Chennai, 10 Apr 2021 13:58 IST
In spite of Pawan Kalyan’s rousing performance, the film becomes another hero-driven story wherein the core message — ‘no means no’ — is shrouded in layers of machismo.
Pawan Kalyan’s comeback film Vakeel Saab (2021) is the kind of movie that works as a star vehicle with everything needed to pander to the masses. However, as a remake of the Amitabh Bachchan- and Taapsee Pannu-starrer Pink (2016), it does grave disservice to the idea of consent. In spite of Pawan Kalyan’s rousing performance, the film becomes another hero-driven story wherein the core message — ‘no means no’ — is shrouded in layers of machismo.
Nerkonda Paarvai (2019), the Tamil version of Pink, which starred Ajith in the role essayed by Bachchan in the original, struck the perfect balance between star power and message. It gave Ajith scope to shine as the hero the masses love without diluting the impact of the core message.
Vakeel Saab, on the contrary, is a full-blown star-studded drama where the debate about the importance of consent takes a backseat. Nevertheless, considering the number of people who have been desperately waiting for Pawan Kalyan’s comeback, it is safe to assume that Vakeel Saab will take the core message to a wider audience.
Vakeel Saab is a safe and highly commercialized version of Pink, and it allows Pawan Kalyan to be in his element and do stuff that he is best known for. The film is a lot more sincere and engaging in the second half, where most of the court drama unfolds. The entire first half plays out like a Pawan Kalyan showreel, and for his fans who have been waiting to see him on the big screen for the past three years, it’s a treat.
To justify Pawan Kalyan’s stardom, the film spends time explaining why the character he plays became a lawyer in the first place. A lot of time is wasted in building the back story of the character. By the time the focus shifts to the main issue, a sense of boredom creeps in.
Thankfully, the second half makes up for the lull in the first half. The court scenes are mostly engaging, except for the heated arguments between Pawan Kalyan and Prakash Raj’s defence lawyer, which are reminiscent of roadside brawls.
Of the three versions of this story that this reviewer has seen, Vakeel Saab is more masses-friendly and lightweight. But while it might lack the seriousness with which to address the core issue, it sure knows how to make an impact with a star like Pawan Kalyan.
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