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Dear Maya Review by Nihit Bhave on The Times Of India
In spite of the irregularities, director Sunaina Bhatnagar keeps the feeling from ebbing. She’s good at extracting the right emotion even out of contrived situations. She super-sizes symbolism (red is the color of love; getting drenched in the rain is liberating; reclusive woman has caged birds, etc) and serves up a film that’s sporadically sweet. Like the times when Manisha Koirala is on screen. Her talent deserves far more than a movie that is this in-your-face. Debutantes Madiha and Shreya have a good energy about them, but their stories are too plain to give them a scope to perform.
Dear Maya Review by Shaheen Parkar on Mid-Day India
‘Dear Maya’ is Manisha Koirala’s comeback film after she battled personal turmoil. This role, about a woman living her life anew, is tailor-made for her. It has been 26 years since she went Ilu, Ilu in ‘Saudagar’ (1991). She has managed to sink teeth into most roles she has done over the years and ‘Dear Maya’ is no different. She makes it worth a watch. This second innings will hopefully be fruitful for Manisha.
Dear Maya Review by Sreeju Sudhakaran on Bollywood Life
Dear Maya may have an interesting story to tell, but it is a slow watch and is not everyone’s cup of tea. Manisha Koirala delivers a fine performance in her comeback role, but we do wish the movie had invested in giving her more screentime.
Review by Sukanya Verma on Rediff
Watching the mild-mannered actress return to screen after a personally difficult time resonates with the headway she makes as Maya. As she savours the simple gifts of life in a sequence as sublime as her doe-eyed innocence and benign grace, it’s easy to see why the girls couldn’t bear to see her so miserable in the first place.
Review by Vishal Verma on Glamsham
The movie belongs to Manisha Koirala who owns Maya with her grace, gaze, poise and that infectious smile that made her one of the most photogenic actress of the 90’s. Manisha who has shown courage in real life by fighting with cancer, gives a charming and endearing performance that is worthy of her comeback claim. Shreya Singh Choudhary and Madiha Imam as Ira and Ana provide the youthful, breeziness and are effortless in their act. However Madiha gets more footage and she leaves her mark. And last but not the least, director Rakeysh Mehra in a cameo is just wonderful.
Review by Shweta Kulkarni on Nowrunning
The director does manage to make the audience believe in the friendship between Ira and Anna and how both girls handle their life crises. But those moments are so few, you don’t know whether to like the whole film because of the moments or just groan at the story as it unfolds. Even the transformation of Manisha Koirala from the stern unhappy person has touches of magic that even inept direction and an implausible story cannot take away. Manisha Koirala once brought to the screen live, and here when she twirls in the rain with her face expressing sheer joy is something that is worth watching. Alas, Maya’s happy surprise ending in Delhi is more laughable than happy. Wait for the movie to show up on cable.
Review by Kunal Guha on Mumbai Mirror
Director Sunaina Bhatnagar had a noble vision: to capture the drama and debiliation of negotiating the teenage years. And while she manages to a certain extent, her naive, one-dimmensional characters fail to engage and subsequently interest one in the proceedings which seem to drag on endlessly. We agree with the sagely suggestion that Manisha Koirala’s character offers in this film: “Say yes to life!” This also implies you shouldn’t waste two hours and eleven minutes of that life in enduring this film.
Review by Rohit Bhatnagar on Deccan Chronicle
The film which started off with a high intense drama ends on a happy note. Wonder, Sunaina had an amazing thought but fails to culminate the subject towards the end. The film has a few moments which will leave you in tears and smiles at the same time.
Review by Suhani Singh on India Today
Dear Maya falls short because it is unable to keep the title character and therefore the film’s finest actor central to the proceedings. With its many plot contrivances and tendency to overstretch a wafer-thin plot, the film is an exasperating watch. The metaphors here are too literal as evident by Maya’s obsession for hoarding birdcages in her mansion. The second half sinks as much time is wasted patching an estranged friendship and getting redemption for the two guilt-ridden leads. Even when Bhatnagar finally brings Koirala back – too little, too late – to conclude Maya’s arc, it becomes an exercise in unwarranted laughs. The takeaway here seems to be that great service staff in restaurants and stores is all that’s needed to change your perception about life.
Review by IANS on Sify
The visuals are beautifully and dexterously captured by Cinematographer Sayak Bhattacharya’s lens. These frames along with the sound, designed by Manik Batra and his team are shrewdly and skilfully layered by Aarti Bajaj’s editing. Overall, Dear Maya, despite its follies, touches a raw nerve and makes you embrace the film wholeheartedly.
Dear Maya Review by Indiaglitz
The movie could have been exceptionally good if only the treatment was crisp and engaging. The screenplay after a point keeps dragging without any reasons, due to which the whole impact of the film gets diluted. Director Sunaina Bhatnagar’s slow treatment of the film, ruins the whole fun. The weak screenplay along with few unwanted scenes dilutes the flow of the film. ‘Dear Maya’ is sweet and charming in parts and in order to enjoy those you will have to add good amount of dragging scenes.
Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express
We watch because of the performances. Madiha Imam, a Pakistani actress, is fine (except she also comes off far too polished in her college girl avatar: why are Bollywood’s college girls so annoyingly groomed?). Chaudhary looks the part, but gets a little stilted. But it’s good to have Manisha Koirala back. She is not scared to present an unvarnished, weathered face: there’s a lovely scene in which she tastes something for the first time, and smiles. She lights up. It is a moment.
Review by Saibal Chatterjee on NDTVMovies
Dear Maya does not deliver conventional entertainment nor does it favour high drama. If anything, the film’s even pitching proves that Sunaina Bhatnagar does not mind taking risks. And that is just the sort of filmmaker that Bollywood needs many more of.
Review by Subhash K Jha on Bollyspice
First things first. Dear Maya is a dear little gem of a film that you would want to hold close to your heart. As debutant director Sunaina Bhantangar charts a course through the heart of her beautiful protagonist Maya, the narrative tugs at your heartstrings without being manipulative or excessively maudlin.
Review by Sweta Kaushal on Hindustan Times
Dear Maya relies heavily on old-school-style time leaps — kids hold hand and by the time the camera pans to their faces, they are adults. Well, not exactly, but you get the hang of it. Had Sunaina focused on Maya a little more, the film would have been way better. As little else is of interest in the film, the fact that Manisha’s presence is limited to small bits in the beginning and towards the end makes it a rather stretched watch.
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