferocious best with incredible timing intact. All his scenes with Prakash Raj are exceptionally done. They elevate the proceedings and also the actor. Vakeel Saab is without any doubt one of the career-best performances of the star.
The three female leads are aptly cast based on their characterization and background. Nivetha Thomas and Anjali do the heavyweight lifting regarding the emotional scenes. Nivetha is terrific in the breakdown episode, and so is Anjali when her turn comes. Ananya is an incredible presence adding an authentic vibe to the narrative. Shruti Haasan appears in a brief role and does her bit with ease.
And last but not least, Prakash Raj is superb. It is when he goes head-on with Pawan Kalyan that Vakeel Saab gets its most engaging and thrilling moments. Prakash Raj is ever-reliable, and he is brilliant in critical situations that ramp up emotions. The rest of the actors are adequate for their parts.
Venu Sriram, a two-film old director, is entrusted with remaking a niche content film Pink in Telugu. It is a tough job to do with a star like Pawan Kalyan heading the project. Venu Sriram has done a commendable job in getting the balance of star and content right.
The opening sequences are similar to the original. It is the hero’s track where we get all the changes. The whole thing is rewritten with a flashback in place. One gets a feeling of drag in these sequences. But, it leads to a terrific interval bang. The mass power of the star is visible big time here.
The heart of the film is the second half of the movie. It is sensational. Pawan Kalyan sets the screens ablaze with his powerful act. All his combination scenes with Prakash Raj have come out well. The name ‘Nanda’ itself brings a lot of memories to the fans. Kudos to the director for coming up with such creative thoughts, which elevates the proceedings.
The core drama involving the girls and the message it gives is the need of the hour. That Pawan Kalyan delivers makes it all the more impactful. The director’s success is that he designs the character such that Pawan Kalyan’s stardom enhances the impact of the film’s message without making it look like a lecture or a sermon. Few cinematic liberties are taken to give sharp satirical counters- they make the narrative look livelier and energetic.
In the end, when one comes out of the movie, there is immense satisfaction and high. The message is passes of fighting the prejudices and system together is excellent. It is here that Venu Sriram scores and delivers a winner.
The music by S Thaman is extraordinary. The songs are good, but the background score is next level. They take the emotional appeal of the film to another plane altogether. The cinematography by PS Vinod is neat. The editing keeps the movie racy. The writing is superb, keeping in the onscreen and off-screen personality of Pawan Kalyan.
Producers Dil Raju and Sirish deserve all the praises for bringing a purposeful film like Vakeel Saab to the Telugu audience. The message it passes is timely and vital. It is another valuable addition to the banner of Sri Venkateshwara Films. Boney Kapoor with Vakeel Saab made a memorable outing for a lifetime in Telugu Cinema.
Rating: 3.5/5 Bottom line: Thrilling And Captivating Courtroom Drama