Slickly crafted and engagingly narrated, debutant Ashwin Saravanan’s Maya is built around some eerie happenings around a mental asylum and a patient Maya who had died under mysterious circumstances. The events that took place 24 years ago affects the life of a group of people in the present.
A pure horror flick, the film is devoid of any comedy elements. The director has managed to maintain suspense from the beginning to the end. A film within a film, at times, the difference is blurred enough to confuse a layman, though the director pieces them together at the end.
Nayanthara is a revelation as she plays Apsara, who is estranged from her husband, and is the mother of a one-year-old baby girl. Acting in commercials and staying with her close friend Swathi (Lakshmipriya ably fitting in), it’s not an easy life for Apsara. The actor has played down her glamour quotient. And she takes you by surprise with her convincing portrayal in both the emotional moments and later, where she has to depict fear and horror.
Aari as an illustrator for a magazine, in which the ghost’s story is serialised, plays his character with efficiency. He appears in a different avatar later. The rest of the actors are well cast and fit in suitably. There is RK. a film director (Gopi), who is unable to sell his ghost-film Irul, and resorts to a marketing tactic. He promises to pay a handsome amount to anyone who can see the film alone at a theater. And Apsara in need of the money accepts the challenge.
What happens forms the rest of the story. There are the usual elements that one will associate with a supernatural-flick — startling sounds and mysterious images passing by, lights suddenly switching off and on. But the narrative style goes beyond this, offering a more horrifying scenario. Scenes of the mysterious deaths of those, who are curious about Maya’s story, taking a trip to the forest where once the asylum stood, is an edge-of-the-seat experience.
Some of the key strengths of the film are gripping background score and cinematography. The emotional quotient is also high with the mother-daughter sentiment strongly packed in. But towards the end, one feels disconnected with the scenes, as the pace slackens; it could have been trimmed here. After Demonte Colony, Maya offers unadulterated horror.