In a marvellous continuity of novel themes, Tamil cinema is now all set to present a daring robbery in an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM). Helmed by an engineering student, Aditya Baskaran, Maiem will hit theatres at the end of August, and has about 12 college-going boys and girls working on different aspects of the film. Baskaran has to his credit four short movies.
Written and produced, though, by the veteran AP Shreethar, Maiem is plotted racily, unfolding in the course of 24 hours -- mostly at night, and that adds to the thrill of it all.
Shreethar told this writer this morning that he had been following ATM crimes for a while now, and his story had been culled from 60 or 70 infamous incidents which had happened all over India in recent years.One remembers the helplessness of a woman in Bengaluru as she was virtually imprisoned inside an unmanned ATM by a criminal, who not only stole her money, but also beat her up. One also remembers the treacherous case of a young woman robbed inside an ATM on Chennai's East Coast Road by three men -- who did not end their sordid story there. They raped and murdered her!
These and many other cases will form the content of Maiem -- tracing the lives of six people as they grapple with insurmountable problems one fine day, with the centre of focus being an ATM.Shreethar recreated the ATM and a bank attached to it on the grounds of a mill near Chennai airport, and said that his film would hopefully help citizens to be aware of what could go wrong inside an ATM. He averred that one of the most important causes for this kind of transgression was the absence of security guards in ATMs. Sometimes, these men were so sozzled, especially during night shifts, that they were just not alive to what was happening inside their ATMs. (And the movie incidentally comes at a time when there is growing demand for prohibition in Tamil Nadu.)
Robo Shankar will essay a security guard in Maiem who gets locked inside a room adjacent to his ATM, and he stands in helpless despair as a misdemeanour takes place in all its notoriety. And the film gets into a high as he begins a conversation with the intruders across the wall.
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Maiem is part of a series of Tamil movies that is bold enough to tackle out-of-the-way topics -- like rooster fight, pigeon racing, leather puppetry, classroom ‘violence’, camera phobia, call-centre burn-out and so on.
Maiem seems to say that a tragedy can strike you and me as we are drawing cash from a machine, and actor-director Parthiepan cautions in a voiceover at the end of the film: Do not be lulled into hoping that there is a camera watching over you inside an ATM. It can merely record, but cannot help you fight a bad guy, who may also be armed.
Shreethar hoped that his upcoming work would help, at least to an extent, the common man to be on his guard when he steps into an ATM.