Dear Maya....Meandering malady!

There is an interminable line-up of experimental films being made by aspiring new makers.

This happens because many people want to make a mark with their first film so that they can gate-crash the Who is Who of the film industry. That is not easy as innumerable small films are made, of which some find an outlet, some never do and, from among those which make it to the silver screen, just one turns out to be something good like Hindi Medium, last week?s release with Irrfan playing the lead.

If Hindi Medium worked, it was because it tackled a contemporary issue that wrecks the life of many a parent when it comes to the education of their child. And what makes it watchable is the way it has been scripted and executed in an entertaining way while also conveying the message. (This mention of another film while reviewing Dear Maya is inevitable because such a film also carries a message for other filmmakers; make a relevant film.)

Dear Maya is one such film which tries to be different but the idea is totally alien for the Hindi film viewer. It is loosely based on PS: I Love You and, probably, has some more sources of inspiration. It also attempts to bring to the fore a forgotten yesteryear actor, Manisha Koirala.

Manisha, playing Maya, is a victim of her uncle?s greedy tortures who wanted to take over her inheritance by hook or by crook. She lives in a palatial but dilapidated mansion in Shimla. She is a recluse at times seen peeping through her windows. For company, she has a maid and two ferocious dogs besides a sanctuary full of birds.

Two teenage school-going girls, played by Madeha Imam and Shreya Chaudhary, are always up to mischief, watch her in her window on their way back from school. Curious, Madeha learns of the past misfortunes of Manisha in which she is still wallowing.

Maheda and Shreya decide to play a prank on Manisha if only to bring her out of her sorrowful life. They send her a chain of love letters posing as one of her suitors who fell in love with her on first sight and was rejected by her evil uncle but who still loves and thinks of her.

Following this chain of love letters, Maya brings herself back to life. She opens up to the world. And, one fine day, she decides to sell all her possessions along with her palatial house to go search of the one who wrote those letters to her.

Madeha and Shreya realize that their prank has backfired and that shatters them besides destroying their friendship.

There was one woman wallowing in self-pity in Manisha, now we have three with Madeha and Shreya added to the list, all living the life of self-inflicted torture and, soon, it?s the viewer?s turn to join the club!

Manisha has willingly left Shimla for Delhi after announcing it to whole the town but, for convenience sake, the script dubs her as a missing person. And, Madeha and Shreya embark on her search. They carry the burden of some unnecessary side tracks which takes the film to an intolerable duration of 131 minutes.

The script and direction are weak. The one good thing about the film is its scenic location of Shimla though that also has limited exploitation. Manisha Koirala fails to get her manners right of a 20 year recluse closeted from the world, mentally destroyed. Shreya and Madeha are pleasing though the latter needs a few variations in her expressions.

Producers: Shobhna Yadav, Sandeep Leyzell.

Director: Sunaina Bhatnagar.

Cast: Manisha Koirala, Madeha Imam, Shreya Chaudhary, Irawati Hershe, Rohit Saraf, Reuben Israel, Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra.

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