An ILU ILU to love, life and hope, first timer Sunaina Bhatnagar's (assisted Imtiaz Ali in ROCKSTAR, LOVE AAJ KAL) DEAR MAYA welcomes the remarkably beautiful and photogenic face of the 90's Manisha Koirala back in the business with a heartfelt, charming and endearing performance.
DEAR MAYA MOVIE STILLS
Writer director Sunaina Bhatnagar's peep into relationships and loneliness - DEAR MAYA is a story of two high school BFF Ana (Madiha Imam) and Ira (Shreya Singh Chaudhary) in Shimla. Both Ana and Ira who believe in the world of Mills and Boons are mysteriously attracted towards a middle aged, dark circled reclusive neighbor Maya (Manisha Koirala) a victim of a tragic childhood that has made her go silent.
With two dogs, cages filled with birds and a maid to take care of her mansion, Maya is locked in her misery and loneliness. Confined to her mansion, the lady is seen living her life by making dolls and suspiciously glaring at people with her rounded eyes looking/asking for something.
Sunaina Bhatnagar's initial approach is a mix of fairy tale novels with a sprinkle of European/French feel good fantasy that quickly takes the familiar Bollywood route and we see Ira and Ana cooking up a mischievous, sweet and completely 'filmi'
idea to bring romance or say 'Shah Rukh Khan' in Maya's life.
The more mischievous Ira convinces Ana who takes this task seriously and with the help of internet becomes a fairly decent writer of love letters. Ana starts writing letters to Maya by the name of an imaginary lover - Ved. Things take an unexpected turn when Maya start believing in the existence of Ved and decides to meet him. Hearing the news, Ana who has developed a secret bond with Maya is guilt stricken but she fails to gather the courage to tell her the truth. Maya sells all her belongings and embarks on a journey to find love.
The incident in an interesting cinematic contrast separates Maya from her isolation and the friendship between Ana and Ira takes a heavy toll as Ana is sent to a boarding school as a punishment for destroying Maya's isolation.
In an interesting turn around that gives a toast to love, life and hope Ana, Ira and Maya meet after six years. But things have changed and 'surprise' is in store for all.
Sunaina weaves the tale with heart and the human drama is toppled with some relishing, enriching and haunting moments like the indulgence of Maya in a desi
food joint in Delhi, When Maya releases the birds from their cage just before leaving Shimla are precious. Sunaina in her debut is able to establish the conflict between Ana and Ira in this drama which also serves as a tug-of-war between hope, love, hate, rejection and separation.
But the movie also has some glaring and ugly flaws in this erstwhile beautiful and feel good piece of cinema.
The image of Maya with those two dogs by her side is ugly, cringe worthy and unnecessary. The subplots of Ana and Ira are not well established, seems forced. The writer director has missed a good opportunity over here to make a deeper and better film on relationships with contrasting layers depicting the old school and modern romance that could have added fine nuances to this film. Sunaina's narration is easy and at times appears a bit lazy.
However, the movie belongs to Manisha Koirala who owns Maya with her grace, gaze, poise and that infectious smile that made her one of the most photogenic actress of the 90's. Manisha who has shown courage in real life by fighting with cancer, gives a charming and endearing performance that is worthy of her comeback claim.
Shreya Singh Choudhary and Madiha Imam as Ira and Ana provide the youthful, breeziness and are effortless in their act. However Madiha gets more footage and she leaves her mark. And last but not the least, director Rakeysh Mehra in a cameo is just wonderful.
Film's production values are first rate; technicalities are fine where Sayak Bhattacharya's cinematography holds your eye and attention. Aarti Bajaj's editing is smooth. Anupam Roy's music is noticeable with hummable numbers like 'Saat Rangon Se' by Rekha Bhardwaj. Sune Saaye and Kehne Ko also sounds good.
Filled by endearing moments and charming performance, DEAR MAYA is a decent coffee time with your valentine. If you are looking for a smooth relaxed tale of love, life and hope DEAR MAYA is your dope.
Movie Cast & Crew
Actor: Manisha Koirala, Madiha Imam and Shreya Chaudhary
Lyrics: Irshad Kamil
Director: Sunaina Bhatnagar
Music Director: Anupam Roy
- Release Date : 02 Jun 2017