Movie Name: Maya
Release Date: June 12, 2015
Director: Jawad Bashir
Review by: Momin Ali Munshi
Although this is not the first time that we are seeing a Pakistani horror film, but the genre has so rarely been employed by Pakistani film-makers that every film that comes about seems like a first. In the last decade we have had two films which broadly fall in this horror genre. The first being the 2007 slasher film “Zibahkhana” which could not make it to cinemas and had a direct to video release and then the 2013 release “Siyaah” which saw a limited release. Now following these two films is Jawad Bashir’s directorial debut “Maya” which releases in cinemas all over Pakistan today.Having seen the film I can safely assure you that you will not be disappointed by this film. Although it is far from perfect and has its shares of mistakes but it is a first strong step in the right direction and surely deserves a watch.
The basic plot of the film revolves around five friends who rent out out a farmhouse far away from the hustle bustle of the city in hopes of enjoying the peaceful stay. However they are in for a shock when the farmhouse turns out to be far from what they had wanted it to be like and hence the story of “Maya” unfolds”. Although the premise may seem a bit cliched but its the localized treatment of this plot that renders the film more enjoyable than its Hollywood counterparts. Its because you can see yourself as the characters in the film and can relate to them is what makes the film more fun for the viewer.
The film does not boast of many familiar faces and stars a bunch of new-comers but dont let that deter you from seeing this film because the main star of the film is “Maya” and boy oh boy does Maya leave an impact on you. Played by Hina Jawad this character is surely the strongest one in the film and its due to Hina’s acting capabilities that “Maya” turns out the way she was envisioned in the script. She knows her acting and it shows. Commendable indeed!
Ahmed Abdul Rehman who was the most familiar face from the lot did what he could best do but for me he did not just fit in the plot of the cool-young friends out on a trip. He did not seem like someone you would take with you on such a trip and just felt out of place.
Zain Afzal as Sam was surely a strong performance for the debutant and he showed great potential. He specially does really well in the comic parts and should try to do more such roles in the future. It seems as if he has some prior training in the acting department and that shows in his performance.
And last but definitely not the least Sheikh Ahmed as the leading man Amir. It is his first film as an actor and with not prior acting background he does a good job. He is supposed to be the tough man who does not show his feeling and well he succeeds in doing that. Although the dialogue delivery could be better and is something that can be worked on but for a first film he does not do bad. With his good looks, and built phyisique this young man is surely going to go a long way and is here to stay.
Jawad Bashir as a director makes a strong debut. He knows his craft and does well. Although some shots seemed a bit unneeded like the zoom outs after ever ten minutes but other than that he does well.Script wise the film does have loopholes but they don’t really take away from the film as a whole. Moreover the detailing in certain scenes is just too good and the production department deserves all the credit.
Lastly since the horror genre has rarely been exploited in Pakistan this film does have the novelty value and you enjoy it just because you haven’t seen something similar from Pakistan.
Verdict: This horror film by Jawad Bashir should definitely be on every horror fans weekend list as it has it’s fair share of scares and makes for an entertaining watch.