Keedam review: A mirror on cybersecurity and its ethical concerns

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Rajisha Vijayan in Keedam. Photo: @Rajisha Vijayan/Facebook

Cybersecurity and the ethical concerns it raises form the crux of the movie Keedam, directed by Rahul Riji Nair. It revolves around the life and profession of Radhika Balan, a cybersecurity expert.
Now, the smart young woman is helming a cybersecurity startup and according to her own admission she has also snooped on others, starting with none other than her lawyer dad. But that was all before she set up her startup, after which she refused to bite the bait of money for snooping due to her ethical concerns.
This is made evident to the viewers initially when a filthy rich prospective client throws up an irresistible offer -- Rs 25 lakh to snoop on his estranged wife to get a solid footing in a protracted divorce case. The ethical hacker in Radhika puts her foot down to decline the tantalising offer, much to the dismay of her business partner Vijay. Radhika's conviction is evident in these scenes and she is able to convince Vijay also about the need to resist such offers.

Fair enough, but by a quirk of fate the young woman's telephone number lands up with some unscrupulous elements in the city. They then breach the privacy of the cybersecurity expert herself and make life difficult for her, forcing her to lodge a police complaint despite being persuaded against that by her doting father and police officer friend.
Their concern basically stems from the fact that these are notorious criminals who have nothing to lose and hence it is akin to courting trouble. Again she puts her foot down and wants to make life miserable to these criminals, who are also carriers of a smuggling racket. As the police complaint does not yield the desired result and her tormentors start to trouble Radhika and her father again, she is forced to give up her ethical values to make life difficult for them.

Rajisha Vijayan, Sreenivasan and Vijay Babu are the key players in this good vs bad storyline, but larger concerns about the state itself becoming a snooping agent and the ethical dilemma of encroaching into the privacy of suspects or criminal elements for a "larger good" are glossed over in Keedam, which means the pest.

The plot of Keedam offers immense possibilities for an in-depth script, but the filmmakers failed to capitalise on this opportunity. The storyline's immediate connect to the times that we live in could have been exploited to the hilt with a solid script and crisp storytelling, but unfortunately, that did not happen.

Nevertheless, Keedam is a mirror on the invasion of privacy and the concerns arising from that portrayed through the prism of cybersecurity, though we wish it could pan a wider canvas.

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