THE VANCOUVER SUN. FRIDAY. SEPTEMPBER 28, 2001
Starring Nitya Shetty, Mita Vasisht and Shilpa Navalkar.
For the first hour, Digvijay Singh's MAYA feels like a warm bath on a hot day: a fully immersive experience that is decidedly pleasant and perfectly unexciting. Lulled into complete submission by the midway point, we are putty in Singh's able hands. Little do we know that he's about to squeeze the breath from our lungs by the final frame.
Told in the timeless, surreal, free-associating and sombre spirit of the finest coming-of-age movies, such as Fracois Truffaut's "400 Blow" and Todd Solondz's "Welcome the Dollhouse", first-time director Singh hits all the right buttons. He shows us the idyllic life of young Maya and her cousin Sanjay as they play jokes on the local shopkeeper and pound the pavement looking for icecream money. He shows us Maya's family and her loving uncle and aunt. It's all so perfect, and that means everything is about to implode - which it does when Maya undergoes a tragic, painful and horrific rite of passage that Singh insists is still practiced in parts of India. A rough voyage, but an important movie about sanctioned forms of child abuse.