Synopsis: Three people are trapped inside an ATM on the outskirts of the city with a stranger waiting outside to attack them. With no means to seek help, can they get out alive?
Review: Maiem begins with an introduction to the various characters. Each one has their own troubles. Kumaran is in love with Hasini, but her rich father sends goons after him, forcing the lovers to come to a decision to elope and get married. Model Divya is harassed by an unknown stalker who frequently calls her up. Kumaran, his friend and Divya end up at the same ATM in a remote place to withdraw cash one night, but when they try to step out, they see a fierce stranger standing with a crowbar and threatening to hit them with it. The stranger kills the security guard but never nears them, so they decide to stay inside the ATM. Their only companion is Shankar, the other security guard at the ATM, who is locked inside his room and can only talk to them from the other side of the wall. They cannot communicate with the outer world because all their phones are not in working condition. Can they get out of the place alive?
This is an interesting set-up, something similar to what we see in Hollywood thrillers (a fact that even one of the characters acknowledges). Unfortunately, Maiem, which has been publicized as a film made by students still in college, stays true to the claim of the makers. It is terribly juvenile, with an interesting (on paper, that is) one-line plot that is stretched far enough to make even mozzarella blush, and at nearly two hours, it is a supreme test of patience. At least the bland acting and the patchy direction could be brushed aside under the made-by-20-somethings loophole, but what cannot be ignored is the absurd writing (by AP Shreethar). Once the three characters find themselves trapped, we expect them to react in a sensible way after the initial panic and try to find a way to escape. Instead, what we are forced to endure is irritating comedy by Robo Shankar, who gives us awful PJs, terrible mimicry and even a totally out-of-place song! No character seems to possess common sense and behave in the most absurd manner (they even sleep inside the ATM while their killer stands watch!) and after a point, the scenes become redundant. There is also a twist ending, but the real twist in this tale happens much earlier — when we realise that more than the characters, it is us, the audience, who are trapped inside (the theatre) with no chance of escape.