Custody 2023 Movie Review
Director: Venkat Prabhu
Cast: Naga Chaitanya, Krithi Shetty, Aravind Swamy, Priyamani, Sarath Kumar
Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja and Ilayaraja
Constable Shiva (Naga Chaitanya), a small-town guy, is deeply in love with Revathi (Krithi Shetty). The girl’s parents do not approve of their love. One day, Shiva arrests gangster Raju (Arvind Swami) and CBI officer George (Sampath) accidentally. Shiva learns through the CBI officer that Raju needs to be produced in Bengaluru court.
But Raju has the support of CM Dakshyani (Priyamani) and the entire government. Determined, Shiva chooses to produce Raju in the court and starts fighting against all odds. Revathi too joins him in his journey. Did Shiva succeed in his attempt? What challenges did Shiva undergo to protect the truth? This forms the crux of the story.
Custody 2023 Movie Review:
When you hear the basic plot of Custody, there’s an urge to compare it to another film which also takes place in the span of a few hours and has high stakes involved. But Venkat Prabhu makes the tale a personal story, making it a tale of more than just a man forced into unwanted circumstances. Now whether it works or not is a whole other conversation.
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Shiva (Naga Chaitanya) is a sincere police constable, the kind who will stop CM Dakshayani’s (Priyamani) convoy to let an ambulance go. He and his lover Revathi (Krithi Shetty) want to get married soon. But both at work and in his personal life, Shiva is often made to feel lesser than he is.
One fateful night, he crosses paths with Raju (Arvind Swami), who prefers to be called Raazu, and George (Sampath Raj). The former might be a criminal but he’s also a key witness. And given his sincerity, Shiva will do everything in his power to protect this man.
Custody works whenever it focuses on the story. The first half spends ample time introducing us to Shiva and the world he lives in. One where his girlfriend’s parents don’t want them to wed because of his caste and where his boss believes he’s incapable of doing the job due to ‘quota.’
But the proceedings are slow, and the songs composed by Ilaiyaraaja and Yuvan Shankar Raja that interject the flow don’t help matters either. On one hand, you’re glad you know a little bit about Shiva and his love story, but none of that seems to matter anyways when Venkat shows his hand with the big reveals (yes, there are multiple).
The second half proceeds well for the most part and while Ramki’s cameo is interesting, especially during a fight scene, one can’t help but feel the film could’ve been tighter had Venkat Raajen (editor) worked with a heavy hand. The emotional scenes between Jiiva don’t have the impact they’re supposed to.
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There are scenes that might work well as they’re progressing but don’t gel well with the overall story. IG Natraj’s (Sarathkumar) scenes are cool but get repetitive. Vennela Kishore as Prem gets a fun meta scene with Premgi Amaren as Prem from the Tamil version of the film. There’s much to unfurl when it comes to Raju, but Venkat is so focused on Shiva, it’s kept only to the surface.
To give credit where it’s due, Custody has some interesting fight scenes by Mahesh Mathew. There’s a single-take action piece set in a police station that’s stifling and exciting at the same time.
Another one that takes place on the open ground also fits in well. Abburi Ravi’s dialogues, Ilaiyaraaja and Yuvan Shankar Raja’s background score, and SR Kathir’s cinematography also aid the film well.
The cast also does such a good job of playing their roles, it bores well for the film irrespective of their screen time – case in point Goparaju Ramana, Priyamani, and Ramki. But most of the film rests on Naga Chaitanya, Krithi Shetty, and Arvind Swami’s shoulders and they pull it off well.
Custody has the kind of story that’s predictable and some of the characters could’ve been fully realized to make this experience better than what it is. But if action dramas with a touch of emotion are your cup of tea, this is right down your lane.