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Maaya: Disorder Or Gift?

Posted on the 01 August 2014 by Haricharanpudipeddi @pudiharicharan

Movie: Maaya

Director: Neelakanta

Cast: Harshvardhan Rane, Sushma Raj, Avantika Mishra, Nandini Rai

Rating: **

Maaya is an obsessive idea that overestimates its capability to be a concrete plot. Coming from the school of the national-award-winning maker Neelakanta, the film fantasises about a psychological disorder, Extra Sensory Perception, optimistically a gift, the sixth sense,  that is supposedly an ability of the lead actress to foresee danger, mostly death. The reliance on this western template in a regional context doesn’t exactly fit the bill. Neither does it please the sect that favours reality over cinematic touches nor the one to buy escapism for a couple of hours. It is aimed at being a cocktail, trying to make the arena feel simplistic and stay logical on the same front, which obviously isn’t the easiest of the amalgams to be accomplished.

The tale moves ahead through the eyes of Meghana, a journalist cum social activist. She’s a normal person at heart but for the frequent illusions on the perils that surround her life. The film commences on a  reasonably neat platform that also glimpses past the existence of the fashion designer Siddharth Verma. Their romance doesn’t have much spark on-screen. The two fall for the words, the touches and flirting gestures. The film unravels more like a serial than an aspirant psychological thriller here. It’s sensible but the  inconsistent narrative grip dismisses your attention.

The work, for all its efforts to focus on the disorder has the psychiatrist behaving like a possessive, dramatic detective, exaggerating her patient’s situation and the steps she is ought to take. The redundancy of such episodes and trauma is Neelakanta’s costliest mistake besides the integration of songs to stretch it into a two hour exercise. The climactic twist is believable but the film fails to give the extravagantly marketed disorder any possible direction by the end of it.

But the director has often dealt with disturbed characters from a Show to a Missamma to a Nandanavanam 120 km now, the latter being a film that largely went unnoticed. So, for those who are aware of his patterns, the connection among the dots are recognisable. Avanthika gets the majority of the screen-space that almost extracts a meaningful act undone by her dubbed voice. Maaya’s promise is as mysterious and diffused as its title.

 Review by Srivathsan N. First published in Cinegoer.net

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