Search - Maya on DVD

Actors: Anant Nag, Mita Vasisht, Nitya Shetty, Nikhil Yadav, Veerendra Saxena
Director: Digvijay Singh
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2005     1hr 45min

For 12year old Maya,life is very simple in her village in rural India. From innocent pranks to small adventures in the nearby forest, she spends most of her time with her 11 year old cousin, Sanjay. However, their fraterna...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Anant Nag, Mita Vasisht, Nitya Shetty, Nikhil Yadav, Veerendra Saxena
Director: Digvijay Singh
Creators: Mark Lapwood, Digvijay Singh, Dileep Singh Rathore, Emmanuel Pappas, Raj Singh
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Family Life
Studio: Homevision
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 01/18/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 45min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Special Edition
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Hindi
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Child abuse in the name of religion
Wendy Schroeder | Englewood, Co United States | 07/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It's about a 13 year old girl who goes through ritualized rape that is part of a "prayer ceremony" that is part of a Hindu sect. Perhaps sect is the wrong word since I'm using Western term but I'm sure the Hindu religion is more fragmented than Christianity. And I'm sure some Hindus are dismayed by this barbaric practice.

It was obvious that the people who made this movie is trying to end this in India. It's well done and you don't see anything graphic, it's implied. During most of the movie the children are just being children. I recommend this to people to see the dark side of religion."
Naked Truths of India
Randy & Runa | Baton Rouge, LA | 02/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a wonderfully made and acted out movie, but I warn, it is also a very haunting film. It imprints itself into your mind and leaves you with a horrified, blank feeling once it's over. This movie is about 12 year old Maya who has her first periods and all of a sudden, the life she knew forever is snatched from her. She is forced through a religious ritual in which she gets gang raped by some priests and everybody, including the women around her, acts absolutely cool about it like nothing amiss is occuring.

It is very haunting that such child abuse is happening in India with social acceptance and approval of the parents, especially the women. Its hard to believe that a mother who had that happen to her would put her daughter through this, but this unfortunately is the case with several Indian women. The seemingly fun movie lures you into a sense of security throughout, and suddenly in the end its like a slap on the face when you see the dangling legs and hear the ear-piercing screams. It makes you wonder if everybody around was dead (except her brother). It leaves you feeling angry and hurt that the only person who felt bad for her, which was more than most did, her brother, was taken away from her and beaten up for throwing meat at the priest. It shows the irony of priesthood rather effectively by the way, when the priest curses at the boys and lets you know how 'saintly' they really are.

The movie leaves an indelible mark of itself on your mind and leaves you thinking of the girl long after the movie is over. In surroundings where nobody even accepted her pain, the poor girl was probably left to swallow it all down on her own and not speak a word of the pain. Probably, she even convinced her that her feelings of being wronged and hurt are wrong and unjustified and lost confidence in herself forever. The movie I dont feel is so much about the 'devadasi' practice as is shown, but really a universal problem of child abuse. Its made worse by the fact here that all of this is actually approved by the parents and society."
A good film that makes you think
S. Pernsley | Nashville, TN United States | 01/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"There are some things that have to be put to the light of day in order to destory it. This story about a young spirited girl who found that life can be very cruel and that even betrayal can come from those that are suppose to protect you always from the dark shadows. This little girl whose only hero was her cousin was forced into an outdated and outlawed tradition. CSI and Law and Order is more detailed in what bad things can happened to children. Every cultural has it's shame hidden among it's beauty. One of the reviews beg to keep this film hidden. I hope that they will reconsider and not hide away this ugly stain but to expose it so that young girls like "Maya" will not have to endure the enforced rape that is consented by parents as an "honorable" ritual. As an American, I didn't know about this ritual and actually searched for information on it. I understand better even though it sickens me that something can happen like this."
"Maya" shows the extreme evil that can occur in the search f
MK | Düsseldorf, Germany | 02/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Despite the accolades given this movie, the viewer needs to be aware that the penultimate occurrence is extremely shocking--this film needs to be seen, but the innocence ultimately lost may be the collective audience's as well as that of the main character. To rephrase: you will not be able to view this unscathed. One who finishes "Maya" may wish that they had retained the status of ignoramus regarding the subject matter presented here. Heed this warning, as this is definitely not a standard coming-of-age story.

Maya (Nitya Shetty) is a young girl who has lived with her well-to-do relatives since early childhood. She plays with her cousin Sanjay (Nikhil Yadav), investigates tales of monsters in the jungle, terrorizes local shopkeepers with tales of escaped livestock, and generally lives a life of childish abandon. Both youngsters are delightfully remiss in following the repeated remonstrations from Sanjay's increasingly-agitated father, prompting the family servant to time-and-again act as fall guy to their patron's wrath. Both children seem both oblivious and impervious to their elders' attempts to grant them their due comeuppance for all their dastardly pranks. However, it is not long until Maya's aunt discovers that the girl has started her first period. This marks the beginning of the end of the youngsters' carefree existence in the uncaring wake of fate's passage--the beckoning finger of religious tradition and communal good is pointed straight at Maya.

For many reasons, director Digvijay Singh's film is simply a masterwork. First, to a viewer unaware of where this movie is headed, there exists a state of progressive dread which is almost palpable. Observing the children playing their pranks, the servants shuffling quickly to fetch tea, and the near-comical aggravation of father only intensifies further the feeling the something terrible is developing among all this mediocrity. Indeed, as one is shown, this is exactly what is occurring. If you recall the creeping unpleasantness you felt while watching the original "The Shining," then you are close to taking my meaning. This movie is far more horrifying, as no ghosts or crazed lunatics exist here: only the terrifyingly real concept of mass-delusion. Next, you gain some idea of the residual feudal system still prevalent--even commonplace--in much of India by observation of the relationship between father and family manservant. Paltry wages, deplorable conditions, and expectation of invisibility from the servants of India created a replacement to the untouchable caste--as well as delicious irony--in the world's largest alleged democracy. Although the plight of the lower classes is illustrated, it is not necessarily clear that the filmmakers wanted to educate audiences regarding this issue, so discussion of this aspect will now cease.

Another spot of brilliance that is not really subtle, but is nevertheless perfect, is the symbol of the gecko representing innocence itself. The gecko is of base annoyance to the father while he rests--perhaps this represents his conscience's attempt to rouse his mind from religious stupor and save Maya from a terrible fate. Maya is repulsed by another one of the animals in the outhouse at night, causing her to urinate on the porch, the evidence of which is quickly discovered in the morning. This presence of menstrual blood mixed with urine moves the story forward to Maya's doom--could the outhouse gecko stand for as chance at escape that was lost? Did Maya run from her innocence (the gecko), and thus accelerate her promotion to adulthood (the discovery of menstrual blood)? What was the significance of another of the animals found as the family--sans Maya--drives back to their home? The car initially brakes before continuing on, as if the pest had been dealt with. Did the brother's innocence expire along with that of his adopted sister, or did this reptile represent the family's collective memory of how Maya used to be? Again, the imagery and analogy are notable not for their presence, but for their utilization at key turns in the film.

Finally, the above-mentioned specters of communal benefit and long-standing religious tradition are the dark stars of "Maya," as the girl is given up in the name of self-, priest-, and collective-purification. Above even this, however, lords what I believe to be this film's base message: that of paradox. The plight of the brother, despised by father, priest, and town after disrespecting clergy and attempting to save Maya, is paradoxical in that he is acting in a way that--at least in today's society--could be described as nothing short of saintly. The irony inherent within the paradox is that he is totally ignorant of his role as crusader against true evil: he perceives only that Maya is in trouble and that he wants his playmate back. Inversely, the townsfolk and priests are either condoning or committing despicable acts, but are totally unaware of how purely evil their actions are, and, in addition, are comfortably sure that such traditions can only result in good for all involved--completely unaware that their blind devotion has sullied one life, forever.

This movie consists of sparse dialogue, simple settings, and unfamiliar faces; yet, it conveys many and more powerful communications than a typical Hollywood "message movie," and with much less eye-rolling obviousness. The viewer may initially be inclined towards dismissing this film opening banality. However, it is precisely the mundane nature of the beginning which lulls the viewer's nature to somnolent expectation, making the indolent horror found at the film's conclusion all the more shocking. That this film's events echo customs practiced even in modern times underline the terror even more. One wonders if mankind can truly be expected to survive, if such actions as what Maya endured can be committed in the name of goodness--human capacity for blissful ignorance of what is truly wrong in the world causes a shiver to creep up the spine."