Aarshi Banerjee’s French film ‘Maya’ an ode to Goa
Toronto: Filmed mostly in lush green Goa outback, director Mia Hansen-Love’s “Maya” is an ode to the coastal state and love.
Infusing an element of autobiography, the young French director of films such as “Father of My Children” and “Things to Come”, has woven a languid love story around French actor Roman Kolinka (Gabriel) and our desi Aarshi Banerjee in the Goan background.
The French film’s storyline meanders from Syria where French war correspondent Gabriel for The Daily Beast is just released to his homecoming in Paris where he gets post-traumatic stress disorder treatment and his recuperating trip to India.
As he and fellow former hostage Frederic (Alex Descas) are given psychiatric treatment, Gabriel reconnects with his girlfriend Naomi (Judith Chemla) only to find that they had broke up just before he was taken hostage in Syria.
The scene quickly shifts to Goa where Gabriel lands on the advice of his psychiatrist. From there onwards, as the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Director CEO says about “Maya”, this film just floats.
Gabriel has a deep Indian connection as his parents have a property in Goa and his mother works for an NGO in Mumbai. The film becomes a kind of travelogue interspersed with chaotic rural and beach scenes as Gabriel meets his godfather who runs a hotel.
His life takes another quick turn as he meets his godfather’s lanky teenage daughter Maya (Aarshi Banerjee) who has left her studies in Britain to stay closer to her roots. Slowly, she develops a crush on Gabriel as she takes him on a tour of breathtakingly beautiful rural areas.
But Gabrial has other designs as he says goodbye to Maya and sets on a train tour of India which takes him to Kolkata and other cities before ending up in Mumbai where he reconnects with his mother.
Maya straddles two worlds – east and west – in an individual’s quest for self-healing.
It’s director Mia Hansen-Love’s sixth full-length film.