Somewhere in the film, Aditya (Nithiin in the role of a terror-convict) is seen wearing a T-shirt on which are written these words: ‘League of Legends’. This particular phrase says a lot about the movie. Director Chandrasekhar Yeleti, who played a crucial role in mainstreaming experimentation in the 2000s with his breakout debut film Aithe, believes that Check is about a legend who can send shivers down the spine of Viswanathan Anand with his insuperable chess-playing skills. Just to make sure that he means it, Yeleti, literally, conceptualises a scene involving Aditya and Anand himself.
The legendary chess player must thank his stars that Check doesn’t show him sweating in the presence of its male protagonist. Aditya faces the gallows for a crime he didn’t commit. He got duped by someone he trusted and ended up being branded a traitor. Srimannarayna (Sai Chand), a fellow prisoner, discovers the chess genius in him, grooms him and motivates him to play for the country. Before you know, Aditya becomes a self-taught expert who goes on to become a public figure and a grandmaster in waiting.
Because this is a Telugu film, he faces small obstacles in the form of a volatile cop (Sampath Raj) and an evil prisoner. Check should have worked at least as a quasi-sports film, if not as a thriller. The metamorphosis of Aditya is miraculous and the chess scenes are extremely sketchy. Yeleti is not an Atlee and chess is not a game like football, which requires a physical activity. So he thankfully doesn’t include body-shaming lines (remember Bondamma in Whistle?).
But he sort of overcompensates for the lack of “entertainment” by including fighting scenes in the prison. Usually, in our films, cops take their sweet time to break into an action scene. In Check, they take forever to stop a fight even though the dishoom-dishuoom is happening in the jail -- right under their nose!
Nithiin doesn’t look the part. He clearly has access to face packs, not just a chessboard, in the jail. He, however, looks convincing in some of the serious scenes. Priya Prakash Varrier, the national ‘wink’ sensation, has a short-lived character and she is reduced to a caricature in her limited screen time. Rakul Preet Singh, who takes up Aditya’s case reluctantly, looks overly emotional at times.
Her emotional involvement is as unconvincing as that of Sai Chand’s. Simran Choudhary makes her presence felt and it’s not because of her acting but because she games a polygraph test, just as Check messes up with chess. Kalyani Malik’s background music is inconsistent. Ravi Varma’s action choreography doesn’t make a mark. So much can be said about the laughable climax, but let’s make do with a line. Chandrasekhar Yeleti hangs logic to death here. Enough said.
Cast: Nithiin, Priya Prakash Varrier, Rakul Preet Singh
Director: Chandrasekhar Yeleti