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Maati Maay

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Cast : Nandita Das, Atul Kulkarni, Kshitij Gawade
Director : Chitra Palekar
Cinematography : Debu Devdhar
Story / Writer : Mahasweta Devi




“Maati Maay” which mean ‘a Grave-keeper’s tale’ is based on a short story ‘Baayen’ by the well-known writer Mahasweta Devi. It is the soul-touching story of a young mother trapped between her motherly instincts and the compulsions of her ancestral duties.

Chandi (played by Nandita Das) is a beautiful young woman from a lower caste, whose family has traditionally been in charge of a children’s graveyard. Chandi’s father dies without leaving any male heir. Chandi takes up the job and performs it with great pride until she herself becomes a mother. After giving birth to her son Bhagirath, Chandi starts to get affected by the death of the children. Handling tiny corpses takes a toll on her body and mind. Getting more and more troubled while performing their funeral rites, she wishes she to be relieved of that duty.

Chandi’s husband Narsu (Atul Kulkarni) fails to understand her turmoil. The community forces her to continue with the job. Unable to take it anymore, she finally rebels. The villagers, steeped in ignorance and superstition, become extremely hostile and punish her in the harshest possible manner.

Twelve years later Narsu, hoping to justify his own actions, narrates Chandi’s story to their now adolescent son.

If Chandi gets justice in the end, it is only through the love and courage of her son Bhagirath (Kshitij Gawade) who dares to defy the system.

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