The Telugu-Tamil bilingual movie, Custody, directed by Venkat Prabhu and starring Naga Chaitanya, has an interesting premise but falls short due to a weak screenplay. The movie narrates a 48-hour episode in the life of police constable Shiva, played by Naga Chaitanya, who finds himself in a predicament when he ends up arresting two men who were fighting, Raju (Arvind Swami) and CBI officer George (Sampath). Shiva later realizes that Raju is a local goon and needs to be produced in the Bengaluru court within the next 24 hours to testify. Meanwhile, the CM sends IG Nataraj (Sharath Kumar) to kill Raju before he reaches the court, and now Shiva is on a mission to save Raju and marry his girlfriend.
The Premise of Custody
Custody is set in the 1990s and opens with a terrible incident where around 40 people die in a small town due to a gas cylinder blast. We are then introduced to Shiva, who lives in the town with his parents and sister and believes that human life is more important than anything else. This is evident when he stops the Chief Minister’s (Priya Mani) convoy to allow an ambulance to pass. Shiva is in love with Revathy (Krithi Shetty) and they decide to elope, but they meet with an accident on the way to her house.
Custody has a very interesting premise that could have been an edge-of-the-seat thriller, but the screenplay meanders all over the place. If the focus had been kept solely on the Shiva-Raju story and the chasing game, the movie would have been far more engaging. At the end of the day, the crux of this movie was how a constable saves the bad guy, and the relationship develops in the need to survive. However, too many characters and sub-plots marred this concept.
The first half of the film spent too much time establishing Shiva, his family, Revathy, and others, making it a little tedious. The romance portions dragged the film down, and the songs were unnecessary. Music directors Ilaiyaraaja and Yuvan Shankar Raja are excellent musicians, but in this film, an excellent BGM would have elevated the film more.
Naga Chaitanya has played his role as a constable sincerely, but it’s not easy to believe that he could be a constable. He’s good in the action scenes and should perhaps explore more exciting action scripts. Krithi Shetty delivers what is required of her, as does Arvind Swami. Priya Mani shines in her small role as CM. Venkat Prabhu has used many known faces from Tamil cinema, but some like Sarath Kumar and Ramki were just not suitable for the film. The film may have been set in the late 1990s, but the actors could have been present-day ones.
Cinematography and Action Sequences
Despite the weak screenplay, Custody has some excellent cinematography and well-shot action sequences. Some of the fights were well taken, like the underwater scenes and when they get caught in the large underground water pipes.
Custody could have been a great movie, but the weak screenplay and unnecessary sub-plots let it down. However, the movie is still worth a watch for its action sequences, cinematography, and some good performances.