In keeping with the latest trend of horror films and women-centric films, here is one that has blended them both into a cocktail which has ended up remarkably well. Maya, directed by debutant director Ashwin Saravanan, stars Nayanthara, Nedunchaalai fame Aari and Robo Shankar along with a teeny ensemble cast of actors.
Maya is the story of how a struggling single mother, played by Nayanthara, pushes through life to make ends meet and tries to establish an acting career. A parallel story line shows the life of an artist who is troubled by recent events which shake his disbelief of the supernatural. At one point Nayanthara’s financial owes forces her to get into a challenge where she has to successfully sit through a horror flick without anyone in the theatre, to get a huge remuneration. How both the plots intertwine and reasons for the paranormal activities forms the crux of the story.
Director Ashwin has created a vast storyline which helps in the flow of scenes effortlessly. Instead of spoon-feeding facts of the plot to the viewers, he has intentionally left clues to let us ponder about unanswered questions, which shows his respect to the intelligence of an average spectator. Behind the screen, cinematographer Sathyan Sooriyan and Ron Ethan Yohan’s background music are the pillars that balance this film exquisitely. With this film, Nayanthara has bagged one of her most challenging roles in her career. The script demands her role to emote various emotions in a subtle manner and her performance is impeccable. Others too have done their roles flawlessly. Robo Shankar’s performance could’ve had an extended screen time as the film was maintaining its dark tone a bit too long. The second half could’ve been crisper and climax could’ve been even less draggy. Maya is not one of those horror films that provide cheap jump scares and camera angles to startle but an exceptionally written script that has been executed well enough to keep audience at the edge of their seats till the end.