Cast: Manisha Koirala, Madiha Imam, Shreya Chaudhary

Director: Sunaina Bhatnagar

Music: Anupam Roy

Cinematography: Sayak Bhattacharya

Even in the context of metro cinema, it is not as often as needed that our works delve with the poignancy of women-alone, women lost and on the road of self discovery. Powerful women are often product of circumstances. They defy norms, get written off for flimsy reasons, strengthen themselves from within to bounce back. They then are women of substance. The protagonist could not have been better chosen. The character is well chartered but hopelessly fleshed and that proves the undoing of Dear Maya.

Cinema is often in this part of the world non-cerebral and the presence of a Shabana or Tabu often signals the opposite paradigm. Nice to see an addition to the gallery-Manisha Koirala. Also interesting is the fact that a mainstream actor is willing to change gears albeit late. Atleast she is not caught in the ‘yuga-dharma’ of her earlier avatar. Dear Maya is dear because Maya is dear. The film is worth the while because it makes bold to showcase woman outside the Yash Chopra, Karan Johar or Bhatt modules.

Maya (Manisha Koirala) is a loner who lives in a palatial bungalow in Shimla. She invites the curiosity of two adolescent girls Anna (Madiha Imam) and Ira (Shreya Choudhary). she falls a victim to a prank when the girls decide to post anonymous romantic letters. The game is on till Ira signs off one such letter with a real address from them. Maya decides to cut the umbilical cord with her past and Shimla and simply disappears from the scene. The friends though initially fun consumed take a chalk cheese approach to the fast-changed circumstance. The enormity of the prank hits Anna. 6 years down the line she is still fighting hard to cleanse her conscience and find Maya. Maya, the recluse, is now Maya, the allusive. Having set out to chase the mirage where does Maya go? How do the conspirators of the prank who have fallen apart handle the challenges? Do they make peace with circumstances? Do they make peace with each other? Sunaina Bhatnagar scripts the answers to the above. Does well but not well enough. Caught in an inexplicable no man’s land we are left with the doubt as to whether Maya is central to the narrative, the bonafides prank of the guilty pranksters. Lost somewhere in this ‘trichotomy’ is the script trying hard to live up to being Dear Maya.