3 user 2 critic

Maati Maay (2006)

Great movie..! It should change in India especially in villages.



(story "Baayen"),


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Credited cast:
... Yashoda
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
... Chandi
Kshitij Gavande ... Bhagirath
... Narsu


A young man learns the strange truth about a local outcast in this drama from filmmaker Chitra Palekar, starring one of India's most respected actresses, Nandita Das. Bragirath (Kshitij Gavande) is a bright young boy being raised by his father Narsu (Atul Kulkarni), a superstitious single father who can barely believe what his son has learned in science class. One day, curious Bragirath asks Narsu about Chandi (Das), an odd and unkempt woman who wanders through their village beating a metal pot to warn people of her presence. Narsu tells the lad that Chandi is a witch -- and that she also happens to be Bragirath's mother. In flashback, we are introduced to Chandi as a young and vibrant woman who is given the unpleasant task of overseeing the funerals of the village's children. Chandi sees her job as important if hardly pleasant, but in time her contact with the spirits of the dead has an unexpected impact on her and those around her.

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Release Date:

17 March 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Grave-Keeper's Tale  »

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User Reviews

A metaphor taken too seriously
18 December 2007 | by See all my reviews

Let's start at the surface. At first look 'Maati Maay' seems to be a simple story. A village is horrified by a cannibalistic ghoul (Nandita Das). The villagers do all in their power to keep their children away from her. Isolated, the ghoul finds no company, no sympathy. Until one day she bumps into Bhagirath (Kshitij Gavande), a sharp school kid innocently strolling around the village. Bhagirath fortunately is accompanied by his father, Narsu (Atul Kulkarni), who shields him from her evil hexes. Narsu shoos the evil lady away. Intrigued, Bhagirath asks his father how the woman got herself into such a predicament. Narsu's answer unfolds as a dark and dreamlike journey that reveals his connection with this ghoul.

The story telling (at least for the first part of the movie) is fast and crisp. Chilling, yet at places touching. It's only after we're well into the movie that things start to lose pace. The imagery is strictly OK, although the use of reflections in some places is faulty.

It is uncertain whether this film was intended to be more of realistic cinema or dramatic or probably maintain a balance of both. There are scenes that scare you and others that just keep dragging on. The background chorus meant to enhance the emotion works only for some moments before it becomes a revealer. The score gets sour too.

Towards the end one questions the characters. Especially Chandi. For when she lost her ancestral occupation the defeat of pride is devoted just a few minutes, the film rather delves into casteism, superstition, post pregnancy pains (although necessary for the story) and there's a slight, and totally unnecessary, mention of corrupt bureaucracy. The transition of our leading lady's from the clever, modern minded village woman to an outcaste is rather uncomfortably short.

Finally one leaves the cinema wondering if the whole story was just a metaphor taken too seriously. And even wishing that it was.

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