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ATM Not Working Review

'ATM Not Working' is touted to be India's first movie on Demonetization.  Directed by P Sunil Kumar Reddy, the film hits the screens today.  Here is our review:

Story:

Three unemployed youngsters, who just have no skill to land a good job, join hands with a bumbling counterfeit currency manufacturer to strike gold overnight.  They loan Rs. 2 lacs from a ruthless lender, print Rs. 3 Cr worth of currency in Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 denomination notes, but on that fateful night of Nov 8, the Prime Minister announces that high-value notes are no longer valid legal tender.

Having staked their all on printing the fake currency, the youngsters now stare at a fearsome future.

But contrary to what they forebode, their life turns for good because love blossoms in an ATM queue, and over blood donation!  Even the marriage of one of the pairs is driven by RBI's DeMo rules which kept changing on a daily basis!

Frankly put, this film presents an unstructured hodgepodge with no story of its own.  Thus, don't expect a conflict point, much less a climax...

Analysis:

Made on a shoestring budget, 'ANW' relies on comedy.  And the same is inspired from those many WhatsApp jokes that did the rounds following the announcement of DeMo.

Sample this: a guy wants to know the route to State Bank of India and seeks info from a stranger standing in a queue.  The stranger says it's 2 kms away.  Rest of it is a predictable WhatsApp forward.  Not that all the comedy is unoriginal.  A thief deciding to voluntarily disclose his stolen stuff so that the cops let him off under Voluntary Disclosure Scheme is rib-tickling.  Wonder why such creative tweaking was not attempted throughout the movie.

Almost everything that was read in the papers, that the government claimed as the benefits of DeMo, that the media slammed are the ill-effects, find their way through a disjointed screenplay or dialogue.  Thus, an ISI rogue sitting in Pakistan loses his balance because all the counterfeit currency Rawalpindi had been printing is now trash.  Thus, he is frustrated that Kashmir can't be orchestrated to be on the boil because old notes are not acceptable for stone-pelting thugs.  Thus, an old man dies in a queue, as it happened in reality.

Because ATMs were not working, the three main characters are left hungry and parched!  But no other character, including their girl friends and parents at home have this problem.  What a screenplay!

Not connected to any of the main characters is a politician who appreciates Demonetization in public, but secretly cries that his Rs. 100 Cr worth of black currency is no more valid.  He confuses CBI official for a CBI investigator and we are expected to laugh!  In any case, which officer calls RBI Central Bank of India?

And Narendra Modi almost has a song!  He makes an appearance, complete with his voice, thrice in a song, and at two more places in the rest of the film.  A song plumping for cashless transactions makes the PM's presence all the more lyrical.

Yes, there is parody, without which a Telugu film is nowadays a blasphemy.  A hotel owner revels in parodying Balakrishna's 'GPSK' dialogues.  The film was apparently aimed for a release before Sankranthi.  It got late and so, many of the references don't have a ring.

Nothing home to be written about the performances, and the technical departments were expected to be sub-par, given the budget.

Verdict:

'ATM Not Working' has no story.  Its identity lies in drawing from news reports, governments' claims, WhatsApp messages.  A low-brow, escapist fare with hardly sensible screenplay.

Rating : 2.0 / 5.0