Maya (2002)

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A girl coming of age in India discovers the ugly realities of a woman's legal rights and social status in her village in this drama. Maya (Nitya Shetty) is a bright and enthusiastic 12-year-old girl who loves spending time with her cousin and best friend, Sanjay (Nikhil Yaday), and keeps her family -- mother Lakshmi (Mita Vasisht) and father Arun (Anant Nag) -- on their toes. When Maya gets her menstrual period for the first time, she's at once nervous about the changes in her body, and excited about how she's growing into womanhood. Maya has heard about a special prayer ceremony for girls who have begun to develop into adulthood, and feels both eager and honored when Mr. Nair (Virendra Saxenda), the "high priest" who supervises the ceremony, tells her the time for her service has come. However, to her horror Maya learns the true nature of the ceremony when she is held down on a stone slab and violated by Nair and three of his assistants; Arun rages against Nair and his compatriots, but feels powerless to stop them within boundaries of their community. Director Digvijay Singh claims that his film was based on a true story, and that such rituals are still performed on a regular basis in a small number of Indian communities.

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Critic Reviews for Maya

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (3)

The photography is gorgeous, though, and with Singh's precise, discreet direction, Maya has a devastating impact.

Nov 22, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Maya disturbs, yet it doesn't enlighten.

Apr 16, 2002 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Striving too hard to make his didactic point, the director arouses skepticism rather than empathy.

Apr 16, 2002 | Rating: 2/4

Contains such a pile driver gut-punch that it makes Ray's work look like wistful little poems.

Nov 22, 2002 | Rating: 3/4

Maya, subject matter aside, is wonderfully made.

Apr 16, 2002 | Rating: 3.5/5

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