Maya is about to kill herself – until she is interrupted by someone from her past. Helen has turned up at an old friend’s doorstep to seek comfort after a tragic incident. Maya alters her decision after learning about Helen’s harsher life. As Maya regains her hope, Helen loses hers. A thought-provoking short drama against misogyny.
When I first began writing this film, I was certain about one thing – my characters would be a modern-day equivalent of tragic heroines from ancient Greek theatre, namely – Medea, Antigone, Electra and many others. The social relevance of these great women and their powerful stories resonate through time and are most certainly significant even today. As we embark upon discovering the worlds they’ve lived in – dark and meek, to an extent where their populace took pride in power and more so in the abuse of power. We see a world that spoke highly of imbibing what was set as an already inherent misogynistic value system and the utmost diaphanously discriminatory laws that followed the highest patriarchal order. And thus, Maya was born.
Maya started off as an idea to portray the psychological chaos as a result of patriarchy. This idea then took its name that could be placed in several cultural contexts across the world. Maya is an ancient Sanskrit word that translates to illusion; while the Greek term means mother; and reason in Japanese. But for a text like Maya, the emphasis is less on its potential polysemy of the term, and more on the question about autonomously creating meanings, scene by scene, in an unfamiliar sphere through specific articulation of an auteur coming from a very different cultural space. Psychological dramas on screen are often about delving into the mind’s inner conflicts. There are strong dichotomies. The good and the bad; the wise and the fool and so on. Emotions turn into situations and before you know it, they become dramatic synapses firing off with an ease that’s somehow deeply gratifying for the audience. Maya is one such short psychological drama giving us a glimpse into the isolated world of its titular character, that alludes to a yin that soon gets challenged as we learn about Helen’s past, not with a yang, but with more yin.
When a film is developed over several stages of production, it transcends itself from being a visionary creation to an auteur’s oeuvre that accomplishes the vision. Every step taken during the production of this film has been a creative decision, made only to determine the way the audience will feel or perceive the film. Being a simplistic performance driven film, the complexity of it all lies in the subtlety of opposition of the two women stemming from different worlds and their ability to deal with similar tragic situations differently.