Aditya, an orphan, grows to be a small-time con-man making a living out of many white-collar crimes. He’s head over heels in love with Yatra, a Hyderabad girl who gradually reciprocates his feelings. Aditya receives the shock of his life when he’s falsely accused of helping a terrorist organise a bomb blast in the city.
Aditya’s given a death sentence and there seems to be no light in the tunnel until a young advocate Manasa takes up his case. In his time behind the bars, Aditya forges a friendship with an elderly man Srimannarayana, who nurtures him to be a competitive chess player. Between the judiciary and the sport, what will help Aditya prove his innocence?
A week after Allari Naresh’s Naandhi, another crime drama, Check, revolving around a protagonist falsely implicated in a case, hits theatres. The similarities between both films, more or less, end there. While Naandhi trusts the judiciary to prove the innocence of its protagonist, Check makes use of its protagonist’s sportive talents and intelligence to take the story forward.
Like most films of the director Chandrasekhar Yeleti, Check boasts of a unique character-driven plot, weaved in with intelligence and is devoid of cinematic clichés. Check may not have the rootedness and the emotional connect of the filmmaker’s earlier works, although it remains riveting for the major part. It is laced with a delicate sense of humour and wit while the foundation for the story is quite arresting in the first hour.
The viewer is introduced to a bunch of colourful characters in the prison backdrop. The action sequences are backed by good intensity and the director makes a concerted effort to portray Aditya’s growing love for chess. Despite the drab flashback, the screenplay is gripping and doesn’t compromise on commercial appeal. The so-called interval bang is executed well and it looks like half the battle has been won.
In the later part of the story, the bid to prove Aditya’s expertise in chess is outlandish – to the extent that he could outplay Vishwanathan Anand and even aims to compete at the Commonwealth Games. The story gradually loses its bite, lacking any major twists and turns and there’s nothing that the invincible protagonist can’t do. Despite the protagonist’s innocence, the director isn’t successful in creating an element of sympathy for the character.
The writing lacks flourish, the depth is amiss and the climax is just too abrupt. For all the intelligence that Aditya had, the ending is quite simplistic. Beyond the series of mind games, Check is slightly clueless in giving a proper direction to the story. Despite being engaging, the film is all mind and no soul – so near and yet so far.
The performances in the film are top-class and there are no two things about it. Nithiin surrenders to the story, doesn’t try to do anything flamboyant and sticks to the trajectory of the character with immense conviction. Rakul Preet is too much of a fashionista to look convincing as a lawyer, though she pulls in a major surprise in terms of her performance. It’s a relief that a director saw her as a performer beyond her moves and curves.
Sai Chand’s excellent run in his second innings continues with Check, in a meaty role of a prison-mate, who anchors the transformation of the protagonist. Priya Prakash Varrier is convincing in a mysterious part that’s fit to be labelled an extended special appearance. Murali Sharma is top-notch in a limited yet crucial role though Sampath Raj hams like there’s no tomorrow. The likes of Karthik Rathnam, Sathya, Harshavardhan, Rohit Pathak shine in their brief appearances.
Music and other appearances:
Kalyani Malik is in fine form as a composer, more particularly as the background scorer, it’s easily his career-best – it’s hard to discuss the impact of the opportune moments in the film without mentioning his contribution. Cinematographer Rahul Srivastav has a limited bunch of backdrops to play with, though he does a fine job in mounting the story realistically. The dialogues get a little too philosophical, there’s an overdose of the Sanskrit verses and Telugu proverbs. Though they have the right intent, more effort ought to have been put to give them more situational relevance.
- Good premise
- Solid performances
- Terrific contributions from the technical team
- Lack of emotional connect
- An abrupt climax
- Unconvincing characterisation of the male lead
(Review by Srivathsan Nadadhur)