We open on a daring morning heist. Two masked men, Diwakar (Kamal Haasan) and Mani (Yugi Sethu), steal a bag of drugs from two mules who work for local bigwig named Vital (Prakash Raaj) at Shamshabad. After the daring heist, we follow Diwakar back to work. Only then do we realize, these guys are actual dirty cops. Unfortunately, one of them gets recognized during the hurly burly. This results in his neglected son’s abduction. The boy is held for ransom until Diwakar returns the drugs. Despite objections, he brings the drugs to the Insomnia club, and stashes the bag. He never notices a female cop Mallika (Trisha Krishnan) on the tail, she swipes the drugs and hides it elsewhere in the club. Now all the pieces are in one place – Diwakar needs to give Vital the drugs bag – If he doesn’t have or can’t find the drugs and his son is dead. And while he clambers for a solution, he’s also got to content with the NCB and goons closing inn.
After Viswaroopam, Kamal Haasan plays a role of a cop yet again in Cheekati Raajyam. He essays the role of an outré cop in Narcotics Control Bureau, Diwakar. He shines in the role that seems to have written for him. He is excelled with his histrionics and evokes laughter at a number of places. Kishore gives a restrained performances and does the decent justice to his role. Trisha Krishnan is natural and deserves distinction marks for the good show. Unlike the original, Prakash Raaj and Sampath lack the menacing attitude of mobsters. Child actor Aman acts well. Cameo by Madhu Shalini, doesn’t get much scope.
Films like Cheekati Raajyam primarily exist because Telugu speaking states don’t want to watch serviceable and engaging films in foreign languages. As a result sometimes, when such a film is released and does really well in the film circuits, a countdown starts practically to the inevitable freemake/remake, often times its ludicrously similar to the original to boot because “hey who the heck would have seen the original here, Right?.” Then let’s not to forget they’re always bad freemakes/remakes, after all they are often ripping straight from the great movies, but it does mean that the remakes/freemakes always fail to justify their own existence. Some of those films however decide to alter the source material in certain ways to add local flavor to the film. Sometimes that involves in altering the plot points and twists in an attempt to outdo the original. Usually now it has a reason for existing but it’s kinda lost what made the source material exciting in the first place.
Cheekati Raajyam, an official remake of French thriller “Nuit Blanche” (2011). It boasts as Die Hard meets 24 by the way of Taken, which makes every action movie goer more than a bit excited about this remake. It isn’t too much like anyone of those films, yet it borrows aspects from each of those films without looking much like a copycat film, which is quite good actually. But it leaves well enough space and points that made “Nuit Blanche” an engaging fun action film for action lovers. The final twists and turns come up rather too early in this script, which make the movie look a bit longer than actually required. Moreover, climax looked a bit dragged, which is not at all a good sign for the commercial prospect of the film. The abrupt changes in the characters sometime looks like overdone when we see comic angles for antagonists and dragging things for comic-emotional sequences. For some unknown reasons debutant director Rajesh M Selva adapted the original exploited theme police-drugs-kidnap in Cheekati Raajyam which was quite unique for debutant director. May be he was too confident of the unexpected twists and turns in the script to get him some favorable results. But unfortunately, all those shocks about the characterizations come too early in the narration and therefore fail to work in a big way.
Other Technicalities, The background score by Ghibran is completely out of the world. The way he utilized the “The Dumbs Stage” for the EDM, Electronic, Fusion remix for the club sequence deserve an applause. The Cinematography in this song less movie, needs a special mention here particularly for the action sequences in the club Insomnia. Art Director Prem Nivas did quite a fabulous job with the set of Insomnia of Club. The interiors and lavish backgrounds are nicely designed by the Art man. One gets a feeling that better editing could have done things more engaging in the second half. Production values of Raj Kamal International banner are fine.
It’s an Olympian feat to remake an International hit film to local standard and at the same time make their fans happy. However, debutant director while trying to do so, failed to grab the soul of the film completely from the original. The film leaves you with a mixed kind of impact in the end and would appeal to only a limited section of audience. All in all, Cheekati Rajyam is a remake of Nuit Blanche but lacks the finesse and gloss of Frederic Jardin’s worth watching action thriller.