Custody movie review: Naga Chaitanya-starrer needed a lot more to make an impact - Hindustan Times
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Custody movie review: Naga Chaitanya's action thriller has too many subplots, needed a lot more to make an impact

ByHaricharan Pudipeddi
May 12, 2023 02:28 PM IST

Custody movie review: Naga Chaitanya's latest film is one of those action dramas that never realise their potential and get lost midway.

Venkat Prabhu’s Custody, which marks his maiden collaboration with Naga Chaitanya, is built on a very interesting premise. Unlike most mainstream films, where the hero locks horns with the villain and eventually kills him, here it is Chaitanya’s character’s life mission to protect the antagonist, played by Arvind Swami. For a story that predominantly unfolds over a span of 48 hours and involves some solid chase sequences, the film wastes quite a lot of time initially in needless subplots. The film needed to be more relentless and crisper to have made the audience feel its intended impact. Also read: Police constable tells Naga Chaitanya his film helped him recover from brain injury

Custody movie review: Naga Chaitanya plays a constable in the action film.
Custody movie review: Naga Chaitanya plays a constable in the action film.

The film opens with a gas leak accident, which results in the death of 40 people. The story quickly introduces us to Shiva (Naga Chaitanya), a constable with his moral compass in the right place. In his introduction scene, he stops the chief minister's (Priyamani) convoy to make way for an ambulance and his deed becomes the news headlines.

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Shiva lives with his parents and younger sister. He’s in love with Revathi, a driving school instructor and they decide to elope and get married. On the night Shiva is supposed to pick up Revathy and marry, he gets involved in a road rage case and arrests the two people involved in the incident. Soon, Shiva learns that one among them is Raju, a local hitman who does all the dirty work for the CM and her party. The other man in the road rage incident is a CBI officer, who has to produce Raju in a court in Bengaluru the next day. As news spreads that Raju is locked up, the CM sends out a team to kill him. Shiva quickly realises the gravity of the situation and takes the responsibility of handing over Raju in the court.

Custody is one of those action films that never realise their potential and get lost midway. It wastes a lot of time initially in the scenes (which includes two boring songs) between Chaitanya and Krithi Shetty. If only all this excessive flab was removed and the story only focused on Shiva, Raju and all those men who are after them, this would’ve been a cracker of an action-thriller. After the 40th minute, when Shiva and Raju are on the run, the film really picks up momentum and it really works on the action front. The pre-interval action stretch (including an underwater sequence) has to be one of the major highlights of the film. But every time the momentum picks up, the story takes a detour to focus on Shiva and Revathy. It is this needless distraction that makes Custody unbearable at times.

Naga Chaitanya plays his part quite well and this is definitely an attempt worth some praise. It is Arvind Swami as Raju that really stands out among the actors. In the film’s most tense moments, he brings in spurts of humour that works so well. Scenes between Chaitanya and Arvind work quite well and they form an unlikely bond which could’ve been explored more than wasting time on the romance portion. Sarath Kumar is a major miscast and he struggles to add any value to the ensemble cast.

Film: Custody

Director: Venkat Prabhu

Cast: Naga Chaitanya, Arvind Swami, Sarath Kumar, Priyamani and Krithi Shetty

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