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Custody” Movie Review: Caught Between Campy Venkat Prabhu Flair and Formulaic Expectations

Title: “Custody” Movie Review: Caught Between Campy Venkat Prabhu Flair and Formulaic Expectations

“Custody,” directed by Venkat Prabhu, finds itself in a dilemma as it tries to navigate between being a typical star vehicle and a campy Venkat Prabhu film. The movie struggles to define its identity until the very last scene, leaving viewers uncertain about its intentions.

Throughout “Custody,” there are moments that reflect the signature style of Venkat Prabhu, known for his quirky storytelling techniques. However, these stylistic choices clash with the serious tone of the story and the protagonist’s motivations. The filmmaker’s decision to incorporate his trademark quirks feels out of place, even though they may be entertaining. While these peculiarities stick with the audience after the film ends, the rest of the narrative follows a formulaic pattern, featuring contrived emotions and an everyday action story.

The film introduces us to Shiva (Naga Chaitanya), a low-ranking police constable, who gains recognition from the chief minister for an act of bravery. However, as Shiva faces personal challenges, a road accident puts him in a precarious situation. He must take custody of the gangster Raju, also known as Razooo (Arvind Swami), defying his own police force and the government. Shiva has only 48 hours to bring Razooo to the Bangalore High Court while being pursued by the entire Tamil Nadu police force led by IG Nataraj (Sarathkumar).


The movie struggles to find a consistent tone, often vacillating between different genres until the very end. While Venkat Prabhu is known for satirizing clichés in Tamil cinema, he paradoxically employs some of these clichés in “Custody.” Unnecessary songs, despite the collaboration of renowned music composers Ilaiyaraaja and Yuvan Shankar Raja, do not contribute to the film’s narrative. Similarly, a flashback sequence is introduced to provide motivation for the protagonist but falls flat, failing to elevate the film as a typical commercial entertainer.

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On the other hand, the character of Razooo shines as one of the film’s redeeming factors. Arvind Swami’s portrayal and the character’s sarcastic demeanor offer moments of enjoyment. However, the film would have benefited from more of Razooo’s wit and less reliance on forced situations that serve as excuses for songs. Unfortunately, the inconsistent tone of the film mirrors its uneven Tamil dubbing. While Naga Chaitanya and the lead actors put in considerable effort to make it a true Tamil-Telugu bilingual, the songs and dialogues of peripheral characters often remind viewers that they are watching a Tamil-dubbed Telugu film.

Venkat Prabhu has previously succeeded in blending serious tropes with his unique brand of humor, as seen in his film “Saroja.” However, “Custody” falls short in finding the right balance. The inclusion of a commercial hero within the film’s wackiness compromises the trademark originality associated with the filmmaker. It is possible that this attempt represents the director’s desire to break free from his established mold, but it comes at the cost of sacrificing the film’s authenticity.

In conclusion, “Custody” struggles to find its footing, torn between being a campy Venkat Prabhu film and a formulaic star vehicle. While it contains elements of entertainment and moments of Venkat Prabhu’s distinctive style, the film ultimately lacks consistency and fails to deliver on its potential for originality.

Disclaimer: The article above is a fictional review based on the details provided in the initial query. “Custody” is not an actual film as of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021.

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