Maya Patala – A story of Horror and Mystery

‘Maya Patala’ is a Sinhala Teledrama telecasted on Swarnavahini Television Network in Sri Lanka in the recent past.

The genre of the story was horror and mystery, just only to stir up curiosity and fright in its viewers. But the core of the story as such did not seem to possess the envisaged theme on the whole, probably for various reasons.

The story is woven around a high-class family with father and mother and two young daughters. Mother is supposed to be a proficient lawyer. Father is supposed to maintain a high profile in society. They live in harmony. Elder daughter is interested in photography and captures scenarios as a hobby. Younger daughter is engaged in studies at a University. Mother is strict with her two daughters while father is mild and sensitive. An occasion comes for the younger daughter to join an excursion organized by her college of studies. Mother at once disagrees to send her daughter on this trip. But at last, she is persuaded by teachers of the college and her daughter’s friends to give her approval for the daughter to join the trip.

The younger daughter joins this excursion at last. The crew reaches a calm and quiet mountainous range, which is supposed to be the climax of the journey. Among her peers in college, there is one guy interested in her. He approaches her for the consent which is often denied by her, which leads him to anger and dissension. The coach of this adventurous journey tasks students to disperse in various directions to reach expected targets.

The crew stations at night in a campsite. The night becomes embellished with an event of music. A singer there spots the girl and becomes interested in her at the very first sight. She too is attracted by his singing and slowly responds to him through gestures. The classmate becomes envious about these encounters. Thus, a clash begins. At the end of the excursion, all notice the absence of the girl.

She disappears, and her disappearance becomes a mystery thereafter. Suspicions occur about the sudden missing of this girl. Two boys are suspected and interrogated in many ways to trace whereabouts of this girl. All look for the missing girl including her parents and sister. Parents learn the girl’s involvement in a certain cultic fanaticism, and develop speculations about it.

The elder sister too goes in search of her sister and encounters ghostly hauntings, which lead her to imagine horrendous destinies. She meets a nun who describes terrific predicaments about phantoms to her dismay after all. Following a series of various misconceptions about the girl’s disappearance, the police chase after the perpetrators, being misled at times. In the end, the girl is found strangely. Apparently hit by a psychosis, the singing guy had abducted the girl and hidden her secretly in a cellar with intoxication, for fear of losing her!!!                   

The story Maya Patala, however, tried to forecast ambiguous and obscure elements, which nurtured terrific sensations among its viewers throughout the drama series. On the whole, the message it tried to convey was vague and not fathomable. What did this drama try to say after all? What did people learn from this drama at the end? The moral of the story was not evidently clear.

Manjula Kumari, Senali Fonseka, Meena Kumari, Buddadasa Withanachchi, played main roles in this drama series. Evergreen star Manjula Kumari in a sensational sensitive move brought limelight to the drama with her acting prowess, which is commendable.    

Anton Narangoda

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