Custody review: Arvind Swami and Priya Mani save this boring formulaic film from sinking

The Naga Chaitanya-starrer lacks the usual irreverent treatment of characters seen in Venkat Prabhu's films.

ByManigandan KR

Published:Aug 10, 2023

A poster of Venkat Prabhu Custody
Predictable and boring!

Custody (Tamil)

  • Cast: Naga Chaitanya Akkineni, Krithi Shetty, Arvind Swami, Priya Mani, Sarath Kumar, Sampath Raj, Premji Amaren, Vennela Kishore, and Premi Vishwanath
  • Writer-Director: Venkat Prabhu
  • Producer: Srinivasaa Chitturi
  • Music: Ilaiyaraaja and Yuvan Shankar Raja
  • Runtime: 2 hours 28 minutes

Custody, featuring Naga Chaitanya and Krithi Shetty in the lead, isn’t a typical fun-filled Venkat Prabhu film. That doesn’t mean that it is completely devoid of comedy as well.

It is a proper commercial entertainer with action taking precedence over comedy.

So, does the film work? Read the review to find out:


The story begins in 1996 in a seemingly unassuming fashion. A blast at a traffic intersection leaves several people dead.

Fast forward to 1998 and the focus shifts to Shiva (Naga Chaitanya), a conscientious brave man who works as a constable in the local police station.

naga chaitanya in custody film

Naga Chaitanya in a still from ‘Custody’. (Twitter)

Shiva’s girlfriend Revathi (Krithi Shetty) is a driving school instructor.

The two have been in love since their school days. Now, Krithi is worried that her parents might get her married off to someone else.

So, she insists that Shiva visit her home along with his parents to seek her hand in marriage.

Initially, Shiva hesitates to do so as he does not want to rush into marriage. However, on Revathi’s insistence, he does as he is asked.

Unfortunately, another suitor along with his family arrives at Revathi’s house at the same time. Things go out of hand as Shiva and his family members are insulted. They leave the place in a huff.

Meanwhile, Revathi is determined to spend her life with Shiva and calls him and Shiva — who is on night duty at the police station — decides to go to meet his girl.

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As he and another senior policeman head out, their vehicle is hit by a speeding car with two occupants.

Kriti Shetty and Naga Chaitanya in Custody

Kriti Shetty and Naga Chaitanya in ‘Custody’. (Twitter)

One is a wanted criminal called Raasu (Arvind Swami) and the other is a CBI official (Sampath Raj) who has taken Raasu into custody.

The CBI official is about to present him as a witness in an important criminal case in Bangalore where the main accused is the Chief Minister (Priya Mani).

Without realising the gravity of the situation, Shiva arrests both men and lodges them in the station.

However, it is not long before both officials and goondas descend on the station to kill the CBI officer and release Raasu.

Shiva realises that it is the CBI officer who is on the side of the law and decides to stand by him. He disregards orders from his higher-ups and chooses to help the CBI officer.

How he helps him produce the suspect in court and gets him to testify is what the story of Custody is all about.

Venkat Prabhu’s mark missing

still from venkat prabhu custody movie

A still from Venkat Prabhu’s ‘Custody’. (Twitter)

To be fair, Custody is highly predictable and as a result, comes across as being boring and mundane.

Venkat Prabhu, who usually looks to tell stories in his funny way, seems to have departed from his usual style and has made this film.

He seems to have kept in mind the fans and image of Naga Chaitanya. Sadly, this works against the film.

Custody lacks the usual irreverent treatment of characters seen in Venkat Prabhu’s films. Also, the dialogues lack the punch they usually have.

It is not that the movie is completely devoid of humour or punch lines. Venkat Prabhu’s touch can be seen and enjoyed, but only occasionally.

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Arvind Swami steals the show

More importantly, the director’s touch is not seen in the characterisation of Naga Chaitanya or Krithi Shetty. Nevertheless, it can be felt in Arvind Swami’s characterisation.

custody film poster

A poster of ‘Custody’ movie. (Twitter)

Arvind Swami, who plays Raasu, steals the limelight with his deadly one-liners. His timely retorts and his effortless acting are the only saving grace of Custody.

Naga Chaitanya is at sea in Custody. He doesn’t look tough enough to be considered a cop and soft enough to be considered a boy. He struggles to convey the intensity of a situation and often overcompensates.

Krithi Shetty looks pretty and does a reasonable job. While she fails to score in the initial comedy sequences, the actress scores handsomely in the sequences with Arvind Swami.

Priya Mani, who plays the Chief Minister, comes up with a very commendable performance. Dignified at first and vicious later on, Priya Mani handles all aspects of her character with considerable ease.

Sampath as the CBI officer and Sarath Kumar as police officer Natraj also play their parts to perfection.

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Final take

To sum it up, Custody is a commercial entertainer that fails to live up to expectations.

(Views expressed are personal.)