Vakeel Saab Review & Rating
Vakeel Saab Review: Stardom Doesn't Mean You Need To Beat Others
And what’s the link?
Like Dr. Pavel says in The Dark Knight Rises,
Nothing! I said nothing!
And there’s no Bane to keep the flame rising.
Then what’s left of it here?
Vakeel Saab is a through and through Pawan Kalyan star vehicle so much so that the expected main point of the story is not the main point at all. It’s just secondary to project the heroism of Pawan Kalyan and his ideology (who are we to judge if its good or bad?).
So, let’s dive in.
Meanwhile, let’s refresh the context to better understand this film. After the gloriously unforgettable flop of Agnyaathavaasi, Pawan Kalyan left the film industry for good. He wanted to completely concentrate his time and efforts on building his party and to work for people. But (leaving the political angles aside) there are millions who want to watch Pawan Kalyan on the big screen.
Just like Vanilla flavour never goes out of fashion (no matter what), Pawan Kalyan’s on-screen magic never falls out of fashion. There is a generation of audience who grew up watching him on screen and another who grew up listening about his on and off screen personas through the immediately previous generation. Every one of them want to watch him on the big screen. Just appear. In good shape. Give a couple of dance movements. And go through motions. That’s enough. The typically Pawanesque dialogue delivery - delivered in a languid and laid back fashion is a trendsetter so much so that a whole generation of younger actors imitated him (just like Ravi Teja’s attitude is imitated).
So, he made a return. Selected a subject that will not just deliver him an assured hit (which is needed on a comeback) but also help him propagate his ideologies.
Starts with a bang. The scenes are tense, there is an intensity in the situation. The emotions are hard hitting because of underplaying. And then boom! power Star Pawan Kalyan appears on the screen. Fans rejoice. Celebrations start. But the subject of the film gets neglected in in the meantime. Thank you for the fan pleasing moments. We really miss Pawan’s understated but intensely experienced energy. But story says Tata and texts us: see you in 45 minutes.
What happens? There’s a flashback for explaining the reclusiveness and alcoholism of our hero. Shruti Haasan in her most memorably forgettable role looks okay. But it’s not a film she should be seen on screen after what Krack had given her. Another crack on her already fractured CV. The music here is dull. There is every cliche used to elevate heroism. And the ideology of the real life of the actor is inserted instead of the in-screen protagonist.
No means Yes?
After the fan indulging episode which is added as commercial top up, we get back to the story of the three girls. Played by Nivetha Thomas (has a few memorable scenes where she once again proved Tollywood never understands her potential), Anjali (okay brought her experience to the fore), and Ananya Nagalla who was ignored just like she might have ignored the soared friend requests in Facebook after the release of her first film... Mallesham.
As we all know the story and the context in which the original film became an instant and evergreen classic resolving one of the biggest modern day dilemma, we’ll continue with Vakeel Saab.
So, our Vakeel Saab takes up the case. He’s christened Satya Dev (suited PK’s on-screen persona very much). And with a known twist and a powerful screen performance of Pawan Kalyan, the movie reaches the half way mark. The second half is where the actual courtroom drama starts.
The director who ate up the majority of the first half with the unnecessary flashback (it could have worked better as a shorter episode in the second half), cleverly established the rivalry of the opposite lawyer: he’s Prakash Raj and his on-screen name is Nanda. So without even telling or showing a second’s worth of footage, the scene is set for a scintillating courtroom exchange.
Thanks to Puri Jagannadh and that iconic scene everyone remembers. Interspersed by action sequences, Advocate Satya Dev establishes No means No in a truly unremarkable fashion (don’t know how many of the fans for whom this film is made for understand this in its true essence) and the end credits roll.
Power Star Pawan Kalyan
Pawan Kalyan is Pawan Kalyan. And he is Pawan Kalyan. He did what’s required of his role and he’s obviously good in it. Basically he’s a good enough actor. And Power Star excelled in the action sequences, and the self-indulging and fan-service scenes. But there are moments like when he needs to interrogate a female officer, while accepting the request of the girls, and in a few other sporadic moments, the actor in Pawan Kalyan tried to come out of the Power Star but something held him back from completely appearing on screen like the encounter with Thanos made Hulk not to appear in Avengers: Infinity War.
Nonetheless, it is a very satisfactory outing for both the fans and the general movie-goers as he delivered what is promised. If it’s any other subject or an original, the true fans of Pawan Kalyan would have celebrated this film just like they celebrate Khushi, Thammudu, and Tholi Prema. But it is the diehard fans (REMEMBER Saaho) who kill the actors in the stars and keep them from growing as actors. Thanks? No thanks! Pawan Kalyan the actor is truly under-utilised by the Telugu filmmakers. But that’s for another day, if the actor himself will himself to act for at least another decade or so.
Nivetha Thomas is a brilliant actress of this generation and she did very well in another nearly typecast role.. But her character is suppressed (just makes 20% of impact of what Taapsee did in Pink) and still she’s good. Prakash Raj is not expat his best but his cleverly written role is impactful on the final outcome. Rest of the actors are good. Venu Sriram is a good director after all.
Writing and direction
Just like the most humble and popularly good persons say, what good comes out of my work is the blessing of the elders, Gurus and the Divine, and the mistakes are mine, Venu Sriram can claim his state in this humble statement.
The music by Thaman is superb. The background score is thumping good. The songs, especially Maguva Maguva are highlights otherwise. The cinematography is good. The editing... by the diehard fans and commercial experts... is mediocre. The art department has done a fine job. The production values are okayish.
Vakeel Saab and to an extent Nerkonda Paarvai proved once again why Amitabh is a National treasure. And proves to this generation why India may never witness a star and actor or actor and star in equal measure.
What’s the need of the hour is not just making people understand NO Means NO when a woman utters it in the context of this subject. We should also understand stardom doesn’t mean beating others to elevate the heroism. No. Means. No.
Vakeel Saab as per this writer’s estimates will cross at least Rs. 25 Cr. at the box office on day 1 and will surely join the 100 Crore a club overall unless a miracle happens. Fans can watch it.
Rating: 2.75 out of 5
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