Vakeel Saab movie review: Pawan Kalyan’s real-life election loss and do-gooder image amalgamates in this film that goes beyond the importance of consent.
Vakeel Saab movie cast: Pawan Kalyan, Nivetha Thomas, Anjali, Ananya Nagalla, Prakash Raj
Vakeel Saab movie director: Venu Sriram
Vakeel Saab movie rating: 3 stars
Vakeel Saab is not the remake of Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s Pink. It is the remake of Nerkonda Paarvai, which was the Tamil remake of Pink. It is a copy of a copy of a copy. Unlike the original film, the heroic lawyer is not an elderly man with a sick wife and a tormented soul. In the Telugu remake, he is a revolutionary leader with great aspirations to create an egalitarian society where the rights of other people, especially women, are not curtailed.
Pawan Kalyan’s Satyadev has quit his practice as a lawyer. He felt betrayed by the very people he was fighting for as they failed to stand by him during a case at the right time. He is dejected and lost as he mulls over existential questions like what is the meaning of his life? What is the point of fighting for people who don’t stand by you? What is in it for me? Although he doesn’t think these questions out loud, this general sentiment is implied. Obviously, his absence from public life has led to a rise in injustice. But, Satyadev is away from limelight as he drowns himself in alcohol and barely keeps his temper in check.
He is forced to come out of his hibernation after three independent women are wronged and systematically persecuted by men in power. He can no longer watch it as a spectator as his blood boils by the injustice. He picks his lawyer’s robes, and off he goes to protect the honour of the three innocent and helpless women. As far as this premise goes, it is standard 80s fare.
Consent is not the main cause of concern for Satyadev, unlike his predecessors in Hindi and Tamil. We see him fight for the rights of people living in slums, forests and college students. He is fighting the injustice done to all sections of the society. The case involving three women is just another aspect of what he hopes to be a long and eventful journey.
Pawan’s loss in last year’s election is the main theme of the film. “Even if you don’t need people. People need you,” various versions of this dialogue is repeated throughout the run time.
Nevertheless, director Venu Sriram and Pawan also honour the main subject and the message of the original film, which says ‘no means no’. When a huge star like Pawan Kalyan emotionally makes a strong case for consent and respecting boundaries, the message will reach far and wide. Also, the face-off between Prakash Raj and Pawan in the courtroom is highly entertaining.