‘Check’, a prison drama and thriller, hit the cinemas today (February 26). Coming as it does from the experimental director Chandrasekhar Yeleti, expectations are quite high. In a month of box-office hits like ‘Uppena’ and ‘Naandhi’, does this film hold interest? Is it worth a watch? Here we tell you in this review.
Story Aditya (Nithin) is accused of plotting a terrorist attack that killed 40 people. He is sentenced to death along with four others. In the prison, months before his hanging, Aditya develops a keen interest in the game of chess and shows a spark of brilliance. With the support of a fellow prisoner Srimannarayana (Sai Chand), he goes on to represent the country. Aditya even emerges on the international stage. Backing his mercy petition is Manasa (Rakul Preet Singh), a lawyer. But some evil characters can play spoilsport. Can Aditya get mercy from the President of India?
As a terror-convict, Nithin gives a decent performance. He is engaging throughout. After playing regular roles in entertainers such as ‘Bheeshma’, the actor gets to reinvent himself ahead of films like ‘Power Peta’ and the Telugu remake of ‘Andhadhun’. Rakul Preet Singh, as a lawyer with a not-so-straightforward attitude towards the lead man, is another plus.
Sampath Raj shines in the role of a cop, who is against the male lead. Priya Prakash Varrier, the ‘wink’ sensation of 2018, doesn’t have a full-fledged role. Her character in the flashback could have been etched way better. Sai Chand, who was seen recently in ‘Uppena’ as Vaisshnav Tej’s father, proves that he is an underrated actor who will deliver a dekko if the director is a Yeleti. Murali Sharma and Posani Krishna Murali do well.
Kalyani Malik’s music for songs is limited to just one song. While the duet is sub-par, the background score genuinely animates a number of scenes. Rahul Shrivastav’s cinematography captures the indoors of the prison set remarkably well. Here, the production design’s approach also played an integral role. The cinematographer builds on sets envisioned with the director in tow. Most of the film is set in a fictional prison. So, the visuals had to be believable.
When it is a Chandrasekhar Yeleti film, the discerning audience expects smartness. And chess is an intelligent game. The mix of Yeleti and chess had to be stunning. But ‘Check’ turns out to be a mediocre film in terms of writing and even the screenplay. The scenes lack believability for the most part. The prison scenes are bereft of intensity. Criminals serving in the jail pick up quarrels now and then. There is no sense of curiosity about their fights. The scenes between the lead man and Sai Chand sustain interest in the first half. By and by, however, why the latter is so emotionally invested in the former doesn’t have an answer. The flashback episodes are narrated in installments. Except for a twist about a character, there is nothing much out there. The courtroom scenes, wherein a feisty Manasa bats for Aditya, are superficial. Sampath Raj’s character is forced into the story. The film wouldn’t have changed much even had he not been an angry character. The climax is shoddy and is full of illogical and old-fashioned tropes.
With directors like Yeleti, people give him the benefit of doubt even when the film is extremely silly. Hope the filmmaker of ‘Aithe’ and ‘Sahasam’ doesn’t lose his grip on the audience’s loyalty permanently and ‘Check’ doesn’t mark his permanent descent into the realm of unintelligent filmmaking.