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Rajavukku Check Movie Review: The first time we see Raja Senthoor Pandian, he is lying sprawled in his bed. His phone rings, but rather than pick it up, he picks up a liquor bottle. We have had cops who down idlis with beer in Tamil cinema, but what still makes this scene a surprise is that Raja is played by Cheran, who is the last actor you expect in the role of an alcoholic cop. This casting is both a plus and a minus. While Cheran makes us empathise with his character’s misfortune as a father, it is difficult to take him as a cop. And to top up this alcoholism, Raja also suffers from Kleine–Levin syndrome or Sleeping Beauty Syndrome, which makes him sleep for long periods — even weeks!
This unstable condition of his is what has led to his wife seeking divorce from him, and living separately with their teenaged daughter Krithika (Nandana Verma). But when Krithika, who is about to go abroad to pursue her higher studies, comes to live with him for 10 days, Raja tries to make them memorable, but four criminals (a passable Irfan plays the leader of this gang) who he had put behind bars a couple of years ago are out to exact revenge by using his daughter as a pawn, and turning his dream into a nightmare.
In terms of plot, Rajavukku Check reminds you of Lens, another fairly recent new-age thriller that also had a protagonist who had to do the antagonist’s bidding while being monitored and confined in his own house. But this new-age concept is let down by the banal treatment. Sai Rajkumar’s writing is clumsy, turning the story into an over-the-top melodramatic one filled with dialogues that are overkill, while his filmmaking is neither gritty nor sleek. The thrills that we feel come from the horrible situation in the story — a hapless father facing the prospect of watching his daughter being gang raped with no option to help her or even look away — and not from the filmmaking. It also helps that this storyline is an echo of the Pollachi sexual abuse scandal, where rich young men preyed on helpless girls.
Yes, there are clever ideas (like the use of the Sleeping Beauty Syndrome in the latter half), but they remain just that and never come together satisfyingly as an emotionally impacting narrative. Even the attempts at showing us the bond between the father and daughter feels juvenile. As for the conflict between Raja and his wife (Sarayu Mohan), it remains underdeveloped, and doesn’t treat the latter with dignity.
But even if we look past these issues, the hollow moral core of the film is disturbing. On one hand, it wants us to feel tragic for the young girl who is about to be raped, but on the other, it uses to feel relieved when another female character (played by Srushti Dange) is gang raped! For now, the film remains a half-decent one that fails to live up to the potential of its plot.