ZEE5’s ‘ATM’: Thorough investigation track!

Thrillers that acquire heft in the course of an investigative track are loved by the audience. What if we told you ‘ATM’, the latest offering from ZEE5 Telugu, is one such web series? Running into eight episodes, this one has its story written by star Tollywood filmmaker Harish Shankar. As its creator, he tells a story made on a big canvas by Dil Raju Productions.

Jagan, Karthik, Abhay and Harsha (played by VJ Sunny, Krishna, Raviraj and Roiel Shree) run helter-skelter when a local don loses diamonds worth Rs 10 crore because of them. They realize that they have to undo the biggest blunder of their life. Else, they will be dead. It falls on them to mop up a huge chunk of money and the worst part is that they have got just ten days for the job. In fact, that’s not the worst part. They must pull off a big-ticket crime (read an ATM van heist) to save their skin and that’s the worst fate that has befallen them.

Writer-director C Chandra Mohan takes his sweet time to build the world of Jagan and Co. Jagan’s childhood is troubled by a lack of proper education. When he takes to feeding birds as a hobby, we assume that it has no detail. When a migratory bird known for its high-flying speed is shown, we still fail to see the point. But when the thread makes a comeback in one of the last episodes, we appreciate the detailing.

Prudhvi as a power-hungry politician and his brazen mistress are fun to watch. There is some character-based comedy involving Subbaraju, whose cop character occupies primacy right from the fourth episode. He is an encounter specialist who doesn’t mind departmental inquiry as long as he can crack the ATM heist case.

The music by Prashanth R Vihari is the best aspect among the technical departments. Monic Kumar G’s cinematography is good.

The series should have avoided some familiar tropes. Divi Vadthya of Bigg Boss fame and Harshini are in love with two of the protagonists. Their presence is not justified here; there is no entertainment value as well. Perhaps, when the second season arrives, we will know more about the men’s families and a mystery character who spooks the cops.